Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Hats Off!

I've just completed by first HSF challenge! I didn't think I'd get this done in time, but having sewn till almost the 11th hour, I'm very glad to have gotten it done.

So the first part of making a new hat for my Venetian was to decide on the fabric; this part often takes the longest. I knew I wanted velvet, but I had a decent number of options in my stash.So I took a picture and.. who am I kidding, I went for the red velvet. It's a statement. It's brilliant. And when (when!) I eventually get my muff done, I'll have matching accessories.

I cut out two brim pieces in buckram then sandwiched my hand made felt between these and whipstitched it into place. I decided to leave out the millinary wire this time, as an attempt to make a more period hat, and nothing to do with the fact that I couldn't find where mine had wandered off to.

I had initially intented to sew the velvet to the brim in such a way that I'd be able to overlap the crown to brim join with some of the brim seam allowance, but the velvet was so prone to fraying that I decided to turn under all of the seam allowance edges on the brim, to sew the lining to the velvet prior to making up the crown, and just attaching the two directly. Based on the little red fluffs everywhere, I think I made a good call.

The part that worried me most about this project was alining the stitches for the cartridge pleats on the crown. All of my skirts are cartridge pleated, but that's on a straight edge. As mentioned in the Sempstress' tutorial, each row of pleat stitches on the hat has to allow for the oval shape of the crown. I didn't trust myself to be able to eye that, so here's what I came up with. 

First, I determined the centre of the lining by folding in half vertically and marking with chalk, then folding it in half horizontally and marking again. Then using a ruler and a default pleat measurement of the width of my fingernail, I marked chalk lines all the way along the edge so I could follow the lines to keep my pleats all nicely lined up!

And look how wonderfully even they turned out! After that it was a simple case of stitching the pleats into the brim, lining up the front, back and side points to ensure that the pleats would be evenly distributed. I have to say, at this point, I wasn't too sure of the hat at all. I think I cut the crown too big, and I just couldn't get it to sit right.

But then I attached the feathers and it changed the my attitude to it. It went from arkward to bling, especially when I found and attached the little costume jewel to the base of the feathers. Yes, there's things I'd adjust for the next version of this hat, but this one will do nicely too.  

The Challenge: #7: Tops & Toes
Fabric: Red cotton velvet, black linen for lining, purchased buckram, hand made and fulled wool felt.
Pattern: Drafted myself, with help from The Sempstress' Toque tutorial
Year:Approx 1550s
Notions: Polyester thread. Should have been linen by rights, but I had to use what I had.
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is similar to styles worn in portraits of the time, though I think my crown piece is too big. Silk velvet would have been more likely than the cotton, but is a good approximation. Everything was hand sewn, even if it was with polyester thread. Together with the shop purchased buckram instead of my own linen cardboard, I'd say about 75%.
Hours to complete: Approx 6-7 hours with some not so neat stitches involved.
First worn: Hmm, next SCA event is in two weeks time, but I'm hoping to hold onto this one to preview with my complete fencing garb, which won't be until the end of May (not including the obligatory dodgy selfie below).
Total cost:  Technically everything was already in my stash, so I didn't have to buy anything new. As an estimate though, I think it would have cost about €20 if I'd bought everything new.


  1. Replies
    1. If you think this gives any indication of what the rest of the outfit will be like, you'll be in for a shock :P