A Mad Hatter
This month’s craft describes the making of my black, conical, wide-brimmed witch’s hat.
We can debate whether or not these hats are cones of power reflecting the concentration of spiritual potency or just the echo of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. While it’s probably safe to say that most witches, including myself, do not often wear their pointy hats during ritual, I must admit, wearing it puts me in a witchy frame of mind faster than almost anything else. It can be playful sometimes and regal other times.
I began with a plain black witch nylon hat bought at a craft store. I admit to going a bit overboard at the store, also buying a thin black velvety material for the cone and similar material in a dark purple for the brim. I found wide purple lace to go around the brim and some back tulle fabric with purple glitter to wrap around the base of the cone and let hang down my back.
I also bought a few black artificial flowers, made a dark moon face out of black clay, found a black feather, and gathered up a small raven who is one of my totem animals and a large spider who is another.
Once you’ve decided to make a hat, take some time to discover what objects you are drawn to incorporate. Look around the house for a scarf you might not be wearing, a bow off a present, broken jewelry, fabric scraps, glitter and ornaments typically hung on a Yule tree. There are also seasonal accessories galore at drug stores, craft stores, supermarkets and dollar stores.
I think the secret to my success was the six-ounce bottle of Mighty Mendit I used to stick everything together. A flexible bonding agent, it was sometimes a bit messy to work with, but I found I liked it more than fabric glue which I thought took longer to dry.
First, cover the hat with a fabric of your choice. I made patterns from a paper bag – one for the cone and one for the brim – cut the material and glued it to the hat. I cut the fabric on the underside of the brim about even with the edge and cut the fabric on the top of the brim about a half inch larger. Then, I folded the fabric over the edge of the rim and glued it to the bottom side of the brim. I hand stitched the lace trim along the edge.
I gathered the tulle fabric and wrapped it around the base of the cone, covering the coming together of the two fabric pieces. I cinched it in a few places with some beaded wire that was given to me, and used both stitching and glue to hold it in place. It was loosely knotted in the back and the spider glued on top of that with its feet bent around the tulle. The flowers, feather and moon were glued to the hat as well. The bird’s feet were sown to the fabric to hold it in place.
The possibilities are endless for decorating your hat. While this time of year, black would be traditional, I liked our coven craft so much, I went on to make two additional hats: a silver and white one for Yule and Imbolc, and a green one with a crown of pink flowers I made for Beltane but would also use for Ostara. My goal at the time was to make one for every Sabbat. I may still get there if I can find a place to store them.
The biggest problem I’ve had with my hats over the years has been the dust that accumulates on them. I use a damp cloth to freshen them, but I would imagine that hitting bursts from a can of compressed air would work well.
If I’ve inspiried you to make a hat, I hope you’ll post photos of it in the comment section.