Holly Taylor
South Australia

I really enjoy making garb-related accessories, because they provide such impact for an outfit, and are usually relatively fast to make (well, compared to gowns, anyway!) So when the headwear mini-challenge was announced, I was very pleased. I decided to make a padded roll style hat to go with my earlier Italian gowns. I have a balzo, but it is quite big and heavy, so I thought a padded roll would be better for warmer weather.

I found the image on the left on Pinterest. Unfortunately, I couldn't trace the source of the image. The hat is blue with white beads.

The images below are from an un-referenced Italian painting (pages 110-11 in 'What Life Was Like At The Rebirth of Genius", Time Life Books. ISBN: 0-7835-5461-3.) A similar style of padded roll can be seen in some Spanish paintings at around 1500 C.E.


This is the type of headwear I wanted to make.

I found a damask table runner on special for $2, and decided that this would be the basis of my hat. I trimmed it to a rectangle in a size to fit my head, and sewed it into a tube. I then turned the fabric right side out and stuffed it with Polyfill. In period, stuffing options would probably have included down, bombast, sawdust, wool or rags/fabric off-cuts. I like the Polyfill because it is light, cheap and easy to obtain.

I joined the ends of the tube together, adjusting the Polyfill inside as I went, and adding a little more near the end. A big knitting needle is a great tool for this step.


When the roll was sewn up, it needed to be rolled around and adjusted to improve the shape.

I  found that I hadn't made it quite big enough for my head, so I stretched it for a few days on a bucket.

I roughly measured and chalked where I wanted the lines of beads to go, and then started stringing. I used 4mm glass seed beads in white on a double strand of strong thread. I anchored one end of the thread, put all the beads on my string, and then sewed the other end into place. Then I came back through the centres of the beads with my thread again, anchoring it down with a stitch where I started. Then I went through and secured the main thread down between all the beads with a small stitch. I didn't extend the lines of beads all the way around because I find that my hair tends to catch and pull on beads. 


The next step was to add the beads in the centre of the lines. I decided on three lots in each space, and three beads in each motif. I sewed each bead into place individually. 

The hat is very comfortable. If I did this project again, I would pay more attention to where the seam of the fabric was, as I found that it moved around as I was manipulating the roll, and is not even all the way around.




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.