Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mad as a Hatter!

If you remember your Lewis Carrol, you know that March hares are as mad as hatters. So here's a hat post, in honor of the last day of March.

I've been working on the pattern for the English gable hood. That's the goofy one that looks like this:

The Gable hood is a surprisingly complex bit of engineering. If you make a simple "roof" shape, the thing looks like a cardboard box sitting on your head. The trick is to cut the frontlet, the border part around the face, with a wider angle than the back piece, so that it flares in the front. But if you cut the frontlet too wide, the whole thing wants to twist and looks terrible. The only way to get this right is to experiment a lot.

One of the things I like best about working with CAD software is that it's so easy to scale drawings. Rather than make full sized mockups, I scale the pattern pieces down to 1/3 size and print them out on card stock. Then I tape them together to test the patterns. This works best for things that are going to be stiff when finished, such as hats.

This has come in handy with all the iterations of the Gable hood I've made. Every little change of angle affects something else, resulting in many trial versions. Here are some of them:

After futzing with them all day, and littering a 20 foot blast radius around my desk with schnibbles of card stock, I think I'm satisfied with this one:

And that's just the undercap. There's still a box piece that fits on the back, the lappets, and two different veil styles. And of course, they need to be embroidered and jeweled.

If that's too much trouble, you could always go with the Margo's Patterns Deluxe Super Presto Easy Version:

What can I say, things get a little punchy around here when we're working hard. I'm not alone in this. Here's our General Manager, Doug, in what he says is a Tudor Baseball Cap:

Happy Springtime!


  1. I love it all! And Doug, that baseball cap suits you well. {g}

  2. I loved this post! I focus especially on gabled hoods with my tudor attire. I must commend you on your detailed exploration. There are lot of options and subtlety with wearing this headdress. I have had the same discoveries that you had while drafting and executing patterns. If you want to see how mine turned out check out my photos on my myspace. www.myspace.com/maureen_mairin