If you’ve ever wanted to make Barbie hats from millinery straw braid, it’s super easy. Just takes a little practice and a needle and thread. I’ve found several articles in old Barbie Bazaar magazines that give basic instructions, specifically in the February 1999, April 1999, and April 2000 issues. You can find back issues of Barbie Bazaar magazine on eBay and Etsy.
To source the braid, just search “millinery straw braid” on either Etsy or eBay. You want to look for 1/4″ width or smaller. Some braids will have a string inside that you can pull to help the braid curve into a circle, or just stretch and pull the braid to get it to bend to your will! I can usually get 2 fascinator/small hats from 1 yard of braid. Hide the ends of the braid by stitching it to the inside of the hat, and then decorate with small ribbon, fabric, or paper flowers, as desired.
Below are some instructions from the February 1999 issue of Barbie Bazaar. I would have included more pages, but there are apparently size limits on the files I can attach to my blog posts. The instructions say to use yarn, but I use regular sewing thread and it works just fine.
While I was at the GAW Barbie convention last month, I visited with Pam Seeman of Paintbox Designs. She had some adorable hats for sale, which she said are made by her sister. I bought a couple hats for inspiration and proceeded to buy some supplies when I got home. Since then, I’ve made about 10 hats, and have learned to better manipulate hat straw to get the shapes I want … sometimes incorporating happy accidents. Took me about 8 hats before I realized there’s a thread in the straw you can pull to help shape it!
I remembered browsing a Barbie Bazaar magazine at GAW room sales that had instructions for making a variety of hats from hat straw, so I started looking up old issues on eBay and Etsy to find applicable articles and just received a few issues I purchased.
The February 1999 issue has the most detailed instructions, including where to purchase hat straw. The US supplier mentioned, Sandy’s Victorian Trims, still seems to be in business and has a website, sandyslace.com. I purchased hat straw on Etsy from grosgrainribbons.etsy.com and from a couple of eBay shops, so it seems to be readily available.
The April 2000 issue of Barbie Bazaar has more hat-making instructions, using a variety of materials and techniques.
I even found an article about using hat straw to make purses.