How to Make a Teardrop Buckram Frame

by Nicole Whitney ; Updated September 28, 2017

Some women wear teardrop frames, which are decorated with cloth and feathers.

David Woolley/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Hat-making is often an expensive endeavor, requiring wooden blocks for shaping and other tools. It is possible to make some hats without these costly implements. A teardrop hat with a buckram frame can be made with few specialty items. Make the frame yourself to save a bit of money by buying the supplies rather than the finished base. This also gives you control over the size and curves of the base for a hat that fits you and suits your personal style.

Items you will need

  • Paper or scrap cloth
  • Writing utensil
  • Buckram
  • Scissors
  • Water
  • Iron
  • Pressing ham or rolled towel
  • Millinery wire
  • Flat-nose pliers
  • Needle and thread
Step 1

Create a pattern. Fold a piece of paper or scrap cloth in half. Draw half a teardrop on the fold and cut it out. When you open the fold, your teardrop shape and size is visible. Use this pattern for the buckram frame, and for any cloth used to cover it.

Step 2

Trace the pattern on a piece of buckram. The grain of the buckram should be slightly diagonal to the point of the teardrop. Cut it out with scissors.

Step 3

Cut seven slits in the edges. One slit will be in the center of the back, which is the rounded part of the teardrop. Three will be on each side of this slit, with slits roughly one-eighth, one-quarter, and three-eighths around the entire shape, and then duplicated on the other side. Do not cut a slit in the front.

Another way to think of this is dividing the teardrop like a pie with eight servings. Try drawing this on the pattern first, before taking scissors to the buckram. Divide the "pie" into eight equal pieces on the pattern. Transfer markings that match your pretend slices onto the buckram, but skip the one that matches the front, for one large "slice."

Step 4

Moisten the slits with water and overlap them. Buckram is treated with a vegetable material that makes it stiff. Wet it slightly to make it pliable, and press the slits together with your fingertips. You can also use the tip of a hot iron to fix these edges in place against each other.

If your iron causes the slits to come undone instead of sealing them in place, press them together with your fingertips, rewetting them if necessary. Allow them to air-dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 5

Iron the buckram smooth. Your slits have created small corners in the side of the teardrop. Use a hot iron and small amount of steam and shape them into curves. You can use a rolled towel or pressing ham to iron against, or another curved surface that will not be damaged by ironing.

Step 6

Cut a piece of millinery wire long enough to go around the edge of the teardrop. Bend the teardrop point into the wire using jewelry pliers. Make sure the ends of the wire are on the side of the teardrop. Whipstitch the millinery wire around the edge of the frame. Close the wire with a joiner to hide the ends and crimp it closed. Your frame is ready to be decorated.


  • Keep your pattern so you can duplicate the frame for more hats later on.

    You can add lining to the buckram before sewing on the millinery wire. Baste it into place after you iron the buckram, then follow Step 6 to attach the wire to both lining and buckram at once.

Photo Credits

  • David Woolley/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Nicole Whitney began writing professionally in 2008. She has authored in-house training documentation for quality assurance in insurance applications. With many credits coming from a stint in classics, Whitney holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Assumption College.