I know I was! I started looking at reenactment sites and the like to find out what soldiers of the 19th century were wearing. One of the hats that I thought had great steampunk potential was the foraging cap as used during the US Civil War. There are replicas available online, though they tend to be expensive, and I had trouble sourcing one in "steampunk-friendly brown" (yes, that is an official color).
So I went looking for patterns to make my own. I had no luck finding any. I thought that perhaps I could perhaps find a pattern for another type of hat and adapt it, but as it turns out, hats are surprisingly complicated things, and at this point I had never even touched a sewing machine in my life!
So I started mulling it over in my mind.. how hard could it be? They're little more than baseball caps, how complic... hang on!! Baseball caps! Of course! I can just cheat and modify one of those instead! Here goes!
Step 1: Supplies & Tools Needed
- The cheapest baseball cap you can find. You'll be cutting into it and sewing cloth onto it, so it doesn't have to be fancy at all! Just make sure it fits and you'll be fine!
- Cloth in the color and material of your choosing. This cap was meant as a prototype so I just used some scrap material. You really don't need much. A piece of 18x32 inches will give you plenty of material to work with..
- Some thick paper or thin carboard for the top. I used the side of a juice box.
- Some sheets of paper to make a rough pattern.
- Spray paint (optional)
I also used the following tools:
- A pen
- Tape measure
- Some tape
- Sewing machine
Step 2: Modifying the Baseball Cap
Depending on the color of your 'donor-cap', you might have to paint your visor. Mine came in green. I prefered black, so I simply spray painted it the right color.
Step 3: Top of the Cap
Cut out the circle, then cover it with a thin layer of glue. I used ordinary paper glue for this. Be careful at this point you don't use too much glue, as it could soak through the cloth and stain it!
When the glue is applied, cover the circle with cloth. Use a piece slightly bigger than the circle you cut. Give the glue some time to dry, then trim the excess cloth.
Step 4: Making the Sides
You pretty much need three measurements:
1.) The circumference of your cap while wearing it.
2.) The circumference of the top part.
3.) How tall you want your hat to be. (Mind you, it will slope forward - too short, and it will look more like a kepi. Too tall, and it'll bounce all over the place, looking quite silly)
Write down these measurements, then tape some sheets of paper together to make your pattern.
Fold the sheets in half so you'll only have to draw one half of the pattern.
On the fold, mark out the distance you would like to be the height of your hat by placing two dots. For example: if you would like your hat to be 12 inches tall, space them 12 inches apart.
Now from the dot at the top, mark out the circumference of the top (divided by two, of course - your pattern is already doubled up)
From the dot at the bottom, do the same for the circumference of the cap (again, divide this number by two)
Connect the dots, now allow half an inch or so for seems when you cut it out.
When you fould it open, you're left with a paper trapezoid. This is the pattern you'll use for the body of your cap.
Next, use this pattern to cut out the body. Fold over the cloth and sew it at the seems to stop it from fraying. You can test fit it by holding the pieces together by hand and see if they more-or-less fit. I had to redo some of my sewing to make adjustments. As I said earlier: you probably have to make some stuff up as you go alomg to make everything work together nicely.
Step 5: Adding the Body to the Top
Step 6: Adding It All Together
Once you trimmed it to the correct length, simply sew the body to the base of your baseball cap. The material is prety thick at this point and some sewing machines might struggle a bit at this point. Mine did, and since I was trying to rush it at this point, it didn't come out as nice as I had hoped. So: take your time, move at a slow but steady pace, and chances are yours will end up looking much nicer than my quickie prototype!
Step 7: Wearing It And.. Profit??
I hope you enjoyed this quick instructable. It was my first ever! If you decide to make your own, please do post a picture or two, as I'd love to see it!