Four panel hat

February 28, 2012

Four panel hat from Moshchevaya Balka. © A.A. Ierusalimskaja, Die Gräber der Moshchevaja Balka: Frühmittelalterliche Funde an der Nordkaukasischen Seidenstrasse. Editio Maris, Munich 1996.

Recently,  I was inspired to create a four panel hat.  It’s something that I’ve been meaning to do forever and just never got around to it.  A friend showed me a couple caps she made and another friend  has been talking about the fabric she is weaving to make caps so that is probably where some of the motivation came from.  Thanks, ladies, for getting me off my butt!

That night the muse bit me hard and there was nothing to be done but to get on with it.

I talked with the friend the hat was for and we brain stormed and sketched out hat ideas and discussed materials.  He thought the wool and fur options would be too hot, so no problem;  I can make it out of linen.

I rummaged around in the silk/linen scrap bin and found a suitable hat and lining fabrics. The outer fabric shell is made from a heavy duty two-tone natural linen herringbone. The lining fabric is a mid-weight dark red linen in plain weave.

Hat making materials

Because the outer shell fabric is plain (in color, if not in weave), I wanted the edge binding choice to give the hat some “pop” as my friend is a guy who likes his bling.  I brought out three choices for edge binding and the group consensus was the cinnamon silk brocade pictured at left.

Back in my early reenactor days, I had been taught how to make a six panel mongolian hat so I had a grasp of the basic shape for which I was aiming. After taking a couple of head measurements, I drew out a pattern for the panel piece on a regular piece of paper.

Series of mockups, paper and muslin.

I transfered that pattern to muslin from which I constructed the first of a series of mockups.  Since this was the first time I’ve tried to make this particular item and because I was working with a limited amount of fabric, I wanted to be sure the piece was going to work.

I ended up making three different patterns and mockups before I landed on one that I HOPE will fit.  If not, if fits my husband’s noggin and he loves it and now wants me to make him one.  I had wanted to do one last fitting over the weekend, but schedules did not meet up to make that possible.

Once the pattern was squared away, I cut out the pattern pieces from the linen fabric.  Both pieces of linen were squirrelly and wanted to distort when I tried to mark the pattern in order to cut it out.  Eventually, I just laid the pattern piece on the fabric which was lying flat on the table and carefully cut around it.

Inside seam hand sewn detail.

Stitching was easy-peasy.  I pinned and machine stitched the seam starting at the brim edge up to the point.  This was to make the meeting point of all four panels more controlled and precise.   After sewing the pieces together, I found that the outer shell fabric was very stiff and even after pressing, the selvage wasn’t being cooperative and lying down nicely, so I basted the seam selvages down with a big, chunky stitch invisible to the outside.  I didn’t want to turn under the seam edges because I feared it would add bulk to the inside of the hat and be less comfortable.

The inner shell, being a lighter weight fabric, was much more cooperative.  Regardless, I decided to add a quick running stitch down both sides of the seam using a natural colored two-ply silk thread just to keep it laying down nicely.The silk edge was created from a 2 1/2 inch strip ripped on the straight grain and double-pressed into binding “tape”.  

Linen weave detail

I machine stitched this to the front of the hat and hand sewed the edge on the underside using a small whip stitch.  It’s certainly possible that the hat could be worn inside out as there is no visible machine stitching visible on the project.

The project itself was pretty quick.  The most time consuming part was making all the patterns and mockups.  Once I finally was able to start on the hat itself, I think I had it together in about six hours.  1/2 hour to make edge tape, 1 hour for sewing and pressing and the rest in hand-sewing.

Completed linen hat


Lining of linen cap

Here are the some pictures of the final product.  Overall, I’m pleased with the way this turned out and will definitely be making more of them.  I think they are quick enough to make that the would be excellent largess gifts or tournament prizes.

If you’d like to make a cap yourself, Thora Sharptooth has a nice article to which you can refer for more information.  I am amused that she cites the Moscevaya Balka finds as inspiration and says they have Scandinavian influence.  Personally, I think they influence (eastern, Rus) Scandinavia, not the other way around.

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4 Responses to Four panel hat

  1. Thora Sharptooth
    December 26, 2012 at 9:58 am

    You miss my point in the article you site. The entirety of the reference is “some of the headwear found at Moscevaja Balka, an eighth and ninth century burial ground with a Scandinavian influence near the Black Sea in what is now Turkey.”

    My point isn’t that the Moscevaya Balka caps came from Scandinavia. The idea of the triangular gore cap had clearly been around in Scandinavia from a much earlier point in time than Moscevaya Balka (Tollund Man), and so there’s no need to try to argue a directional influence.

    My point is simply that there are Scandinavian cultural influences at Moscevaya Balka, which gives a putative cultural connection between tenth century Scandinavia and the Moscevaya Balka finds.

  2. admin
    December 26, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Thank you for stopping by. I’ve long been an admirer of yours.

    I should have been more clear in the source of my amusement, which is not you or your writing, rather it is that my studies have influenced my perspective on the origins of the constructions of hats of that type.

    • Thora Sharptooth
      December 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      I admire the work you’ve been doing. I live on the Left Coast these days; are we ever likely to run across one another?

  3. admin
    December 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I imagine that would be possible. I’m in Oregon and I make it down to the Bay area a couple of times a year to visit friends and family. I would love the opportunity to visit and do a bit of geeking.

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