How to Make Four Hats Out of One

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, September 8, 1913:  Nothing very much.


The hat of black velours, showing its simple original shape with a band of black grosgrain ribbon one inch wide. (Ladies Home Journal: September, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Sounds like a slow day on the Muffly farm. After all of the work the previous week when the threshers were there, Grandma probably was ready for a more relaxing day.

Did she browse through the September, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal?  If she did, she would have learned how to make four hats out of one. The article said that it was an “economical way to good dressing.”

The plain band need not be taken off for any of these trimmings, as the others cover it completely, and are applied with milliners’ pins.


The first illustration shows a drapery and long soft bow of Oriental ribbon, which is six-inches wide. Two yards are required to make it.


The second illustration, showing the Continental shape, the trimming is of white moiré ribbon, plaited, and made on a canvas foundation. Three yards of ribbon six inches wide is required to make it. The band measures three inches wide and the cockade six inches high, and three across, widening to five inches at the top.


A little more dressy touch is given in the third trimming, which shows a crushed band of soft silk ribbon of a deep orange color. The feather fantasy at the side is of the same color, shaded and tipped with coque. This is held in place by two small plaited bows of the ribbon. One yard and a half of ribbon about seven or eight inches wide will be required for this trimming. The bow measures four inches across and two inches wide.

28 thoughts on “How to Make Four Hats Out of One

    1. Your comment about scarves reminds me of someone years ago at a fair who demonstrated how a certain pin could be used to create many looks with a scarf. I have the pin–but not a clue how to create all of the different looks.

    1. Hats look like so much fun. It seems almost like you need to be a trendsetter to wear hats today.I wish that hats would come back into style for the average person like me.

  1. Hi Sheryl. I have some of my Mom’s hats and they are so interesting. Feathers and ribbons and shiny stuff. The only place I have ever worn a hat is to church as a little girl and in the winter (knit headware). Jane

  2. I love your fashionable vintage prints. I also enjoyed reading about 100 years ago… I have a sincere respect and appreciation for the bygone days… history.

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