Costume and Graphic Design

Steampunk-Loli-Loki: Tophat

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Headgear seems to be my theme lately! It is probably because headpieces are easily interchangeable, and can drastically alter the look of a costume. So, here we are today to talk about my mini tophat for the Steampunk/Lolita/Loki for the end of July photoshoot.

Summer gets hot here. We have seen 30+ degrees Celsius for days at a time this year. That, and the humidity brought on by the threat of thunderstorms most nights make for very muggy, very hot days. Point being, I don’t want to be under layers of heavy fabric, foam, leather, more foam, more fabric, and on top of all that, a stuffy, tight, sweaty helmet.

I have become known in our Steampunk group as Lady Loki. Even out of garb, I am still often referred to by that moniker. Even my Steampunk Sailor Mars has drifted from memory this last year. And I don’t really have many decent pics yet of my Loki work, so I want to change things up a bit! Mars can stay in my closet a little while longer!

How can I make Loki more comfortable in hot summer weather? Loli it up! Lolita style, even though it consists of layers of lace, tulle, and other frilly fluffy things, can be made from lighter weight fabrics.

With the Loli-Loki idea firmly entrenched in my mind, I began looking for headgear. I wanted something that could be de-Loki’d for other purposes. A lovely brown hat caught my eye at the thrift store. The smooth feminine lines, the classic style, it was a beautiful find! $7? Take my money! Once I started working on this found treasure, I came to realize that it was not a Loki hat. It was too feminine… too beautiful and pretty. Loki should have a fierceness about her. She can be incredibly feminine, but she must have a harder edge to her. Cover her in lace, but cinch that corset tight. The hat, while gorgeous, will go back to the closet for another outfit.

Mini tophat? Why not?

I blocked out a tophat pattern in paper first. I wanted the front to be pointed, so I drew a teardrop shape that would be the top of the hat, an oval for the brim, and a long piece that would serve as the sides.

Using the paper template, I taped them together and made adjustments as necessary to the shapes and sizes. I originally made it quite large, and had to scale it back a little. Once I had the shape figured out, I could use these pieces to cut the interfacing.

Hat pattern

I dug through the interfacing section of the fabric store until I found the heaviest they had. It is quite thick, about 1/8 inch. This would be thick enough to stand up, but light enough that I wouldn’t feel like I had a brick on my head.

hat half way

I glued the side wrapped around the top flat with hot glue. No brim yet. Using the same pattern pieces, I cut the fashion fabric. There were leftover pieces from the cape and jacket. The jacket material went on the outside, and the lighter green cape material served for a lining. Sewing each of these into a sleeve, I inserted the rigid hat form into the outer fabric cover, and glued the lining to the inside.

hat lined

For the brim, I cut the large circle out of the fabric, but not the hole in the middle. I stitched most of the way around, forming a bag, which I turned right side out while a small section remained open. Once the brim was fitted into place, I handstitched the last couple of inches. Turning my needle to the center hole, I basted around it so the fabric was snug all the way around. This would hold it in place while I cut the fabric from the center hole. I now I have fabric covered donut. (sorry for the lack of photo of this step. I was getting excited about my hat, and didn’t grab the camera! I plan on making more of these, and will try to remember next time.)

Inserting the top of the hat into the donut of a brim, I glued it into place. This leaves the raw edges of the fabric hanging free inside the hat. Using some bias tape, I covered these up and tacked the tap up inside. If this were a larger hat that fit around the head, you would use some soft tape of some variety to hide the raw edges, and it would become the hatband on the inside. This might be seen as a comfort factor for most people, but what it actual does is hide the raw edges where the top and bottom of the hat come together. Something I did not know until I made a tophat for my husband’s Mad-Hatter a few years ago.

Using a bit of twill tape, I fixed the ends to either side of the hole, forming a strap. This strap can be attached to hair clips which will hold the hat to my head. Yay!

hat on head

So, the hat is now complete in the most base sense. But it needs decoration!

hat decorated

I decided that the brim was too flat. It should follow the angles formed with the front peak of the hat itself. If I had thought of this earlier, I could have stitched a wire inside the seam of the fashion fabric, keeping it hidden but allowing me to shape the brim to my desire. Instead of picking it apart, I think I will use a heavier brass wire that matched the brass/gold trims on the rest of the costume. My hope is to give it a purposeful look, instead of the appearance of an afterthought.

Using some of the same green fabric from the lining, I wrapped it around the base to hide the join, and added a decorative buckle and some feathers. I am trying to figure out a way to incorporate the World Serpent into there somewhere. We will see how that goes. For now, I have a hat that I would be proud to wear for the photoshoot later this month.


Author: DizineGrl

Designer, Creator, Cat Lady, Builder of Cool Things, Dancer, Lover of Music.

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