Time to Vote: Kentucky Derby Hat- Refashion Runway Season Five

The hats, the dresses, the horses, the mint juleps, oh, how I’d love to head to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby someday.

The Derby has been referred to as The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports, but not for these designers.

NOPE, not for them.

Hours and hours have been put into their beautiful Kentucky Derby hats for you to enjoy in this week’s challenge. To help your favorite designer cross the finish line, scroll to the bottom of the post (or click here) to vote.

And they’re off……..

Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge


Peggy Latta from Heirloom Textile Art

When looking on Pinterest and searching Google, I saw many outlandish, garish and quite enormous Derby Hats. It just didn’t seem quite right so I reached out to millinery enthusiast Jody DeFord of @redsshoediaries. Jody is always listed among Indianapolis’ best dressed, continually stepping out with impeccable fashions. Here’s her esteemed advice for a perfect Kentucky Derby Hat:

  • The hat should always be deliberately coordinated with a full ensemble, with details that echo and/or complement each other. Small details with repeated elements in both hat and dress or shoes or small clutch/handbag really pull a look together. Elegance and sophistication is key.
  • The most overlooked but in my opinion one of the most important things is that a Derby hat must be interesting to look at and finished from ALL angles. 
  • The best hats are constructed using couture sewing techniques, rather than glue. 
  • The weight and balance of the finished hat should also be considered from the outset. Most couture hats are designed to sit at an angle (which is also generally most flattering) and some have a very pronounced tilt. This makes weight and balance critical for stability and comfort.
  • In no event should the overall width be wider than the shoulders of the wearer. Plenty of people don wildly oversized hats, but it looks kitschy rather than elegant. It’s also super irritating to other people who have to dodge out of the way in doorways, etc, to avoid being struck by a garishly large hat.
  • I personally like a mix of textures some small but interesting details (such as beading or incorporation of a vintage piece of jewelry) that gives the viewer more to see the longer they look at a hat. I also think elements like this make a hat stand out as one-of-a-kind and not something mass produced.

Keeping Jody’s advice in mind, I set out to create my Kentucky Derby Ensemble. I started with a coral, plum and apricot straw tote bag. Other materials included a wire basket, garden fencing, a book (pages and hard cover), a little girl’s tutu, a butterfly print skirt, vintage rhinestone pins, a lace dress and a knit dress.

I wanted my challenge entry to be more than just a hat (noting Jody’s advice) and with this being the final week, I decided to take one more opportunity to restyle a garment for my wardrobe.  I upsized a beautiful coral lace dress incorporating a flippy hemline from a coral knit dress. I also thought the elements of my ensemble should mean something. This is the symbolism you will find in my Kentucky Derby Outfit:

  • ROSES (the Derby is nicknamed the “Run for the Roses”)
  • BOOK PAGES (flowers and leaves) AND COVER (handbag) refer loosely to the term “to make book” or place bets. 
  • BUTTERFLIES mean “good luck” (for the weather, the horses, a safe race, your bet….)

As you look over my hat, you will find beautiful, hand crafted, color-washed book page roses and leaves nestled into the plum tutu skirt that forms the upper brim.  Beaded butterflies flit about the roses. From another angle you will find vintage pins from my Mother’s collection. And if you look really closely, you might find a bumblebee pin!

In keeping with the book symbolism, I repurposed the hard cover from the book and created a handbag for little necessities. It too is embellished in a similar…but different…fashion to the hat.

When I started this journey, I promised myself, my family, my friends and my followers that I would not leave one speck of creativity on the table…and I haven’t! I’m very proud of what I have shared with you each week. Thanks for following along.  




Julie Kong from Sugarcane Sweet Designs


As I glanced over at my hat project today I was hoping all the pieces would just put themselves together.  I thought if I stared at it long enough it would all make sense and come together.  I knew in order to create a stand out derby hat, I had to create controlled chaos. Okay, Mr. Hat, lets do this.  First of all, let me thank my creative friend Vickie Powers.  She found me an amazing beige hat at the American Cancer Society.  A big thank you to Stephanie Dahlberg for donating her no longer wanted floppy hat.  Also, Thank you Merlynn for helping me make adorable paper flowers.  You really are a master of paper.

