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Turning Heads Fashionably with a Beautifully Designed Handcrafted Hat

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Mustard wool pleated wide brim hat features a fish-skin leather band and button; Size large; Price range $180-200 not including shipping. Scroll down to see more...

Talented Elmhurst, IL artisan, Clarice Yates, describes herself as “a girl who’s always loved hats.” So, it wasn’t exactly a surprise when she decided to start making them. Twenty-five years later, after taking many millinery classes and experimenting with various sewing and fabrication techniques, her hats are one-of-a-kind, works of art. Indeed, wearing one is sure to make anyone feel extra fashionable and very special.

Clarice can be found wearing her own hats to weekly church services, a time-honored tradition of her family’s dating back even further than her own girlhood Easter bonnet days. “People often want to buy the hat right off my head and then get irritated with me when I won’t sell it to them!” Clarice says with amusement.

Making a hat, from scratch, is labor intensive and time-consuming. Depending on the exact hat style she’s making, Clarice often must mold the material to a specific head form to create the shape that’s needed. Working in wool, such as felted merino, her hats are often embellished with unique buttons, colorful feathers or an eye-catching band she has woven, sewn or specially ordered.

She designs hats that cross many fashion eras from flapper styles and fascinators to the wide-brimmed ala Audrey Hepburn. Her own personal preference when making a hat for herself leans toward the pillbox style made famous by former First Lady, Jackie Kennedy.

Clarice credits her talented mother for setting her on this artistic path. Her mother was a highly skilled seamstress who sewed for others and could readily complete any type of handwork including knitting and crocheting.

“My mother taught us how important it was to learn how to make things for ourselves,” she recalls. Her mother also taught Clarice how to knit and crochet.

Clarice offers this advice in selecting a hat. “Just choose the one that looks best on you.” When people by a hat from her, she tells them, “Don’t worry, you won’t see this hat again on another person. Each one I do is one-of-a-kind – it will never be duplicated.” That’s because there are so many hat styles to make that Clarice is always eager to move on to the next one.

From her experience selling hats, she has learned that often ready-made hats are too small. Clarice specializes in making hats that fit a larger head size. Because her hat designs are the result of her own personal artistic expression, she does not accept requests for custom orders.

Although she’s made hats for all seasons, she primarily creates hats that are more appropriate for colder weather. Her hat prices range from $85.00 to $200, not including shipping. Prior to COVID restrictions, she appeared in about four art shows a year in Wisconsin and the Chicago area. She hopes to start up again in 2022. If interested in learning more about her hats, and what is currently in her inventory, you can reach Clarice at: or call: 630-758-1719.

Welt felted merino wool in black, gray and hints of earth tones with an inlaid-design and custom button. Shipping extra.

Welt felted merino wool in rich tones of brown, rust and shades of pumpkin, inlaid design. Size: Large

Wet felted hat with gray and tan and inlaid design. Brim is turned up which is tan featuring a decorative button. Size: Large

Black woold hat with band hand-woven on a loom. Size: Large

Clever hatmaker, Clarice Yates, models a pillbox hat she fashioned for herself from what was once a favorite sweater of hers.


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