Silk Road garb (Part 4 – Propoloma)

Propoloma – The fan-shaped hat

Direct link from Pinterest

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.

Direct link from Pinterest

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.


Pattern development

The interlining of the hat, along with the paper pattern

The interlining of the hat, along with the paper pattern

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.


Trimming the hat with red fabric

Trimming the hat with red fabric

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.

direct link from Pinterest

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.

2 comments on “Silk Road garb (Part 4 – Propoloma)

  1. […] I won first place in the advanced category!) and part of that was a gorgeous, fun, huge fan-shaped hat called the Propoloma. My pattern was speculative, and I could see two different ways to accomplish the hat – but […]

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