Wednesday 18 February 2015

1806 - Cantab Hat

I am making my way into millinery (yes, another thing on the "what to do if you can't fit clothes"-list)...

Without any special reason I made the Cantab Hat (1806) by Lynn McMasters ( It is apparently inspired by Napoleonic Polish Lancers and Cambridge Graduates' hats. (although I have to say I didn't find convincing pictures of either of them...). The pattern in this form is no longer available, they are split into 2 patterns - the Cantab Hat and the Regency bonnets.

So how did it turn out?

I started, as recommended, with a cardboard mock-up. And thank goodness I did, because it was HUGE!!  I could pull the whole hat with greatest ease over my ears and looked less than graceful. As I was still determined to make the hat I just had to adjust it, right. With all those curved lines, squares, circles.... right. It worked out ok in the end.

What doesn't help is, that I am not a particular fan of her instructions. I really love her work, but when it comes to explanations, my brain seems to work differently and it takes me ages to understand what she actually wants. And like with the Victorian hats, I ended up assembling the pieces in a different way anyway.

Basically, all I need from the pattern are the pieces themselves and the rest is learning by doing.  Although it is a bit sad if you have a package like that and you just feel like chucking out the instructions.

Anyway, here is the hat,
I have made it in black cotton velvet and added a bit of  white feather decoration. (this time excellent explanation with pictures on her homepage .) I caused a giant mess with cutting the feathers though. I still feel a bit like a chicken. Or Ostrich. :)
The hatband and lining is black cotton voile (also attached in a slightly different way...). It should have been silk charmeuse, but I didn't have any. I've also added a few black ribbons so the feathers don't feel to alone.

the white pompom is not so easy to spot in front of the grey door... sry... I am also NOT sporting a 1806 hairdo... and I couldn't find any hat needles... so... imagination required! :)

I am really sorry I don't seem to be able to take good photographs... but I think it is clearly a hat. :)

edit 21.2.15:
I just HAD to do some more research on hats of this shape, as the pattern doesn't really give any sources or examples. This is what I found, it's not much, but then again it is SOMETHING and there might be more out there... It just sort of proves, that this sort of shape is possible. Although I would put the date rather later towards 1814 or so... but well...

1816: (not much of a brim and higher)
1816:  (no big brim and higher)
1813:  (a lot higher BUT made from Velours/velvet)
1814: (this one has the best ressemblance, but made from straw) 
1806 (wider brim)

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