I have to wear a hat. The well-dressed, well-behaved medieval lady just didn’t go about letting her hair down all over the place, for shame. Anyone who knows me knows that my hair probably couldn’t get much more untamed looking, short of turning actually feral. I’ve long suspected it would actually try to eat any hat I attempted to wear. I can probably get away with wearing veils, but since I had some left over velvet and a packet of patterns for headwear loaned to me by the shire, I decided to give one a go. One of the classic hat shapes I have associated with earlier medieval ladies are the ones held in place by a band of cloth under the chin, I believe these chin straps are called Barbettes, and were popular in the mid 12th century.
The pattern pack I have borrowed is McCalls 4806. There are four different styles, including the jewelled Princess Leia ear cosy style that is a tad beyond my abilities just now. This one looked at least doable, so I traced some patterns and cut out some pieces I then learned, to my immense shame, that I haven’t a breeze how this whole pattern thing (the instructions part) actually works, and anyway half of it sounds like a different (made up) language. I ended up making up at least half of it as I went along.
I had picked up some remnant parts of a hardened open weave fabric I’ve seen used a lot in wedding fascinators, and some milliners wire to provide some strength and shape. This was not at all as easy as my imagination suggested it might be. Making a circle is hard. I used the same mesh to make the side piece and then had stupid amounts of swearing attacks trying to make the circle and the sides meet and play nice to measure up so they might fit. Then there was the trying to fit the velvet on and work it all around in a circle, where the notches I had to cut into it didn’t want to play nicely. I’ll take this opportunity to thank all those fine people in the adhesive manufacturing arena now.
This is pretty much where I am with it at the minute, I need to get some appropriate coloured thread to convince it all not to fall apart next, and then figure out the chin strap. Oh and clean off all the persistently clinging bits of velvet fluff.