Hats & Headwear

The difference the appropriate headwear can make to an outfit really can't be overstated. They can shift an ensemble from costume to clothes and make the wearer look like he or she has just stepped out of a painting. It doesn't hurt that they are a lot of fun to make too.

Black Wool Spanish Travelling Hood1601 Spanish Capirote

Completed: May 2010, just because

Inspiration: 1601 painting "Viage de la emperatriz Maria desde Praga" by Hans van der Beken.

Sometimes you come across something that is so silly you simply must have one. This hood may make the wearer look like a first-year at Hogwarts, and have truly odd acoustics, but how could you not want one?

The shape was worked out by trial and error with newspaper mock-ups (first for an apple and later full-sized) and comparing them to the original image. Once the pattern was established, I added a seam allowance all around and started cutting fabric - wool outer, cotton canvas interlining and cotton/linen lining.

The beautiful, black, boiled wool was hand basted to the cotton canvas and the edges were zig-zagged. The next step was stitching the top and back seams, after which, I opened the seam allowance and carefully stitched it down, trimming away the excess away at the point. The already assembled lining was then stitched to the outer fabric around the face, and that seam allowance was securely stitched to the canvas interlining. After wrestling the hood right-way-out, the seam allowance around the bottom of the hood, on the outer fabric only, was turned under and stitched down. The lining was then invisibly stitched. The last thing, once the basting stitches were removed was to add the covered button to the top of the point.

Now all I need is an excuse to wear it.

Many thanks to the Spanish Seamstress for posting her travel hood and details of the image that inspired her.

Black Velveteen Flat Cap or Bonnet1570's Flat Cap

Completed: May 2006, for First Feast (in St Kessogg)

Inspiration: 1589 Edition of Alcega

Wanting a less formal hat to go with my less formal 16th Century clothes, I decided to make my very first 'ubiquitous flat cap', otherwise known as a bonnet.

Mostly following the information provided in Patterns of Fashion, I chose to vary the shape from a perfect circle to an oval in order to create the flat brim style I desired. The exact shape was manipulated from one of my better fitting circlets.

It is constructed with a velvet shell, linen lining, canvas interlining and felt mulling. In order to encourage the flat look (rather than the 'too small muffin cap' style) I have reinforced the the top of the crown with several extra layers of quilted canvas.

This hat is generally worn with either a silver feather brooch, or a small plume of game feathers, and finishes my day gowns from the same period.

Organza Caul, shown here with brooch for decoration1560s Gold Caul

Completed: February 2006, for Canterbury Faire

Inspiration: Various, including An Elizabethan Maundy by Nicholas Hilliard or Levina Teerlinc, c1565

A simple gold caul for covering my drastically shortened locks while wearing late 16th Century clothing. It is correct for wearing alone, and under my late 16thc hats such as my flat cap, Spanish bonnet or tall hat.

The caul is constructed using a piece of gold organza that was given to me by Her Excellency, Baroness Chrettienne while serving as her Chief Lady in Waiting. Quilting the organza to black cotton serves several purposes; it makes the caul opaque, adds body to the fabric and adds depth to the colour of the organza making it more suitable to wearing with a greater number of ensembles.

Pleated silk Tall Hat1570s English Hat

Completed: May 2005, for Merchants' Ball

Inspiration: Pleated silk hat in Patterns of Fashion

A fan of head coverings in general, and after rediscovering my 1570s English middle class ensemble, I found I needed the kind of hat a middle class woman might put on, along with her good apron, in order to go to the markets. In other words, something that would look suitable with a variety of garments in different seasons, and also not look out of place when worn with the generic white coifs and biggins' of the time.

I was also searching for a project that looked like fun and allowed some experimentation in methodology and materials used. This hat was based on an extant example in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion, which was chosen after comparing it to the proportions of hats in the art of the period. Using cardboard for the base (in line with comments made by Arnold), this hat also has wool felt mulling, black linen lining and silk-satin outer shell. The stiffer base material has eliminated the need for wire reinforcing.

To my immense sadness, this hat has had to be retired. It got squashed in late 2013 and could not be fixed. The braid will be salvaged (when I can face it) and re-used for the new and improved version of this rather fun hat.

Velvet Gorra (or Spanish Bonnet)1570s Spanish Gorra

First Worn: October 2004, for Visit of TRMs Draco & Serena, Beowulf Event

Inspiration: Numerous pictures of Spanish Royalty, however the primary influence was the 1572 portrait of Anne of Austria by Alonso Sanchez Coello

In the process of making my dream gown, I felt I needed the correct headwear to complete the look. After considerable trawling through pictures of the Spanish nobility and royalty, I settled on this style. In the end, this bonnet was inspired by numerous portraits of Anna of Austria, Isabel Valois, the Spanish Infantas Catalina and Isabella, and also portraits of several noble women.

Using wire reinforced canvas for the base, wool felt was applied to the canvas as mulling before the silk lining, velvet shell and brim were added. Each pleat has been carefully stuffed with rolled felt at the base, near the brim, so that the applied decorations, such as the pearl rope, won't crush the pleats and destroy the shape of the hat.

Silk and Velvet Truncated HeninLate 15th Century Truncated Henin

First Worn: February 2003, for Canterbury Faire

With a light, silk transitional gown completed in time for the event, it was obvious that a henin was also required.

The looming trip to Drachenwald and Pennic added certain tricky requirements for the hat. For example, the ability to survive international air travel in a backpack was an important requirement.

This particular issue was solved by using a plastic flower pot (one of those fake terracotta jobs) as the base. Black wool felt was used as mulling over the modified pot, and then covered in white linen so the colour would not show through the fine lavender coloured silk outer layer.
The lappets are self-lined and sewn from black cotton velveteen.

Black Silk Tall Hat1590s Silk Tall Hat

First Worn: June 2000, for the Mid Winter Event.
Entered in the Barony of Southron Gaard's Arts & Sciences Championship

This was my first serious millinery project, and was inspired by a combination of a category for hats being announced in the Baronial A&S championship and my desire for a hat to compliment my first Elizabethan gown project.

Although numerous resources were considered, the hat is mostly due to the portrait of the Ball for the Wedding of the Duc de Joyeuse by the School of Clouet.

The silk shell and lining are applied over a mulling of white craft felt and a wire reinforced canvas base.