As you can see, this hat is a combination of two hats.  The hat was adorned with hand made flowers that I made from sheer fabric.  Bright feathers added just the right amount of FLAMBOYANCE.   Once again I used broken pieces of jewelry and a pair of clip on earrings for some sparkle.  Now the paper used in the flowers has been recycled from discarded books.  As you know, I’m a school librarian.  Unfortunately, we discard a lot of books due to damage.  We shouldn’t  throw the books away.  We should reuse them!  Hey, lets cut the petals out from the pages of those books and make flowers.  Lets go crazy and make lots of flowers!  The students in the library agreed!   I think we’re going to decorate the library with the rest of them!   Now I’m not sure if you realize it but this hat is reversible!  Fun times!!  One day I can wear it to the Kentucky Derby.  The next day I can turn it around, so the paper flowers are in the front. and wear it to work!!  Yes, I am going to wear it to work.  I must find a book about the Kentucky Derby to read to the kids!!

The dress used in the picture is an upcycled garment.  It was originally a slip and a crocheted  tablecloth.  It has been adorned with antique lace plus new lace.  All pieces have been tea dyed.

WOW is all is have to say.  What a ride this has been.  Making something new and creative every week has been exhilarating but challenging.  Then to end it all with the Kentucky Derby hat. Wow, wow, wow!!!   I hope you’ve enjoyed this ride with me.  I’m going to miss seeing what all the other contestants create.  You all did an amazing job!  Such creativity!!!


Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge


Beki Biesterfelt from Beki’s Custom Sewing

I’ve never made a hat shaped on a hat block . . . Until now!!
Supplies I used:
*wash away stabilizer
* odd & ends of rayon, metallic and decorative threads
* tyvek mailers
* leftover acrylic paints
* found turkey feathers
* natural dyed silk cocoons
* scrap of silk fabric

Threads were sandwiched between 2 circles of wash away stabilizer.

I machine quilted the thread sandwich to hold everything in place.

My makeshift hat block . . . A bird bath and bowl taped together.

The wash away was partially rinsed out. The gooey threads were shaped on the “hat block” to dry.

I painted a few tyvek mailers with acrylic paints, cut out large flower shapes and shrunk with my steam iron.

Embellished with found turkey feathers, tyvek flowers, natural dyed silk cocoons and a silk band I made from a scrap leftover from my dress.

Finished hat!!



Yes!!!! We made it to the final challenge! I must admit this was a scary one for me at first, since I have never been to the Derby and never made a hat before.  Now that I have the hats, maybe I will put the Derby on my bucket list.
My inspiration for this challenge came from the British style fascinators and my favorite celebrity Derby hats.  I used everyday household materials to make the hats ( place mat, paper plate, cardboard, felt, luffa, and hot glue) I used the felt and paper plates to make the flowers and pink luffa to make the veil of the pink hat. Once I started researching, I was inspired by many looks and could not decide on one, so I made three hats!!! ( after all,  it is the final challenge, so I though why not go big right?).  The Red/Fuscia hat was inspired by Kate Middleton’s much photographed red-on-red ensemble (of all her many beautiful fascinators, her red ones are my favorite).  The yellow hat was inspired by what Amal Clooney wore to the  Royal Wedding.  I absolutely love her style. The white hat was inspired by the hat Kim K wore to the KY Derby. I thought it was fresh and modern and looked great on her.  I made  two refashioned dresses to complete the look of the yellow and fuscia hats.  I hope you guys enjoy the result.
This has been a great experience.  I have learned a lot from each contestant and I have improved my sewing skills by trying new things.  Thank you to everyone who went on this sewing journey with us and cheered us on every step of the way.  Thanks to my fellow sewists and designers for challenging me every week, I learned a lot from each of you. And last but not least, thank you Beth for creating this platform and promoting creativity. Sew on ladies!
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge


