Tutorial: Gothy Sunhats!

The season of the Burning Orb is approaching for many of us. Which means that it is time to be extra diligent with sunblock, parasols, and sun hats. While you could stick with any plain wide-brimmed hat and go for the classic Lydia Deetz look, you could also decorate it and make it elaborately fancy! And you know what that means, Snarklings: It’s tutorial time here at Gothic Charm School!

(A caveat: the Lady of the Manners used long quilter’s pins to secure the decor to the hat for each tutorial, as she was using the same hat for each variation.)

(Another caveat: while you can use a glue gun and hot glue to attach things to your hat, if you change your mind about things you will have to pry those things off and hope you don’t cause any damage. The Lady of the Manners feels a needle and thread is the superior hat decor attachment option.)


– A wide brimmed hat. While certain big name goth fashion retailers all offer extra-wide black sun hats, you can find them other places for much more reasonable prices. The Lady of the Manners has seen the exact same type of sun hat at H+M, Forever XX1, Walmart, Amazon.com, and Wish.com
– Scissors, black thread, a sharp needle.

Anything you want to stick on a hat. Things that the Lady of the Manners generally uses:

  • Black tulle
  • Black ribbons
  • Faux flowers, especially the giant black and red roses that are available in craft stores during our beloved THREAT LEVEL: PUMPKIN season.
  • Enormous bows. You can make them yourself (make a tube of fabric, pinch it in the center, sew a piece of ribbon or other fabric to hold the center), or you can scavenge them off of amazingly 80s prom or wedding dresses. Butt bows can go on hats!
  • Fishnet tights. Yes, really, and the Lady of the Manners will explain in a bit.

Hat Decor: Veiled Gaze

1. Cut a leg off of the fishnet tights, cut off the toe, and then slice the fishnet tube down the length. Why look! You now have a lovely length of interestingly spooky hat veiling!

2. Drape the long edge of the fishnet along the outer edge of the hat brim, and then sew tiny sections of it to the brim.

Behold! A veil to shade you from the Burning Orb and add a touch of mystery to your gaze.

Hat Decor: Ribbon and Tulle

1.Take a length of ribbon that is long enough to go around the crown of the hat and be tied in a large bow with trailing ends. Fold the ribbon in half.

2. Cut a length of tulle ”” approximately 12” or 31cm ”” and tie it in a fluffy bow around the center point of the ribbon.

3. Tie the ribbon around the crown of the hat, double-knotting the ribbon for additional security, and then tie it in a bow.

Optional: Adorn the knots of the bow with safety pins for punk/Deathrock flair!

Hat Decor: Tulle Cloud and Giant Bow

1. Cut a huge length of tulle ”” the Lady of the Manners uses at least 1.5 yards or 45cm.

2. Take one end of the tulle and secure it to the crown of the hat with a few stitches.

3. Turning the hat slightly, pinch a section of the tulle and secure it to a different point on the crown. Keep scrunching, twisting, fluffing, and stitching the tulle until you are pleased with the voluminous effect. You are aiming for a “storm cloud following you” effect around the crown.

4. Place the giant bow in your desired position on the hat and stitch the points of each bow to the hat.

Optional: add a pin, brooch, or any other sparkly thing to the center of the bow!

Hat Decor: Flowers

Perhaps you aren’t a giant bow type of person, and prefer more of a decaying garden aesthetic. While it takes a bit more work, this is still a thing you can do to a hat!

1. Take your faux flowers or leaves and remove them from the stems by gripping the flower in one hand, and yanking it off of the stem. (You can do the same to leaves by forcefully yanking them off the smaller branches that protrude from the stems.)

2. Most faux flowers have little plastic baskets in between layers of petals. These make the flowers more difficult to sew through, so get rid of them! Peel the petals down and pull them off. When you reach one of the plastic baskets, pull it off and discard it.

3. Stitch the layers of petals together to reconstruct the flower.

(The Lady of the Manners realizes this seems like a lot of work for some flowers, but this will save you tears and frustration in the long run. And if you want extra-voluminous flowers, you can sew multiple flowers into one monster blossom.)

4. Place the reconstructed flowers wherever they please you on the hat (they look wonderful nestled in clouds of tulle), and secure the petals down with a few stitches. Do this for a few petals around the edge of the flower to avoid the flower flopping around. 


Remember, you can use almost anything as hat decor: scarves, sashes, decorative hair combs, little bats or crows from the Halloween decor aisles, brooches, necklaces ”¦ anything. As long as you can sew it to the crown or brim of the hat, the night sky is the limit.

Talk about your hat decor ideas in the comments! Or send photos of your decorated hats to headmistress@gothic-charm-school.com so the Lady of the Manners can have a post displaying everyone’s creativity!

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1 Response to Tutorial: Gothy Sunhats!

  1. Carmen Beaudry says:

    Something I’ve done with great success is to make or buy elaborate hair clips and clip them to the hatband of whatever hat I’m using. This makes it easy to change without damage to the hat.

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