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Message Board > Creative Sewing > bearskin hats ( Moderated by Lynnelle)

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bearskin hats
how would I make one?
shanntarra
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shanntarra
Expert/Couture
TX USA
Member since 3/19/09
Posts: 735
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Date: 3/10/10 11:14 AM

I need to make 2 18" tall faux black bearskin hats for the play I'm doing. Wiki to what I'm trying to do.

I am trying to figure out the pattern shapes used. Since they don't have to be percect (IE only in 2 scenes) I was going to use a hidden plastic canvas under frame to help hold them up, but I'm not sure what shape to make the fur pieces.

Help!

------
"Costume Tech's are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated except to those designers, actors, directors, playwrights, and other theater artists who depend on them." - The Costume Technicians Handbook

Marilly
Marilly
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OR USA
Member since 7/9/06
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In reply to shanntarra


Date: 3/10/10 4:21 PM

To me it looks like it'd be very similar to a purse pattern.

mmmckay

mmmckay
Intermediate
UT USA
Member since 7/24/08
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Date: 3/10/10 4:48 PM

I'm assuming you want the British version? Wikipedia notes that 6 countries use them, and in that first photo of Danish troops, the hats look like a different shape.

Here is a photo of just the hat, in the national army museum in England. It looks to me like just a cylinder with a flat top; the rounded shape must come from the fur itself. If you need to make them look more rounded, you could do a cylinder for the sides and a rounded hat crown shape for the top - triangles with curved sides, like a beach ball. or for even more roundness, on the sides, you can join some rectangles that have a little bulge in the middle; but maybe that's overkill for your needs. The size is a big part of the look - they need to come down pretty low, like a helmet rather than a top hat. And the chin strap, of course.

shanntarra
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shanntarra
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Date: 3/10/10 5:54 PM

They are just supose to be rather pompus miltary-ish figures in the late 1890's. They are wanting to look very grandious and cerimonial. Also very comical. One of the guys is described in the script as "a reject from soho for flamboyant-ness"

------
"Costume Tech's are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated except to those designers, actors, directors, playwrights, and other theater artists who depend on them." - The Costume Technicians Handbook

Michelle T

Michelle T
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BC CANADA
Member since 8/24/02
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In reply to shanntarra


Date: 3/10/10 6:15 PM

Being that Soho is part of London, you will be wanting a Hat like those worn by the Palace guards at Buckingham Palace.

Palace Guards

The hat is a bit shorter in front and has a red thing (looks like a big patch of fluff) on the right side.

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LouisaP
LouisaP
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MN USA
Member since 2/27/07
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Date: 3/11/10 9:07 AM

Peltex 72 (the kind that's fusible on both sides) might be an option for providing support on the inside.

I'd try making an cylinder out of the Peltex (fusing a circle for the top and a rectangle for the sides to a lining fabric) and then making a very slightly larger cylinder out of the bear fur.

Shape the bottom edge of the Peltex cylinder to fit the actor's face the way you want it to look.

Slide the fur cylinder over the Peltex, and trim the bottom of the fur piece to match the Peltex shape.

Use a seam binding that matches the fur color to bind the bottom edges together, and then add the chin strap.

If the fur is really heavy, you could baste a piece of plastic canvas onto the sides of the Peltex cylinder for rigidity (so that the canvas sits between the fur and the Peltex).

Good luck!

shanntarra
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shanntarra
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Date: 3/11/10 9:47 AM

The guy is actually from bohemia but it is the style of hat that the director wants. Considering the antics he has to do on stage I may or maynot do the chin strap.
Thank you for the advice

------
"Costume Tech's are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated except to those designers, actors, directors, playwrights, and other theater artists who depend on them." - The Costume Technicians Handbook

yorkshire lass
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yorkshire lass
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UNITED KINGDOM
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Date: 3/11/10 10:08 AM

Shantarra

I have just asked someone who is in one of the regiments which wears Bearskins, roughly how they are constructed. The frame, which differs in height according to rank (an officer would have one about eighteen inches high approximately), is wicker and is shaped with a curve at the top of it. There is a band on the bottom of it, where it goes on the head, and this has a cord through it which can be drawn tight and tucked in to hold the heavy hat still on the head. The fur is fitted on as a cover over the top of that. Its curved at the top, both frame and cover, sort of domed. I am seeing in my mind a sort of miniature cane/wicker plant support, with the band on the bottom. Perhaps a strip which has darts cut out of it where the domed part is going to be? The darts might perhaps be sewn as a butted seam (if that would be strong enough) and hopefully the fur pile would cover up the seams. If necesary, perhaps a small circular inset at the top where the darts meet so that it doesn't go up in a point. Sadly, the guy I asked wasn't able to say quite how they were made though I did ask him.

Officers wear hats made from male bears skins, these have long guard hairs which make the hat look shaggy.

There are hooks on the inside of the wicker frame, and loops at the end of the chin straps. The hat is put on and the cord pulled up, then the chin straps are hooked on.

I cannot advise on the plumes or trims for the hats as this would very much depend on the regiment in terms of colour and what they were made of.

I am not sure just how much this will help you but hopefully it will give you a starting point.

Jenni
-- Edited on 3/11/10 10:15 AM --

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shanntarra
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shanntarra
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TX USA
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Date: 3/11/10 2:34 PM

It does give me a starting point. I thank you for your help. :)

------
"Costume Tech's are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated except to those designers, actors, directors, playwrights, and other theater artists who depend on them." - The Costume Technicians Handbook

Marilly
Marilly
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In reply to yorkshire lass


Date: 3/11/10 4:04 PM

The support framework could be done with 15 gauge wire since I'm guessing cane may not be available. I'd still go with the plastic canvas for the main shaping. Seems more resiliant than peltex IMHO. You can use it for the crown shaping too..lace it together with a tough string. The fun will be finding it in large sheets at Walmart.
If you can make the framework then you can drape on it and use that for your pattern.

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