Michelle Paganini from Paganoonoo


Sonya Blackstone from She’s So Creative

For the Kentucky Derby Hat challenge, I decided to go with a fascinator instead of a hat. I didn’t have anything made from sinamay laying around here (nor could I find it at thrift stores), but I did have a lot of leftover pieces from the wedding dress I used for the Round 3 Faux Fur project! The liner was perfect for the base because it was lightweight and semi-sheer. I also had a red button up that I had bought (but never used) for Round 1, so I used that to make roses to represent the rose garland given to the winner!

I actually designed this hat around a dress my model has, so I decided to dye the white fabric pink to match her dress (and shoes!), but I ended up having to model it myself (red dress to the rescue!) I’m so glad I dyed it pink, it really adds that perfect “pop”!

I also had a lot of silk flowers laying around, since I buy them as photo props for my crochet patterns, so I was happy to have a purpose for them (I only use them in photos a couple of times each). I dyed two bundles of the white flowers pink to bring more pink into the finished piece.

I also used some floral wire and beaded some of the pearls from the wedding dress bodice onto them to give the “hat” a little more romance and visual texture. I added one pink flower to each tip to tie it together. I added one pink flower to each tip.

Last, but not least, I took one of my daughters toy horses and added it to the front. This was a whimsy addition, because that’s really more true to my style (I typically design “playful” and “whimsical”). Since the derby is all about horses, it just seemed right. Plus, I’ll just give the fascinator to my daughter to add to her dress-up box!


Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge
Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge


Marisa Glied from The Refash Stash

When I saw that Kentucky Derby Hat was on the last of the Refashion Runway challenges, I was ecstatic. Every year I refashion a hat to wear during my annual Kentucky Derby Party. My personal goal was to make it far enough into the competition to be able to make the Derby hat….and I made it!

I had this hat laying around since last year’s derby refashion. Plus every Derby hat needs a fashionable dress to match!

The Hat:

I grabbed some fabric spray paint (which is super fun to use) from JoAnn’s. I sprayed underneath the brim with the white paint and the whole outside with the rose gold paint (swoon!)

Over the years I have accumulated a basket FULL of faux flowers from Michaels, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby and even Dollar Tree! I took a look through my stash of faux flowers and found a few pieces that I think would tie my hat to my floral dress!

I added this beautiful pearl and sheer ribbon I also had stashed in my ribbon box!

While the white paint underneath the brim was still wet I laid the hat down on some white lace material I had and carefully cut the width of the hat out. Let that dry!

I cut 3 long pieces of this silver sparkle tulle and folded them accordion style and stitched the ends together.

Now to fire up the hot glue gun! I began piecing my hat arrangement together. First some pink cattails and the silver sparkle tulle.

Some feathers and blue flowers.

Roses to match the dress material.

Lastly, I finished up adding the flowers and leaves. I always like to make my arrangements on the back of the hat.

The Dress:

I removed the sleeves and cut the dress at the waistline.

The front of the dress had buttons, which I removed and stitched together the front seams. Then took the sides in and cropped it short (bold move for myself)!

Since the Kentucky Derby is a spring sport, what better way than to celebrate spring fashion than with a wrap skirt! The original dress came with was matching sash. I sewed a casing at the top of the dress to fit the original sash. On one side of the dress, I made a buttonhole, which will be used to thread the sash through so it can be tied together.

Hey Y’All it’s Derby Time! (Not really, it’s February and 18 degrees outside Burr!)

I paired my hat and dress with these vintage shoes that were my mother’s wedding shoes and then my wedding shoes 🙂

I told you making Derby hats is my most favorite thing! Here are my past hats and now my most current hat!


