July 7, 2012

Hat Designer of the Year 2012. Part 2: My hats

Did you already see my sketches? Well, these are the hats I was asked to make for the semifinal of the Hat Designer of the Year competition 2012 and that have been exhibited for the final at Première Classe in Paris:

Cristina de Prada's hats for the Hat Designer of the Year 2012 competition

Do you want to know how I made them?… Then keep on reading!


The theme for this competition was LUCK, and this hat is a positive twist on a bad luck omen, a broken mirror that traditionally means 7 years of bad luck has turned into 7 years of HAT luck, and that is very good luck indeed. Initially I wasn’t thinking of writing words with the glass shards but every time I looked at the glass shards (made of plexiglass) my brain saw letters, so in the end I decided to write HAT LUCK on the hat!

Plexiglass mirror pieces spelling HATThe plexiglas has a protective film that I kept until the very last minute, and that allowed me to write notes to know which piece was which!

(click on “more” to see the rest of the entry)

Close up of my couture hat 7 years HAT luck

The pieces are curved to  adapt to the shape of the base. I’ve done that using an iron at a low setting, putting an ironing cloth in between, and through a lot of trial and error.

The next issue was how to attach the mirror pieces to the hat. For that I’ve used two systems, when there is an overlap, I’ve drilled holes on the underside, so I could sew it like a button. On the ends where I could not drill holes because they would be visible I have glued a button shaft on the underside that has allowed me to attach the mirror invisibly to the base:

Mirror attachments


This hat is a cousin of my Marlene mini top hat, from my bird collection, which can be seen an purchased from LA’s hat shop The Millinery Guild. The mini hat base is made from a cork block that I have designed and carved myself. More hats with the same base shape can be seen following this link. The swallows (bringers of good luck, according to the French) are a new design I’ve made for this competition:



This dice is a fun cap that has a cubical shape and dice dots all around. I’ve made the pattern using my 3D modelling method.

Here is the model I made with plasticine clay, and from it I made the pattern pieces. After that I did a few prototypes to tune the pattern.


Here are some pictures of the top of the cap and its top stitching.

Dice cap pieces top The dots are leather, made using an olfa circle cutter (a special one for fabric that leaves no holes). They’re hand sewn onto the cap.

Dice cap side view

That’s it!! On the next installment you will see the pictures of the Première Classe competition and the hats of the other designers.


  1. Incredible pictures, Cristina! Just marvelous. Thank you, as always, for sharing. We miss your posts! And congratulations on getting to the finals!!!

    Comment by Jan Wutkowski — July 7, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  2. Thank you Jan!!

    Comment by cristinadeprada — July 7, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

  3. As usual you are the tippy top and Your designs are so super my eyes water! You are so generous with your techniques I am amazed! Wonderful job Cristina.

    Fan #1 to #1 for evs

    Comment by Montez — July 7, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

  4. Nice, my heart fell 😉

    Comment by Rose — August 4, 2012 @ 11:45 am

  5. In love with the dice cap, It would be great to add a playful twist to the usually dull and practical winter appeals. Maybe even a red base and white fur dots version to xmas!

    Comment by tatiana — October 15, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

  6. I am a maker of leather hats(well anything out of leather), I don’t know why I do it, and everytime I make a new hat I say I will never do another, but I love hats! I just found your pictures whilst looking for ideas for my next project, every rollerderby needs a new look! any how I just wanted to say I love your work! AWESOME!

    Comment by Arizona — July 15, 2015 @ 12:31 pm

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