Hat Research: French Hoods

Hat Research for  1500s French Hoods
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For an amazing collection of French Hood images, see A Gentlewoman’s Accounts

For some period images and some modern recreations see my French/English Hood Pinterest board.

Construction details coming soon!

Hat Research: an Elizabethan crown

Hat research for: an Elizabethan-inspired crown
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16th century portraits of Queen Elizabeth rarely show her in an actual crown. Rather she wears an assortment of jeweled billiments, often with a veil. But we decided that modern audiences expect to see a crown on their royalty. So this was a piece meant to capture the look of a those portraits, yet still be very crown-like.

Here are a few examples of her jeweled billiments

construction details coming soon!

Hat Research & Construction Diary: Tudor flat cap

Hat Research & Construction Diary for Tudor flat cap for Henry VIII

My good friends, Mr. & Mrs. B. at Meet History in Person allowed me to make a cap for King Henry VIII while they were busy finishing his outfit. Both were inspired by this 1536 portrait of H8.

H8 inspiration

Check out that blackwork! Mrs. B., of Wyvern Productions, does professional machine embroidery, specializing in historic pieces. Check out her work here (that’s my favorite page, with lots of blackwork.)

The Preparation

It’s all about proportion, so I began by taking some measurements of the picture. After all, Proportion is the #6 biggest mistake costumers make (according to this great blog post by Historical Sewing.)

In my print-out of the portrait, Henry’s face -from chin to when the hat starts- was about 2″ long. The brim of his hat was about 1/2″ wide.

Using one of the few formulas I recall from high school math,

IS over OF, % over 100

I figured that the brim was about 25% of the height. Then I measured Mr. B’s face and calculated 25% of that number. This gave me the depth for the brim on my version of the cap. One note, I may have used the width of the face, rather than the height. I really can’t remember!

The Pattern

I use whatever paper I have handy to make patterns. Many of my early patterns are drawn on several sheets of  computer paper that have been taped together. I actually like how the tape makes them kind of sturdy. More recently, I’ve invested in a roll of brown craft paper. I like not having to piece it, but it always wants to curl up on itself.

I used my handy-dandy flex curve tool to measure Mr. B’s head and make the inside circle (headsize.) Then just measured out from that, using the brim depth I calculated above. Since this hat doesn’t have a separate crown and brim, that was most of the pattern! (Once you get a pattern you like, be sure to preserve it this way.)

I suspect that the original hat does, indeed, have a crown but we were on a time crunch. So I just sort of stretched more fabric over the inside. By the way, if you want a great pattern for an early Tudor man’s cap try this one from the Tudor Tailor or find patterns and instructions for many whole Tudor outfit in The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing Sixteenth-Century Dress

item #3262 from Fancifuls Inc., brass charms and embellishments

There’s actually not much more to tell. This was another over-night hat. Once I had the pattern, I just traced it onto PNC and cut out the base. Forgive me, but I can’t even remember if I whip-stitched a wire onto it! I covered the base in synthetic velvet and added brass charms and faux pearls.

I Highly recommend Fancifuls Inc. for brass charms. They opened up a whole new world of ideas for me.

Later, Mrs. B. (the king’s wife) added those great gems from Sapphire and Sage

The last part was stitching millinery wire to a maribou boa. The wire let me make and keep the exact curl I wanted. Any millinery supplier should carry millinery wire. See my links for some great suppliers.

Not too bad for a rush job with modern materials!