My Bespoke “By Betty” Felt Cloche Hat

You may remember that I went to meet local milliner Beth Hughes a little over two weeks ago. She offered to make a bespoke hat for me and towards the end of last week I went to collect it.

It was beautifully boxed…

And it included a personal note

And here it is!

Isn’t it beautiful?

After trying on several styles on my previous visit, I opted for this felt cloche with ostrich feather trim in pewter, a warm neutral that doesn’t overwhelm, or clash with, my fair skin and red hair.

The Hat Making Process

I loved meeting Beth and was very keen for her to tell me a little about the making of my hat. She is warm, welcoming, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about face shape and colouring and of course, all types of hats.

Mine is a wool felt in ‘pewter’

The first stage is to stiffen the wool felt, so that is keeps its shape when blocked.  The stiffener is painted on to the inside of the hat and then left to dry.

Once dry, the felt hood is softened with steam, pulled on to the hat block and pinned into place and left to dry overnight. The hat block is covered in cling film to protect it.

The hat is removed from the hat block and the brim is cut to size.  My hat as an asymmetric brim. Once trimmed, the felt edge is turned over and hand stitched
The Petersham ribbon is hand-stitched over the top to finish off the inside of the brim.

Next the head-fitting ribbon is sewn in.  This is measured to reflect the client’s head measurement and then stitched in, to ensure a perfect fit.

Beth also applies a waterproofing spray to the hats at this stage, to improve their water-resistance.
It’s worth noting that whilst it isn’t waterproof, the hat will fair very well in damp weather and when left to dry naturally, will not come to any harm.

Finally, the trim is sewn on. For my hat, Beth made the feather flower by stripping an ostrich feather and reworking it into a round flower shape.

The By Betty label is sewn in and the hat is complete.

Love Liz x

For an appointment please call 07815 704961
Twitter: @By_Betty_Hats



  1. Anonymous
    February 9, 2015 / 6:23 pm

    Awww I am a serial lurker……read but don't comment. I've come out of the shadows to say the hat is fabulous and you look wonderful. Jane x

    • Liz
      February 9, 2015 / 6:50 pm

      Aw, hello Jane- thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment.
      It is such an amazing hat and I'm very lucky to have it. Love Liz x

  2. Linds
    February 9, 2015 / 6:32 pm

    So lovely! Let's start a campaign to bring back everyday hats, not just hats for special occasions.

    • Liz
      February 9, 2015 / 6:55 pm

      Thank you x
      Ooh, yes! Good idea! I have worn this hat today and yesterday. Here in Skipton it was cold but bright and sunny. it kept me warm and kept the sun from my eyes. Perfect x

  3. Sarah @ Fortytherapy
    February 9, 2015 / 6:45 pm

    This is a stunning hat Lizzy, it looks fabulous in you! X

    • Liz
      February 9, 2015 / 6:56 pm

      Thank you Sarah. I'm so, so pleased with it. I love it! xxx

  4. Anonymous
    February 9, 2015 / 7:35 pm

    What a gorgeous hat! It suits you perfectly Liz. Enjoy wearing it : ) J x

  5. Dorothy Camper
    February 9, 2015 / 8:54 pm

    Wow! It looks amazing on you, Liz! Absolutely perfect! I'm just not a hat person, they don't work with my hair but I so wish I were seeing these photos. Lynne xx

    • Liz
      February 11, 2015 / 5:14 pm

      Thank you Lynne! xxx

  6. Sue Haigh
    February 10, 2015 / 7:04 am

    Wow! What a stunning hat and Beth is one clever lady! The colour and simplicity of it are gorgeous, it's perfect on you Liz. It's a pity we don't all wear hats more often but if I had one like this one in my wardrobe I would be wearing it at any opportunity xx

    • Liz
      February 11, 2015 / 5:15 pm

      Thank you Sue. Yes, Beth is very talented and a lovely lady too x

  7. kareema hamdy
    February 10, 2015 / 7:46 pm

    What a gorgeous hat, a great choice that looks gorgeous on you. Enjoyed seeing the making process too, betty is super talented x

    • Liz
      February 11, 2015 / 5:16 pm

      She is indeed! It's so interesting to see how the hat was made. I was completely fascinated by it xxx

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