I started with a "twisted sea grass hood" from Leko's hatsupply.com. As a side note, her website has an absolutely extensive supply of hat blanks, tools, and trimmings. I only wish it was easier to navigate.
It arrived flat, springy, and quite not-a-finished-hat-shape.
I fell in love with the capotes, best described here at Jane Austen's World. After staring at the pictures for a while and doing some other image collection on Google, I decided the hood could best be altered into the shape I wanted by rolling the back bottom edge up and shifting the top of the crown slightly forward.
The sea grass is truly flexible stuff. It also springs back with a vengeance. Finally, with the help of a small clamp (bought at ACE Hardware of all places) and my trusty spray bottle, I had a mass of limp, drippy, hay-scented hat. Cue the hairdryer to set everything.
A closeup of the rolled side.
Here is how it looked on my styrofoam head. I tacked down the rolled up back edge and sides to help keep its shape. Even when dry, the open weave gives the hat quite a bit of give. Helpful in terms of fitting to different hairstyles and angles when worn, but frustrating when trying to work with it. I did end up turning the front edge up more sharply than it shows below.
It took a few tries to decide how I was going to trim the capote. A lot of images that I found were very simply finished, with braided edges or swatches of fabric / ribbons. I dug into my trusty box of vintage silk flowers ($15 for 6 lbs on eBay!), and came up with a gorgeous pale blue stargazer lily, and spray of yellow daffodils, and a couple of large leaves.
I wanted the trim to be asymmetrical, but didn't want it to feel lopsided. By tucking the flowers and leaves into the rolled up side, they make a statement without protruding too much. Before attaching them permanently, I poked the stems through the open weave of the hat and played with positioning.
I always prefer to stitch decorations on rather than use glue - somehow, it feels like cheating. The flexible grass was working against me though, so I compromised and used craft glue to set the greenery in place with pins, and then stitched the stems once the glue was dry.
After all of the flowers were in place, I added a double band of green bias tape. At first, I had it running around the brim, but decided it looked better arching over the crown.
I'm rather pleased with the final product. I love the way the lily spills over the rolled edge, and the daffodils cheer things up quite a bit. Planning to leave it unlined without ties.