Deana Budgell from djewelss

Knowing this is the last challenge it’s somewhat bittersweet. I’ve learned so much in the process- how to think outside the box, pushed myself to try new things, made some what I know will be lifelong friendships, trusted my instincts over influence of things surrounding me and have learned to sew better then I ever have before.
Thank you to Renegade Seamstress for hosting this fun competition. It’s been a blast.

Kentucky Derby Hats— First thought…girlfriends, pretty dresses, heels and BIG beautiful hats… and sweet “Blue” who stole the show 🐎 😄
What a fun challenge!!
I decided to use up some of the previous items that I was left with from previous challenges and a few new items from our local thrift store “The Attic”

After deciding what items will go with what hat and dress. I got out my gloves and spray paint and went to town. While waiting for paint to dry I started making the patterns for the dresses.

Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge

Hat- Anne of green gables basic straw hat, wire wreath, craft blocks, styrofoam balls, random flowers, gift box cover and leftover fabric from dress
Dress made from thrifted black and white dress pants.

Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge

Hat- straw salad bowl, placemats, random flowers, couch springs, craft blocks and thrifted dress from an new IG follower in SLT.
Dress made from a roll of fabric from the Attic and a zipper from couch cushion.

Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge

Hat— A lamp shade ,lots of thrifted flowers, fabric from lining of the Small- Large challenge, hat crown taken off a straw hat, craft blocks and some very special ribbon given to me by Ann Finnie ❤️
Dress— my best friend and I were pregnant at the same time and I used one of the dresses I made for our photo shoot.

Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge

Hat—A flattened Jcrew floppy hat, crafting mat, wire springs from couch, thrifted flowers and hating binding and bow used from straw hat.
Dress—Thrifted night gown from the Attic

Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge

Deon, you asked for something Camo…😃
Hat— Brim of another hat that I used in black hat, thrifted flowers, craft beads and blocks, placemats, wire from couch around brim and fabric from a maxi skirt and some extra that I had left over for lining.
Dress- made from previously owned maxi skirt.

Refashion Runway Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge

Thank you for all your votes and encouragement during Refashion Runway.
Who knew so many unwanted things could be remade into such beautiful pieces of art.


WOW! Just WOW! Can I borrow a hat for my next Kentucky Derby party?

Now it’s your turn to vote. Click on the circle by your favorite designer then be sure to scroll to the bottom of the poll and click the VOTE button so your vote will be counted. This season you can vote once every 24 hours so feel free to vote for your favorite more than once or vote for more than one favorite. 🙂

If you don’t see the poll click here.

Here are links to the other challenges:

Week One: Statement Sleeves

Week Two: 1970’s

Week Three: Faux Fur

Week Four: Small to Large

Week Five: Southwest

Week Six: Kentucky Derby Hat

Happy Sewing!


About The Renegade Seamstress

I'm a busy wife, mom, grandma, and teacher who loves to create. I've joined the refashion scene and I 'd like to share and connect with all those talented and creative people out there doing similar things.
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32 Responses to Time to Vote: Kentucky Derby Hat- Refashion Runway Season Five

  1. Pingback: The Winner of the Southwest Challenge: Refashion Runway Season Five | The Renegade Seamstress

  2. Pingback: Faux Fur and Small to Large Sew Along: Amy Smith | The Renegade Seamstress

  3. Melissa says:

    WOW!!! Deana!!! WOW!!! Not just one hat and one dress but 4 of each!!!! Beautiful work, beautiful craftsmanship!!! Your Maine friends love you!!!!

  4. Emily Smith says:

    You are so talented! I have enjoyed your beautiful creations! I am so proud to call you my friend! You hve a talent that needs to be seen world wide! Go get em girl!
    Love you,

  5. Della says:

    Deana you win hands down!!! I wanta go to the Kentucky derby now and wear one of those hats!!!

