Posted on by Nice Hat

People always ask how we make our badass leather top hats. Well, ask no further! In the almost 50 years we've been handcrafting these bad boys, we've learned a thing or two about making a kick ass hat!


Step 1: Start with the best materials. It doesn't matter how good your handiwork is if your materials just can't stand up to the test of time. Our top hats start as a hide of heavyweight top grain leather, which is punched into our hat parts using industrial hydraulic presses.

 Step 2: Punch out your hat parts from the hide. All of our hat parts are cut out using pre-shaped dies that make up the three basic parts of the hat. The brim, the crown, and the top!  At this phase of production, we cut out two of those shapes, the brim and the crown. We'll get to the top of the hat here in a bit!

Step 3: Next, we start building the basic crown shape. The crown we punched out is one solid piece of leather, but it needs to be formed into a shape that will fit around someone's head. To do this, we fold the crown into a circle and stitch it from the inside out. All of our hats are built inside out, and then flipped so all of the stitching is protected on the inside of the hat. Once this crown is all sewn up, we need to top it off. 

Step 4: Airbrush and laser engraving! A lot of our leather top hat styles are complemented by stunningly intricate designs that are airbrushed onto the crown of the hat. This is a two-step process. First, we airbrush the basic colors of the design onto the crown of the hat, and then we laser engrave those vivid designs directly into the leather! The laser engraver we use allows us to get an amazing amount of detail into the crown.

Step 5: Finish the brim, and top of the hat. To get the top of the hat, we take the brim and punch out a hole in the middle, meaning that the leather piece we create is a perfect match to be the top of the hat. We then take this piece and sew it onto the crown. Before moving on to the next phase, we sew on the tags and velcro buttons that hold our replaceable sweatliners in place!

Step 6: Finishing touches. At this stage, the hat is flipped right side out, and the brim is sewn on. Finally, this top grain leather top hat has the sweatliners added, and is conditioned and shaped before going to our shipping department so it can be shipped off to it's lucky new owner! 

Step 7: Wear it somewhere fitting! Maybe you're headed to Sturgis soon, maybe you need a new look for the Alice Cooper show coming up, either way, you're the newest addition to the American Hat Makers family! Time to rock your new lid the way it's meant to be worn!