Feathers in Hats: Why and How to Attach Feather to Hat Band

They haven’t died out yet. Feathers in hats still seem to find a place in the fashion world whether they are for costumes or avant-garde designs. The good part about feather son hats is that they can disguise any mistakes you made in the application process.

Why and how to attach feather to hat band? If you are bent on having feathers attached to your hats then you may want to try glue. Not just any glue but the adhesive you need a glue gun to melt before applying it to the fabric. For added security, you can always sew a few stitches into place.

For more information about feathers and attaching them to hats just continue to read our article. It is a good source of information that guides you through the application process so you do a good job.

Best Way to Attach Feathers to a Hat

There are several ways you can use to attach feathers to a hat. One of the most popular is using glue. The reason for that popularity is that glue can disappear and not clash with the look of your hat or the colors you of feathers you used.

But avoid using super glue as it is not a flexible adhesive and you may have the feathers breaking off instead of lightly moving in the gentle wind. If you are going to use glue, make sure it is of good quality and needs a glue gun to apply it.

Another way is to use a hatpin. These are secure and long enough to make sure your feathers do not fall off at the wrong moment. It may take a few tries to get the pin and feathers the way you want them but practice does make perfect.

Sewing the feathers on is another secure method that keeps those feathers in the right position. It will take a few stitches in the right places but the thread is usually very tough and can handle exterior conditions.

Just use an invisible thread when you sew the feathers onto your hat.

How to Attach Feathers to a Hat Band


The first way is the most obvious method. All you have to do is put the feather stem into the hatband between it and the hat and the feathers should be held in place. The hatband needs to be tight though for this to work.

Next, you can sew the feathers to the hat band. Like the suggestion above, you should use invisible thread so that the thread does not cause a distraction or clash with the colors of the hat.

A more decorative approach is to use a nice brooch. As long as the brooch’s design and colors are not gaudy then you should be able to make your hat look a lot better when using that alternative option.

Then you can use a pinnable feather aglet and place the feathers in the inside of it before attaching the aglet to the hatband. It may not be advisable to use glue as the glue could ruin the hat band and cause a stain to occur.

How to Glue Feathers to a Hat


If you have glued any item before you are not going to be using any unique new method when gluing feathers to a hat. The only thing you have to watch out for is that you do not make a mess of your hat by dripping glue all over it. Or misplacing the feathers or letting the feathers get out of position while you are gluing.

The first step is to get the hat, the glue, glue gun and feathers assembled and ready for action. The next step is to plug in the glue gun and let it heat the glue. Make sure to place a rag or something underneath the gun so drops of glue do not adhere to your work table.

Next, arrange the feathers in the pattern you want them to be in permanently. After the glue is ready, take one feather at a time and glue what is called the rachis. The simple term is stem.

Now apply the glue to all parts of the rachis that will be attached to the hat and place the feather on the hat. Hold the feather in place till the glue adheres to the hat and then repeat the process for all the feathers you want to have on your hat. Let dry and you are good to go.

How to Curl Feathers for Hats

There are a lot of feathers you can use on a hat and curling each different type may not follow the procedure we are about to give you. If you can curl your hair you should be able to curl a feather without ruining it.

  • 1. Fill a sink full of hot water and soak your quill feathers for 10 to 15 minutes. You must soak different colored feathers separately as the colors may run and ruin the look.
  • 2. When the period is up, remove the feathers and only pat them dry.
  • 3. Next, take your curling iron and put the end of the feather in the tongs and start to roll the feather up. Only curl as much of the feather you want to have curled. Also do not hold onto it very long as the feather can burn. Only a few seconds are needed to set the shape.
  • 4. Remove the feather from the curling iron and let the feather dry. Once they are dry you can attach them to your hat or another clothing item.

To cold curl, a pheasant feather all you need is your fingers and the ability to stroke the feather till it curls. It takes several strokes to accomplish this and if you want more curl, you can use the dull side of a knife.

The process with the knife is similar to curling a ribbon with a knife but go 2 inches at a time and be gentle.

Where to Find Feathers for Hats


One of the things you don't have to worry about is finding feathers for a hat. They seem to be everywhere and sold at a myriad of locations around the nation. If you own a bird, plucking one form their body is not a suggested location.

To start, you can always go to your local fabric store to see if they carry hat accessories. If they do, you may find feathers at those locations. A haberdashery may also have some as they sell men’s hats and some men’s hats look good with feathers.

Then if you can’t find them at those locations there is always Hobby Lobby., Joann’s, Michael’s and other craft stores in your city. Department stores may also have them in limited quantities.

Finally, there is that old stand by Amazon. This marketplace seems to have a large selection of feathers for hats and the price is quite reasonable. This will be one of your easier searches you will do when you do not have a supply of feathers at home already.

Why Feathers in Hats?


Feathers seem to be making a come back in fashion styles and you usually find royalty or celebrities leading the charge in being fashion hip. The only problem you will face with placing a feather in your hat is from those activists who consider those feathers stolen property.

But feathers used in the modern age are mainly for looks and do not reflect the history behind using feathers in the first place. Some 500 years ago, placing a feather in a cap or hat represented bravery.

