Propoloma – The fan-shaped hat
This wacky-looking hat really appealed to me right off the bat – plus I love the chance to wear something other than a veil (I can never quite seem to arrange one so it doesn’t get in the way of everything). I’m pretty sure it’s also described in other writing as the “fan-shaped hat” though different hat depictions seem to give a basic shape, and a more exaggerated shape – so this could be two different hats.
Another version of this hat can be seen on “Dance of Miriam with the Israelite Women”, which I’ve been unable to find as a stand-alone image, but you can see in Lady Ariadne Karbonopsina’s documentation.
I first considered making this hat with a proper millinery base made of buckram and wire – sort of a flared hat, like a Wellington top hat without the brim – but then reading Anna’s writing about her own Propoloma, I noted the huge advantage in a hat I could more easily pack and transport to events. Like her, I decided to make this with a wool base, though instead of felt, I chose to use wool melton coat fabric, leftover from a previous project. The fashion fabric is a 100% silk brocade in a golden colour, and I trimmed it with red silk-like fabric.
For the pattern, I measured my head, divided the measurement into half, and roughly drew the shape I had in mind. I didn’t want to just have a two-piece flat hat (since it wouldn’t be as dynamic) so then pulled out some width at the edge, and re-drew the shape so I had one piece very much like the hat-shape, and two side pieces that are arch-shaped.
Since the only place the hat needs to fit the head is at the edge, I wasn’t super concerned about fitting the hat, so I cut it out.
Assembling the hat
I cut the pattern out of the fashion fabric – the gold silk brocade, and the green wool melton coat fabric which would be the unseen interlining. I zig-zagged the fabrics together, and sewed the side seams, tried on the hat, and moved forward. I’d sew the top of the hat only after embellishing it.
I wanted to have red ribbon on the hat to embellish it, much like one of my inspiration images – but none of the ribbon I had would work properly, so I used some red silk-like fabric from my stash, and cut strips, folded in the edges, and hand-stitched the strips to the hat with matching red silk thread.
From there I needed to “audition” additional embellishment. While Anna had kept hers fairly simple, I was looking at the crowns from the era on Pinterest, and thought something more embellished and more textured would be great, so tried looking at a few things.
The first option was using gold and pearl almond-shaped appliqués. These almond-shaped appliqués are wonderfully very much like a piece of jewellery from the culture that I saw on Pinterest. (below) I also knew I wanted to use some small glass-and-metal gems, and fake pearls.
The second option was the same gold almond-shaped appliques, but with the addition of the bright blue fabric that I used on my dress. I liked this alternative – but found that the gold ‘almonds’ fell flat a bit, and I wanted them to pop a bit more.
For the third option I used navy blue “almonds” instead, and this is ultimately what I chose to go with; although I also added in some hand-made gold and blue cord.
The blue and gold cord is whip-cord. I originally was going to use lucet – but I really didn’t love the result of the lucet with the colours and threads I wanted to use. I thought of doing fingerloop instead, but since I’ve only tried that once, and wanted to move this along a bit faster than struggling with a new technique, so decided to use whipcord… However if you look closely, I used two different whipcord techniques – one makes stripes, the other makes a spiral. I used both, but I think it’s pretty indistinguishable from any kind of distance…
I stitched the whipcord on either side of the red strips as well, and trimmed the glass-and-metal gem with fake pearls as planned.
To finish off the hat I sewed the top edge. Then I cut more of the same gold brocade fashion fabric (I thought of using linen, but I wanted something a bit more slippery for my hair, especially since I’ll be possibly wearing this with a veil as well) which I had to piece to get the best use of my fabric (Piecing is period! hehe). I also cut some strips of the same fabric to do a narrow binding for the edge sewed it on by machine, and hand-finished it inside the hat.