This hat was entirely on a whim after watching the ASMR-esqe Bernadette Banner’s Winter Witch Hat video. There was something about the finished version that just made me so frivolously happy that I knew I wanted one for myself. Of course it was right before super-depressing Halloween which might have had a lot to do with wanting to indulge some frivolity.
(Halloween is usually my favourite holiday of course, but with Covid 19, that means no parties, no dressing up, no pub nights, no friend visits – even the plan of visiting with my bf and watching movies was halted by 600+ cases per day in Alberta, well beyond the height of the lockdown early in the pandemic).
I checked out the screen capture that inspired her of professor McGonagall, and her deerstalker witch hat – the classic witchy pointed hat with ear flaps like the signature Sherlock hat, and done in a rustic plaid rather than classic witchy solid black. LOVE IT. Unlike her more classic witchy hat – this one has a narrower brim (probably done with the Deerstalker style with a front and back brim but no sides) which is definitely softer (floppier) than the classic style.
I started drafting my pattern, but rather than starting with a circle, I used a oval. Given that the ear flaps would be straight across the top, this means I wouldn’t have to shape them as much – and hopefully they’d sit nicer too. Also… my head isn’t a circle on top, and I hoped that this would help with fit.
While the classic Deerstalker cap has a front and back brim, but no side brim, I opted for a normal brim which is the same measurement all the way around. On a classic Deerstalker cap the ear flaps tie up on top of the hat – so the sides of the brim are omitted to accommodate that. However, on the conical hat – that’s not going to happen, and I liked the look of Bernadette’s hat so went with that.
I also opted to make my cone a little taller than Bernadette’s, and just drew out my cone rather than using the website she suggested to do the math. I went taller because of how I’d be wearing it – and also I just presume I’m bigger than Bernadette, and… proportions! (Plus, if you read my blog, you know that I am a fan of enormous, ridiculous hats.) At this point I also questioned the measurements – since Bernadette was wearing hers more on the back of her head, requiring the straps to keep it on her head (or I suppose, a good hat pin would help too!) and I knew I wanted to wear mine more ON my head, more like a hat than a bonnet.
The challenge with the pure cone – is that while the circumference for the hat band is the same on the inner brim as the bottom of the cone…. the cone then gets smaller as it goes upwards. I worried that the shape of my head above the edge wouldn’t taper quickly enough… but I moved forwards using my regular hat size and basing the base of the cone on that measurement too.
I did follow Bernadette’s instructions for the ear flaps though – measuring my ear placement and then drawing out a pleasing shape.
My fabric is a brown/tan plaid with a vague burgundy and green stripe through it; a wool that is slightly lighter than jacket weight but perhaps slightly plusher than what one would normally use for suiting. The hand is fairly drapey. I believe I got the fabric for free from my former teacher (secondhand) or if not, then might have picked it up at the Grandmother’s fabric sale and added to my general stash.
Bernadette relied on the weight of her fabric to keep her hat up, (rather than interfacing) but I suspected mine was too light for that, so I opted to flatline my wool with some bonded batting on the cone, ear flaps, and brim which gives the whole thing some light support, while still being super flexible, packable, and washable.
I lined my hat with more free fabric from my former teacher, this time a plum very light satin-back crepe which was close tot he burgundy in the plaid. Honestly, the only reason I grabbed this was because it was smooth, dark (rather than the piece of off-white lining I had also received from her) was a good colour…. and was at the top of my pile of “fabric I’m not sure what I’m going to do with” while doing my massive sewing room clean up.
Now… I should have pulled all my materials together before I started assembling. When I went to grab ribbon for my ear flap ties, I couldn’t find my grosgrain ribbon, so I used a different ribbon entirely. Then when I went to do the decorative outer hatband… I DID find my grosgrain collection, and far preferred it over the other options. Like Bernadette, I opted not to include a sweatband inside the hat as I would normally do on other millinery projects.
So….. once the whole thing was finished….
Yep – I was right to be concerned about the cone measurements.
The hat is wearable – but sits a little higher (or further back) than I really wanted.
So of course… I had to make a second!
The second hat
My second is in a different brown plaid – but a bit more subtle of a pattern. I adjusted my pattern to make it a little larger in circumference, so ultimately it accounts for the lack of cone-like taper in my forehead! This time I also picked out all of my materials (same plum satin lining, but ear flap grosgrain that matches the hatband) before construction.
The material this time is even finer wool than the previous hat, so I knew I’d need some structure to keep it upright as well. Like the first hat, I flatlined this hat (all pieces) with bonded thermal batting, but also decided to use fusible interfacing on the brim and crown for a bit more structure and shape.
In wearing it, I realized that I REALLY like the ear flaps (so warm and cozy) and although I normally HATE tie-on hats (stop choking me!) in the wind of autumn/early winter this is fantastic because all of my “oh, the wind has picked up and I need to hold onto my hat!” protesting is totally unnecessary! I can stride head on to the wind with no hat-blowing fear!
Now…… do I want to make a black one with a little black velvet ribbon hatband and wide satin ribbon ties?
Obviously the witchy hat-with deerstalker flaps is Professor McGonagall fantasy. (Thanks HP costumers!) However there’s a pretty decent history through a variety of cultures for the conical hat – including golden ones worn by Bronze Age priests, black felt hats with flat brims (witchy!) in 400 BCE China, 1200-1500 CE Scottish Dunsmen hats, Jewish judenhuts, and humiliating capirote during the Spanish Inquisition.
Sherlock’s iconic Deerstalker hat is a lot more ‘recent’ – used in Victorian Scotland for hunting. Despite being associated with mystery, pipes, and swishy coats… Sir Arthur Conan Doyle apparently never actually described the hat – it was made iconic by illustrator Sidney Paget in Strand Magazine.
Both of the fabrics are Glen plaid (aka Glen Urquhart plaid aka Glenurquhart check) which was likely first used in the 19th century. Though one is a more subtle tone than the other.
Historical Sew Monthly
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I keep trying to do the Historical Sew Monthly challenges, but this year I’ve failed horribly in doing them ON TIME.
However… I’m going to reach back MONTHS, and call this my entry for the July 2020 challenge.
July: No-Buy: Make something without buying anything. Whether it’s finishing off a UFO, using up scraps of fabric from earlier challenges in the year, sewing entirely from stash, or finding the perfect project for those small balls of yarn, this is your opportunity to get creative without acquiring more stuff.
So… this garment is a time-travel monster! I’m absolutely wearing this for mundane wear (as you can see from my photos!) but it’s also combining multiple eras just in itself! I could probably have also used it for the January time travel challenge!
Material: Wool plaid, polyester satin-back-crepe lining.
Year: Various inspiration (400 BCE – Victorian)
Notions: Polyester bonded batting, grosgrain ribbon, fusible interfacing
How historically accurate is it?: Not even slightly!
Hours to complete: Each was done in about four hours from drafting to completion.
First worn: Out for a physically-distant walk to play Pokemon Go with friends, Oct 2020.
Total cost: $0 or close to it. The wools were likely free, or I may have paid $2 for one of them, but they came out of existing stash. The satin was free. The grosgrain was free. The batting was free. The interfacing was from a bundle of free stuff I got too.