I made this headdress to go with my Queen Elizabeth costume when I went to Costume Con 26 in San Jose in 2008. When I originally made this costume for the Queen Elizabeth and the Pirate dinner I didn't have time to make a really nice head piece.
I hand drafted the pattern after looking at a bunch of photos on the web. I hope this helps you put together your own creation. I haven't made a lot of hats and while this did take me some time because I had to learn as I went, it was suprisingly easy after all was said and done.
I found this great photo of Helen Mirren as Elizabeth from the HBO special. I took some newspaper and drafted out a pattern and then played with it on a wig head until it seemed correct. I was wearing this over a wig but even without a wig it fit nice and snug on my head
Print out these patterns, they are in pdf format and should print out actual size. Cut out the patterns in newspaper first so they are one complete piece (the pdfs are made so you can cut out on a folded newspaper so they would fit on 8.5x11 paper). Once you've got the pattern pieces you can cut out your buckram and fashion fabric (the fabric will cover your buckram frame you will make). Click here for the Headpiece (or brim) pattern Click here for the Crown pattern.
Cut our Your Buckram and Sew Together
Lay your patterns out on the buckram and cut out with sharp scissors. You don't need to worry about grain line on the buckram.
Start with the Headpiece (or Brim). Use a large needle and heavy thread like carpet thread. Close the dart and sew it together---this allows the brim headpiece to curve a bit so it will fit nicely over the top of your head.
Now take the Crown: In order to attach the brim to the crown you'll need to cut little snips up to the dotted lines shown on the pattern piece illustration to the right.. The snips are about 1/2 inch. When you bend the little "tabs" up you'll be able to slide them under the Brim and sew them down. I worked with both pieces on my head dummy to test the fit. Once you get the correct fit you will use your needle and heavy thread the sew them together. It feels clumsy at first but you'll get the hang of it.
Now take the hat wire (or jewelry wire) and begin to sew it all the way around the of the headpiece brim and crown of your entire buckram frame using a whip-stitch--this means putting the wire right to the edge of the buckram and sewing around it with the whipstitch (see drawing below). This give it nice stability and allows you to manipulate the headpiece so it fits nicely to your head. You can do this with a sewing machine and a wide zig-zag stitch but do this carefully and wear protective safety glasses!
Since I wanted to create a dramatic crown of pearls around the top I sewed (whip-stitched) my wires into the buckram before I covered it with my fashion fabric (see photo below). You can sort-of see the whip-stitching I did around the front edge of brim to hold the wire in place. Now you're ready to cover with your fabric.
Cut Out Your Fashion Fabric Covering
Using my patterns I cut out two of the brim and two of the crown patterns out of my fashion fabric adding a 5/8" border so I could sew it together. Be sure to sew the dart on your headpiece (brim) fashion fabric as well. I cut out my pieces across the grain so I could use the bias to help manipulate the fabric.
Note: some people put a layer of soft felt under the fashion fabric to give a very soft, smooth finish but since I was using a heavy velveteen I skipped this step. if you use a thin fabric (like satin or silk) you will need to cover the frame in felt first. Two photos below show cutting out the fabric leaving a 5/8" border around each piece.
Sew Your Fabric Together
Sew the Headpiece brim Fabric together. I used a sewing machine to sew the front of brim together (put right sides together and sewed with a 5/8" seam). Clip the seams, turn right side out and carefully steam or press and then set aside for now.
Snip 1/2" (up to the dotted linen on the pattern) cuts around the bottom of the Crown fabric as you did the with buckram. Lay both pieces of the fashion fabric over the buckram Crown piece, folding under the seam allowance at the top and then the bottom of the crown. Because I have those wire sticking up I had to sew the fabric together at the top by hand with a slip stitch. This will be covered by lots of trim so don't worry too much if it doesn't look perfect.
Now slip the Headpiece brim fabric over the Headpiece brim buckram, covering and hiding the snipped bottom portion of the Crown fabric. I used fabric glue to attach them since I knew I was going to cover all this with trim. You can choose to sew this if you like but glue works for me. See the photo below.
Now I started playing with all my trims since I only had a vague idea what I was going to do. This is the really fun part! I used glue to secure all my trim down. I added lots of trim pieces, added some beading and pink swaroski crystals. You can let your imagination run wild. See the following photos for inspiration.
I used glue to secure all the beading on the long wires so they wouldn't spin around. In order to secure it to my head (or really my wig)I put little loops of ribbon on the end pieces near my ears so I could use bobby pins to secure it. Voila---a headdress! More photos below of the finished headress.
Here I am wearing the crown.
Hope you enjoyed this and found it useful.
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