Monday, July 19, 2010

Hat Trick

Question: What's a self-respecting pirate wench to do when faced with hatlessness for an upcoming Pirate's Weekend at the Renaissance Festival?

Answer: Make one!

A friend invited me to the Pirate Invasion this weekend at the Sterling Renaissance Festival. This is one of the few years I have gone to Faire more than once in a season. I had the clothing - a wench outfit I bought in the early years of my trips to the Renn. But I had no hat, and almost no money for one, because I bought a fancy tall hat for our last trip to the Renn more than a week ago.

So, I did what any cheapskate person with a knack for creativity does. I made a hat out of one I already had at my disposal! First, I wrangled an old, flat-crowned straw hat out of my mother. Sucker had a scary-looking multicolored sweatband, and the brim was curled up all the way around so that it resembled a chip-and-dip set. Yikes!

Then I did some hunting around for tricorne hat designs, and lots of watching of the three "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies (Oh, so painful and all, having to watch Orlando Bloom kiss Kiera Knightley's knee like that. Flutter!).

I re-blocked (reshaped) the hat crown by wetting it with warm water and stuffing it with wet paper towels, then squashed it down onto an upturned bowl of the appropriate size to mold it as it dried. Good thing I did that first, because I think the sweatband was glued as well as stitched, so the water helped loosen the glue.

Once it was shaped and dried, I removed the old sweatband. I then sewed on a new maroon sweatband to match my clothing, and used black seam binding around the brim. I then spent some cash on feathers to decorate it, and sewed the brim up into a tricorne, using buttons I already had on hand.

The result, as you can see, is a (mostly) proper pirate wench's hat, and I discovered afterward that using straw or seagrass for these is pretty common - though not as popular as wool or leather. The crown's a bit high, but I love the result. Can't wait to show it off at the Faire!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome idea! I wouldn't have thought of reshaping the hat like that, very clever :) So will you post pics of your whole costume after the event?? Love to see them