Pink Derby Outfit + DIY Kentucky Derby Hat Tutorial


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Southern blogger Stephanie Ziajka shows how to make a homemade Kentucky Derby hat on Diary of a Debutante

If you’ve ever shopped for a Derby Day outfit, you know that traditional millinery hats can cost hundreds of dollars. Seriously, as gorgeous as they are, some of them are just stupid expensive. So, in the spirit of frugality (we’re still saving for a house over here), I decided to try my hand at making my own DIY Kentucky Derby hat at home this year, and I love the way it turned out! It was super duper easy, too, and I loved actually getting to design my own hat for a change. Keep reading for a step-by-step DIY derby hat tutorial!

Also, switching gears– I love this off-shoulder ruffle midi dress. It’s so soft and stretchy and would make a perfect spring wedding guest dress! It also literally never wrinkles, which is a huge plus, and costs under $40. The only downside is that it isn’t lined, so you can’t really wear underwear with it. I guess that’s what Spanx are for, though, right?! For reference, I’m wearing a small, and I love the fit. Click here for more of my favorite Amazon spring fashion finds!

DIY Kentucky Derby Hat

DIY Kentucky Derby hat tutorial by southern blogger Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a Debutante

Materials

Here’s everything you need to make your own DIY Kentucky Derby hat–

  • Wide brim straw hat– I ordered this one off Amazon! It was super cheap but came really wrinkled, so I used some spray starch and a hot iron to re-shape it. This starch-iron method works wonders on old and/or thrifted hats, as well!
  • Pink ribbon– I found this pretty pink ribbon at Michael’s, but there’s a similar style available on Amazon here. If you already have ribbon at home that you’d like to use, I just recommend that you make sure it’s over an inch wide. Otherwise, it’ll get lost behind the flowers. 
  • Artificial flowers– It’s always hard to know what color flowers go together when you’re basing decisions on stock imagery. So, I went the super easy route and ordered this silk flower box set off Amazon. This particular set is called Garden Blush and includes gorgeous white and pink roses, white and pink peonies, and some really pretty greenery. If you’re going for another color scheme, these boxes are awesome and available in over a dozen flower/color combos! They’re a little pricey, though (I used mine for a few different projects, so the cost is justified, right?!), so Michael’s and Hobby Lobby’s artificial flower departments are great alternatives. 
  • Hot glue gun– I’m sure you could also use fabric glue, but hot glue just dries so quickly and is so easy to use. I love this little mini glue gun— I’ve had it for years!

Everything you need to make Kentucky Derby hat on Diary of a Debutante

DIY Derby Hat Tutorial

Making a DIY derby hat is so much easier than I thought it’d be! For starters, if you’re ordering a wide brim floppy hat online, it’s probably going to need re-shaping. I’m sharing a video down below to actually show how, but all you need to do is grab some heavy-duty spray starch and set an iron to its highest setting. Generously spray the brim of the floppy hat with spray and iron it down to stiffen the wrinkles. Continue this process until you’re happy with the smoothness of the brim. My hat came super wrinkled in a tiny little box (thanks, Amazon), so I had to do the spray/iron combo about eight or nine times to get it looking just right. 

Southern blogger Stephanie Ziajka shows how to reshape a straw hat with starch spray and an iron on Diary of a Debutante Blogger Stephanie Ziajka shows how to use starch spray to make a hat stiff again on Diary of a Debutante

Here’s a quick video tutorial, too– 

Once you’re happy with the smoothness of the brim, grab some ribbon and hot glue it around the base. You’ll most likely have some air pockets, but don’t worry– they won’t show when you’re actually wearing it. 

Kentucky Derby hat ribbon used by blogger Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a Debutante Blogger Stephanie Ziajka shows how to use a hot glue gun to glue ribbon onto a straw hat on Diary of a Debutante

Next, start arranging your artificial flowers! Whether the flowers are fake or real, I always position greenery first and then start building from there. If the flowers have long wire stems, either trim them with wire cutters or glue them underneath the ribbon to hide the ends. 

Step one of how to design your own Kentucky Derby hat on Diary of a Debutante

I love this artificial flower arrangement so much! I couldn’t use all the flowers, though, so I pulled some large peonies and roses (five total).

Blogger Stephanie Ziajka shows how to make a Kentucky Derby hat on Diary of a Debutante

Once the large statement flowers were in place, I added in some more greenery. I also added in some little faux filler flowers to hide any noticeable gaps. 

DIY Kentucky Derby hat ideas from southern blogger Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a Debutante

For good measure, once everything was where I wanted it, I went a little nuts with the glue gun and just started reinforcing everything. Wide brim hats are pretty darn big, so I didn’t want to risk bumping into things (which is inevitable when you’re as poorly coordinated as I am) and then having any of the flowers or greenery fall off. 

Pink and white Kentucky Derby hat designed by blogger Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a Debutante

Once all the glue is dry, you’re all done and ready for the derby! Super easy, right?! And such a fun (and ultra budget-friendly) way to create your own custom derby hat!

DIY derby hat created by southern blogger Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a DebutanteBlogger Stephanie Ziajka shows how to make your own Kentucky Derby hat on Diary of a Debutante

I seriously love this hat so much and can’t wait to wear it for years to come! What do y’all think?!

Also, if you’re curious what’s in my copper julep cup, it’s my new favorite bourbon whiskey cocktail– the Woodford Spire! I actually partnered with Woodford Reserve to share an entire Kentucky Derby party spread, and it’s one of my favorite new recipes. A few of my other favorites? Bourbon pulled pork sliders and pimento cheese deviled eggs!

For more Derby Day outfits, recipes, and crafts, search “Kentucky Derby” on my home page! Also, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this DIY Kentucky Derby hat tutorial (or any of my others). I love hearing from you guys, and I’m happy to help!

Thanks so much for reading!

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