When I came home to Tacoma, I discovered my old cowboy hat in the closet. I haven't worn it in years, and let's be honest, I don't really intend to wear it out anywhere. At twelve, when I was feeling like I could be a frontier girl, I paired the hat with my Jordache power jeans (which had leather panels from pocket to pocket across the front...so cool). Even though I don't have the pluck to wear a cowboy hat in public, I have put it on to mess around in the garden and, inexplicably, while cleaning. The hat band has been bumming me out in a big way, so after reading True Grit, I decided it was time for a change. Let's make a replacement band for a cowboy hat!
You'll need leather laces, needle and thread, a thimble, tape, and scissors. I used a nail to hold my laces tight while I braided. The leather laces can be purchased at most craft stores. I found a .5lb mixed bag at Joann's for $3.82 with a coupon. Just make sure whatever you buy is long enough to fit around your hat. I added an extra six inches or so to leave room for the tassels.
Wrap your leather laces with tape and insert the needle into the first lace. This is the hardest part, so put your thimble to use! A wooden cutting board might also help balance the needle as you push it through the leather. Once you're through, run the needle and thread through the loop of your knot--this will secure your thread. Repeat for the other laces.
Once you've sewn through each of the laces, you can remove the tape and begin to wind the thread around the laces. Wind tight! Once things seem secure, slip the needle under the thread two times. Leave a thread loop on the second pass and thread the needle through that loop, creating a knot. Repeat once more and cut your thread.
Time to get your braid on.
Measure on your hat to make sure everything looks about right and then sew the other end of the braid together. Fit the braid on your hat again and tape to hold the braid together. Attach a new strand of thread to the wrapped thread by slipping the needle under the wrapped section and passing the needle back through the knot loop. Secure the overlapping braids by wrapping this new thread around and through the laces. Once you have it tight, just tie the thread off using the same pass through method. Repeat the process where the braids overlap on the opposite side of the tape.
Step back and admire your handiwork.
I think Dad might have picked the cowboy hat up at a garage sale. I mean, it makes total sense that he'd give me a cowboy hat because he wore one pretty much every day of his non-professional life. Of course, I was eager to emulate his signature style (and marry Jim Craig from The Man From Snowy River, which would have happened if only I'd worn the cowboy hat more. REGRET.). Even though I don't plan on wearing this hat any farther than down the road to the mailbox, I think it's a keeper.