I was recently asked by a friend to describe how I had made one of the first Steuchlein’s I ever attempted. I make no bones about the fact that this is *not* a historically correct version – although the end results are nice looking.
What you will need:
Get a large, plastic coffee tin lid. The old fashioned Yuban or Folgers type. This need to be clear/white in color. I know more modern Folger’s lids are red… You can also use a smaller macramé hoop (metal ring).
Heavy weight buckram; about 1/2 yard.
Batting or rope roving (see below for description of use to get an idea of how much you might want)
Linen fabric (see note for batting above)
Silk/light weight veil fabric (see note for linen above)
Historical pins; I recommend between 8 - 20 depending on your budget (available at a number of online retailers)
Here are the basics:
Using the lid/ring as base, build a buckram ‘flower pot’; the lid should be the smallest point, with the buckram flaring out from that size to a size that will fit your head (behind your ears). You can cut the buckram so that it fits around your ears more easily once your basic shape is done. The angle that you cut it at will determine where the ‘crown’ of your hat sits (bigger and higher up in earlier period, smaller and more toward the back of the head is later period).
At the front peak of the flowerpot (the point where it rests on the top of your head) sew in a haircomb. This will keep the whole thing in place.
Once your flowerpot is done, use batting (or ‘rope roving’ – the sort of batting that comes in a coil) to pad the area around the base of your flowerpot (nearest to the lid/hoop) to whatever size you want; again bigger = earlier, smaller = later.
Now, you will want to find some pretty linen fabric (maybe with a woven in pattern of some sort). Make sure you have at least one layer of linen that is thick enough to use as a base that will conceal the support structure you have built. You will drape this fabric over the flowerpot, making sure to leave enough overlapping the front edge to cover your forehead. I usually start out with a square of linen that is my head measurement + 6” wide and my center forehead, back over the top of the flowerpot to the base of my neck + 6” long.
To begin draping, I recommend that you pin this fabric in place at approximately the same spot that you put the hair comb (don’t forget to leave the extra draped for covering your forehead!). Once this is secured, begin making pleats over the ‘base’ of your flowerpot. These can be arranged in a number of ways, but should gather the fabric in to the base of your neck.
Try the hat on. If the fabric is arranged to your liking, you are ready to sew it into place. If not, play with it until you like the way it looks.
Once the fabric is draped (and remember, you may be doing more than one layer if your ‘pretty linen’ needs a heavier underlayer in order to cover your hats framework) hand-sew your pleats in place. You should do this so that there are a minimum of stitches showing on the outer layer of the hat. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, I recommend sewing on the underside of your pleats, securing them to your batting layer.
Once this is done, you can make the extra gathered fabric at the base of your nape neater by cutting away any excess, and then covering the cut ends with a rectangular ‘pouch’ of the same fabric. You see this sort of rectangle on the backside of a number of these hats.
Finally, get yourself some very light (silk?) veil fabric. Cut and hem this to about the same size as your linen layers (maybe a skosh bigger). I recommend not sewing this layer on, but instead using tiny brass pins (as were used in the period) to secure it and it’s pleating to your hat.
Out of sense of fair warning, I must say that the disadvantage of this style are:
1) It is not easy to clean, and you will end up with ‘ring around the forehead’. You could solve this with an internal layer that you can take off to launder more easily;
2) This version does not have a lot of ‘squish’ factor without doing some permanent damage to the hat. You may want a hatbox for storage, and wearing a Tellerbarret (pizza hat) over this version would be difficult in a larger size.
The results will probably look something like this (dont' judge, it was my first German outfit...*chuckle*):