Another use of a feather in the hat in history was to use them to signify good health. And today some times a boss or supervisor, etc., will say that the deal you put together is just another feather in your cap.

What that saying means is that you were able to accomplish a great achievement. Then the Western Indians used feathers not only to signify their tribal status but also their courage in battle.

Feathers provided status as Archduke Ferdinand [provided that evidence when he wore feathers in his hat in his dress uniform. The use of feathers is also cyclical and they come and go as fashion houses see fit.

What Does a Feather in Your Hat Mean?


Today, a feather in your hat simply means that you have a fashion accessory attached to your nice hat. There is no real significance attached to a feather placed in a hat by anyone in the modern world. It is simply viewed as a fashion piece and a decorative item.

You have to go back into history to see that along with making a fashion statement a feather in a hat had extra meaning. Sometimes the feather signified a cultural attachment. While it wasn’t proper to wear in one culture, a visitor could get away with wearing feathers if it linked them to their culture.

As mentioned earlier, feathers in war bonnets and tribal meetings signified status, position and the greatness of the chief wearing the feathers. Sometimes wearing a feather told everyone which military unit you were attached to.

Different military units used different types of feathers so you could even tell if they were from your country or another country. The easy identification helped you to the wearer approach the person and told you which language you should speak.

History of Feathers in Hats

We have already given you an extensive look at why feathers were placed in hats. The history of this goes back hundreds if not thousands of years. In fact, the Aztecs had a god of featherworks and using feathers in their hats were more for a religious purpose than an act of bravery.

Also, the Aztecs had laws governing who could wear the feathered headdresses and those laws helped identify people of different status levels in society. The Aztec feathered hats were also used for symbolism.

Then feathers were used in Medieval times to simply brighten up a very dull and boring look.

Feathers in German Hats


Whether they are called alpine, Bavarian or Austrian hats the German hats with feathers are all the same and they all got their start in Tyrol in the 19th century. There is no real meaning behind the German use of feathers other than the feathers added decorative touch.

There may be different styles to the hats as well as different costs, from $5 to $100+, the hats are all Tyrol hats and only are for decorative purposes as well as keeping your head warm on a cool day.

Feathers in Military Hats

These decorative fashion items played several roles with the military. The most recognized role is its identification purpose. If you were a member of a special unit you may have had a pheasant feather in your hat.

If you were part of the Mayan military and put a feather in your hat, you could be killed for feathers that were reserved for nobility and royalty. Not every member f=of the military comes from those two social groups.

The Muskateers of France wore feathers to separate themselves from the regular French military units. Feathers had a variety of uses throughout history and in different armies.

Do Cowboys Put Feathers in Hats?


Some do but not all of the old cowboys wore feathers in their cowboy hats. The ones that do may have been trying to signal to others around them that they are free to go wherever they please.

There is no special way to attach a feather to a cowboy hat. Usually, the wearer just picks up the feather and sticks the rachis in the hat band and forgets about it. There is no special meaning other than that unless the cowboy makes one up.

But whether the hat has a feather or not, if it isn’t yours you are not supposed to touch it. Even if you do not know who the owner is.

Feathers in Cowboy Hats

Mostly the feather found in a cowboy hat is for decorative purposes. A girlfriend may have given it to the owner of the hat so the feather would only hold personal meaning for the cowboy.

Some cowboys would put feathers in their hats for rodeos, dances and other special occasions do dress up a little and show that they respect the occasion. Cowboys lived a simple life and they were well aware that they were not that high on the social status totem pole.

That meant that no matter how many feathers they wore, they were not going to rise above their station in life.

Best Feather for a Cowboy Hat


There is no real best feather to use in a cowboy hat. A lot of different feathers can be used from the small canary like style all the way up to the turkey feather. Since ostrich was not a wild west bird, it is unusual to have an ostrich feather in a cowboy hat.

As long as the feather is strong, durable and looks good, then you should be able to use just about any feather you wish. The key would be to attaching it correctly so it doe snot look out of place, ugly or a mess.

The Ethics of Feathers in Hats

Whether you are going to wear feather sin hats or not, you will run into this issue. There are a lot of people out there, PETA included, that oppose the use of feathers in hats.

Their arguments are more emotional than realistic but they take a very fanatical stand and make a lot of noise about the issue. It is not a new issue as women in the 19th century fought against the use of feathers in hats because the birds were carelessly slaughtered just for their feathers.

The two women who led the charge at that time were Harriet Lawrence Hemenway and Minna B. Hall and they used tea parties not violent protests to get their point across. They were socialites so they had a lot of rich friends that they tried to convince to stop wearing hats with feathers.

The interesting thing about these two women is that they formed the Massachusetts Audubon Society which eventually became the National Audubon Society.

Some Final Words

Feathers may be making a fashion comeback but not all people are in favor of using feathers or hats. The use of feathers today does not reflect the more honorable meanings of history but simply carry on the decorative tradition associated with beautiful feathers.

If you are willing to put up with the supposed moral opposition some people have about using feathers in hats and clothing then you may look a lot better, set your fashion trend or be part of the in-crowd.

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