what else can you wear with a houppeland besides, say, a chaperon?
hat like the one shown in the Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of
Urbino (1465-66 by Piero della Francesca), (left) for one.
ones also appear in (middle) this detail of The
Gonzaga Family and Retinue (1465-74 by Andrea Mantegna -
Fresco - Palazzo Ducale, Camera degli Sposi (Bridal Chamber), Mantua,
On the right is a portrait of Ludovico Gonzaga II,
also from a fresco by Mantegna.
See also this site -
degli Sposi: mostra di Andrea Mantegna al castello di San Giorgio -
Mantova - for a few more portraits with
hats like this.
One showed up in the 2004 movie of The
Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino, on the head of the
Duke during the trial scene. The hat, I mean, not Al Pacino.
I like about it is that there is no modern hat with
that silhouette, so it stands out in a crowd. Even the Royal
seaman's hats have a sharper ridge at the top, and you certainly don't
see them solid red.
Alas, they are no longer as
common in the shops as they
evidently once were. You can buy something like it sewn together in
woven wool, but the one's I've seen
have only the single ridge, and they look somewhat floppy. Even if you
lined it with interfacing or buckram to stiffen it, it would still not
look right because the flare would be missing. None of the local stores
had one (more fools they), so I determined
to construct my own. I was inspired to attempt it only after
seen this costuming site - A Felt Hat Using Standard Fabric Store Felt.
Good enough for a "ten-foot rule" hat.
As mentioned above, one peculiarity of this hat is
that they have two
rounded ridges around the top of the crown. There are similar ones with
(apparently) only one ridge. I have no idea if the number of ridges is
significant. The only documentation I've found (other than portraits)
is this excerpt from The Book of Costume Vol. I, by Millia Davenport
high flattop hat seen
elders of the Gonzaga and Montfeltro [sic], and is sometimes called the
... which was
provided by my good friend the Lord D'unstable Peregrinator. That book
is also where I got the name from. Unless any other name for it steps
forward with a better claim, that's what I'll be calling it.
decided that the double-ridge would be easier to construct, because the
single-ridge versions appear (?) to be formed from a single piece of
and I didn't think it would be very easy for a beginner to wrestle felt
into such a complex shape - one that is flat on top, and then smoothly
constricts into a cylinder that is narrower than the top ridge. The
double-ridged version, on the other hand, appears to have a separate
top that is joined in a sharp crease or hidden seam of some sort.
Essentially, it could be like a frisbee stitched to the top of
a cylinder that flares out and then in again.
top was the first section I tackled.
borders are clickable,
and will open a larger
image in a new
actually got this far over two years ago, intending to have it ready
for Twelfth Night. I forget exactly why I left it unfinished for so
I cut out a single layer of felt in a circle, wet it,
and wrapped it around a hoop made from a length of 1/2" diameter
polyethylene tubing ("food grade", according to the label at the
hardware store). This is not the same stuff as that transparent aquarium
air hose. It's flexible enough to bend this much, and still have a
fairly rigid form. I carved out a little wooden plug, about 1/2" long,
or maybe a bit less, to join the two ends together in a smooth arc. The
plug kept it from forming a teardrop shape.
a needle and some black thread back and forth through the edge of the
circle and drew it tight to pull the edge towards the middle.
brushed the undiluted white glue on the outside fairly liberally, but
not right up to the edge of the felt, with the notion that I'd be
wanting to sew it to the lower section. I'm not sure (now) that I
shouldn't have applied the glue right up to the edge. (More on this
I allowed it to dry overnight, right side up,
with the threads resting on top of a bowl or something, in order to
keep the rim from touching anything.
|Molding the inner layer of the lower section, shown here upside down. (Details of the molding form later.)|
brought the two ends of the band of felt together, as if to fold
it, and whipstitched them together with matching thread. I opened it up
into a cylinder, and flattened the seam so that the ends were
butt-joined, with no overlap. It took a few experiments with some felt
scraps to see how close I could get to the edge without having it shred
apart when I flattened it out and pulled it.
I soaked the felt
in water, and squeezed out the excess water, then pulled it over the
form, with more-or-less the same amount of extra felt around the top
and bottom. (to be continued)
more stuff goes here, once I edit the images.]
This is before I glued
the second layer of felt on. I just wanted to see how it fit (pretty
good) and to see if it was coming out at all like it was supposed to
The top part is not attached yet. I just
stuck it on there for the photo.
You can see the
whitish cast from the glue, as well as lots of wrinkles in the
underside of the top part.
stuff goes here]
it at East Kingdom Crown Tourney, April 26, A.S. XLII.|
the top section looks a bit off-centre, which I'll have to correct when
I attach it permanently.
Hew's Medieval Stuff
< No Hat Upon His