Fiona Cousins
Western Australia

There is always room for another project amongst all the unfinished ones, so yep I jumped right on in. My focus for this year is to make things to give to others, partly to honour the memory of a very generous lady and also to give me a challenge to make things that aren't for me. I have enough already and it is more fun to give presents.

So with this in mind, I chose this gorgeous 1510's man-hat. I just love it, love this painting, there is so much to see and the young man shows the viewer that Italian men were seriously manly and incredibly well dressed.

I decided to go with black wool with red wool for the appliqué, as I didn't have any grey and there is many red hats in Italian portraits that I didn't think it was too much of a leap. I looked at many hat styles from around this time and learnt something: there was great deal of variety from berets to beanie styles to flat caps and this style which I call the 'renaissance bucket hat'. I'm sure it has a very nice Italian name but RBH is what I have called it.

Pattern-wise I decided to draft a circle top with a rectangle side. I used my husband as a pattern (as he wears a big hat size) to work out a circle diameter and the rectangle length and width. I fossicked through my saucepan lid drawer and used one with the right diameter to draw the circle. Easiest circles ever.

I wanted to hand stitch this beauty so off I went, stitching the rectangle together and then to the crown using backstitch as small as I could without breaking out the magnifying glass. Backstitching was also used to stitch down the seam allowances to make it sit nice.


To pattern the brim I used the same rectangle but used a slash-and-spread method to add just a little bit of flare, this would allow it to sit nicely around the main hat body and still flare a little bit, the portrait hints at a wider brim top to me.

Before stitching the brim I decided it would be easier to attach the appliqué pieces. The portrait kind of looks a bit furry to me but I figured, meh, red wool will work.

Working out the pattern wasn't as easy as I first thought, I had many attempts before I settled on the final sized pieces. I used a bit of ratio maths to scale up the dimensions on the portrait to fit evenly around my brim, yay for loads of graph paper!

Turning under the Melton wool pieces was a giant pain in the bottom. I ended up tacking them down and for the triangles using a bit of craft glue to keep the points pointy. I'm not a quilter/appliqué crafter so I found this a hideous task!

Finally, to attach the appliqué I used a bit of glue stick and hair clips to keep the pieces in place, and then stitched them down using an invisible hem stitch. I deliberately cut the back brim shorter than the appliqué side to help reduce the bulk from 3 layers of Melton wool. Although I started this project nice and early and have been making steady progress as per usual I realised that time was getting away from me and so had to resort to machine stitching. (gasp!)


Some thin silk lining and yippee the geometric bucket hat! Nice and soft, comfy and striking, everything that a well dressed renaissance hipster will need.

This hat will be sent to Rowany Festival with my other items as part of my contribution to the fighters prize table, so I hope its new owner will enjoy standing out!




© 2001 - 2015 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.