|The banker and his wife, detail|
Marinus van Roejmerswealen
|Anne of Cleves, 1539, Hans Holbein|
I started out by cutting butchers paper, pinning and taping it, and sticking it on my head, until I had a suitable shape. Although the whole hat has a rounded shape, it seemed like there was a distinct line at the top edge, where you could put a seam. So I made it in two pieces, a curved front and a flat back.
A LOT of taping and pinning and cutting later, I had something I thought worked, so I pinned my veil over it to double check the shape with the veil on. (this was another project where I amused my sister with a succession of ridiculous pictures of me wearing paper hats.) I was having fits trying to get the shape of the horns right, when I realized that this probably would have been worn over a long braid coiled and taped at the back of the head. My hair is quite short right now and I was putting the back of the hat snug to my head. As soon as I allowed for the period hairstyle under the hat, the shape immediately went in the right direction.
Now it was time to make the hat form. I traced my pattern onto the buckram with sharpie (I bought real actual buckram to use on this project, upgrading from my earlier use of heavy needlepoint canvas). I then cut it out with a very very scant seam allowance, and sewed the top seam. Which I then ironed to the back and steamed down over my sleeve board to force it to be a rounded slope rather than a sharp edge along the seam. I overlapped and whip stitched all the other seams, and added a small dart at the nape of the neck to get the bottom back to sit closer to my head.
I covered the whole thing with a layer of batting to soften out any edges and seams.
With the fabric to cover the hat all made (and me praying I'd made enough) I started pinning it on. I wanted to mount it with the squares running diagonal as much as possible, so I centered one set of diamonds on the center front, and straight down the back, and started smoothing and tucking from there.
And smoothing and tucking and pinning, and trimming off extra and sewing it on spots there wasn't enough, and STILL praying I had enough. I had enough, but only just, a tiny handful of scraps was all that was left over.
while I was doing this I was trying to think of how to make this hat just a LITTLE bit more ridiculous. because you know, covering it in 1" piecework squares just didn't seem like QUITE enough. I got lucky and found some teeny tiny stamped tin maltese crosses in a shop specializing in vintage millinery supplies on etsy. Each approximately a quarter inch square. I bought all of them that they had and hoped it'd be enough to cover the whole hat with some sort of pattern. I was able to cover the front side with every other black square, and had just four left. So I used them to pick out Joachim's arms on the back of the hat.
I did the last bits of this in the car on the way there, seven hours is a long drive and I like having handwork to keep me busy. However it also means that I'm further away from my tools and led me to a kind of funny oops. Getting the points tight was a bit of a struggle, involving lots of pins and muttering. I carefully pinned one corner, stitched it up, turned the hat over..... and realized I had sewn one of the pin heads into the corner! So there is the point of a pin sticking out of the fabric in the middle of the back. No way was I taking it out and redoing it! Now that I'm back home I plan on nipping that off with a pair of wire snips. (the pucker you see is the edge of a tuck easing the edge into the bottom curve.) (you can also see where I had to add a little piece onto the corner here and my square matching got a little wonky)
The last step was a black velvet band stitched down around the face edge. This hat actually doesn't have a wired edge at all, nor does it need it to keep its shape. the band is tight around the head and the friction of the velvet keeps the hat stuck to your coif/forehead cloth really efficiently.
|Photo by Brenden Crane|