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Coolest Homemade Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Hat Costume

It was the hat seen by millions around the world during President Barack Obama’s January 2009 inauguration. Aretha Franklin wore it when she sang her soulful rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and it stole the show! Hey, even Ellen DeGeneres featured it on her daytime show.

I decided this Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Hat Costume would make a terrific costume on a larger scale because of how ridiculous it would look to be wearing an entire hat! I began it’s construction by assembling plastic sprinkler piping in two circles (one for the top of the hat, and one a bit larger for the base) and joining the rings together using chicken wire and zip ties. After that, I drilled holes across the top ring to join together two PVC pipes so that I could carry it around (think Cleopatra’s lounging bed that’s carried around on the shoulders of her male servants). The two pipes allowed me to carry the structure on my shoulders comfortably. I chose not to cut armholes for the costume.

After the transport beams were in place, I spread chicken wire over the top leaving a hole in the middle for my head. Next, I paper-mached over the entire structure, giving it about 3 layers.

For the material, I chose heavy, dark-gray felt and sewed a “stocking” to cover the structure. For the bow, I cut a piece of felt and tied an actual “bow” and covered the edges with sequin strings and clear jewels using a glue gun. I attached it by sewing and zip-tying it to the main structure.

I took lots of fun photos that night!

Homemade Aretha Franklin's Inauguration Hat Costume

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