    • Doris Marshall says:

      Fabulous entries again! Overall I would have to say my favorites are Deana and Peggy. Deana seems to always have her finger on the pulse of the younger generation when it comes to design. (Can any one say ” Move over Stella McCartney, there’s a new kid in town”.) Peggy really gets my age class of women who want to have comfort and stylishness with out trying to look too young. (We need someone with her design insight for the masses.) All in all I have been inspired by elements from each seamstress that have spurred me on to get out the machine and create! Thank you so much ladies for all your inspiration.

      • Peggy Latta says:

        Doris thank you so much for the compliment and for understanding my body of work in the competition. I’m proud that I stayed true to my vision and created stylish, wearable garments…all waiting to be worn now that I am not locked in my studio! Thanks for following!

      • Deana says:

        Thank you for the kindness Doris.
        I truly love what I do and hope to be designing for years to come. Love the encouragement.

  6. annie wade says:

    Wow! What a great bunch of entries! It was hard to decide.

    Get Down and Derby!!!

    annie! wade http://www.instagram.com/bohemiannie


  7. Angela Fogarty says:

    Deana, I am so proud of you! You are not only an amazing mother, but such a remarkable talented woman! I am blown away with everything you do!

  8. Peggy Brindle says:

    So colorful ❤

  9. Michele W says:

    AMAZING! Love what everyone did — awe-inspiring! Deana got my vote!

  10. Lisa Bryson says:

    OMG- what a beautiful, stunning piece of craftsmanship Peggy Latta has produced this week! The amount of detail is unbelievable and the entire outfit tells a beautiful story of the Kentucky Derby! Talk about finishing with a bang! This piece of artistry should take Peggy straight to the top! This is a totally wearable museum quality piece that also needs to be in my closet! Peggy is #1!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Peggy Latta says:

      Lisa…oh my gosh! Thanks for loving my hat and taking time to read the story to connect the dots! 🥰

  11. Eileen says:

    WOW! Amazing hats and dresses, such excellent talent. KT, you outdid yourself with the 3 gorgeous hats and dresses…so beautiful and festive!!! Congrats to all who participated, it has been fun to see the various ideas and talent 🙂

  12. Brooke says:

    Awesome KT

  13. Heidi West says:

    Peggy Latta….love, love, love. Your attention to detail week after week is so obvious!

  14. Jon says:

    Deanna: You never cease to amaze me. Your creations are beautiful, “over the top” would be an understatement. Your resourcefulness and ingenuity knows no limits. Congratulations. Nice to see you doing so well again.

    • Deana Budgell says:

      Hi Jon
      Thanks so much for your kind words. You know me, it has to be over the top or nothing. Hahaha
      It feels good to be well again, 4 months of this endless flu has not been fun, but I think all this sewing was the medicine I needed. I feel great again.
      Thanks for the love

  15. Nikki Boram says:

    Peggy once again is off the charts with her intricate and thoughtful, creative details. Her work is just magnificent. Always.

  16. June ryan says:

    Deana I love your work, ,I voted everyday you rock!!,also the other ladies are pretty awesome in theire creation also.

  17. Vickey Powers says:

    Deana must be pretty adept at hat making to make all five of those. Does she teach classes on line?

    • Deana Budgell says:

      Hi Vickey
      These are the first fancy hats I’ve ever made haha but Thank you !!! I’ve made little bonnets and newsboys hats for my twins.
      But these hats were by far the most fun to make.

  18. EG says:

    I love what KT did with the unique designs and bright colors. Should def be the winner !!!

  19. Pingback: The Winner of the Kentucky Derby Hat Challenge: Refashion Runway Season Five | The Renegade Seamstress

  20. Pingback: The Overall Winners of Refashion Runway: Season Five | The Renegade Seamstress

  21. Alicia says:

    Wow. Deana this is amazing. This is like amazing skill and craft and talent. I remember when you made my prom dress for me for my junior year for prom. I thought that was amazing but this is amazing, there is not enough words to describe your talent and skill and creativity that you have done, You need to come back to maine and open a boutique. These are phenonamal.

  22. Pingback: Recap of Refashion Runway: Season Five and Do You Want a Season Six? | The Renegade Seamstress

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