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How to Make a Steampunk Hat

Submitted by on February 16, 2013 – 7:25 pm
The Head N' Home Stoker is the perfect steampunk hat.

The Head N' Home Stoker is the perfect steampunk hat. It is leather and easily customized. It is even made right here in the USA.

In case you’ve been missing out on some really exciting reads, steampunk is an adventurous┬ásubgenre of science fiction that you should check out. Think of it as retro sci-fi. Most of the novels and graphic novels are set in the Victorian era, though not necessarily in England.

Imagine an 1880s the way the fathers of science fiction Jules Verne and H.G. Wells would have made it. With steam as the prevailing power source, most amazing devices from time machines to zepplins are steam powered. The sci-fi technology might have an infusion of Nikola Tesla. Spring-powered gears, as in clocks, have a bigger role in the genre, too. Mix in a touch of the super natural and/or a dystopia, and you’ve got a strong foundation for any self-respecting steampunk story.

Remember the old TV show “Wild, Wild West.” That was steampunk set in the American old west, except there was no such thing as steampunk, yet. It was way ahead of its time. The new “Sherlock Holmes” movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Judd Law have a touch of steampunk style, attitude and invention. If you are looking for a good list of steampunk literature, check out this list from The Library Journal.

When fans get together at conventions, costumes are de rigueur. And no costume is complete without the propper topper.

Most fans, regardless of whether they are men or women,┬áwant either a top hat or bowler. It doesn’t matter if it is leather or fur felt. Pick out a base model that best suits your personality or the character you want to represent. Among the steampunk enthusiasts who visit our store, these are some of our most popular hats based on style and price.

The Wool Felt Derby is our most affortable,┬ácomes in sizes up to XXL and is available in several colors. The Capas Top Hat is also the most affordable, if you don’t want to spend a fortune on something you are going to stitch, glue and redesign. A little more expensive but more stunningly designed are our Mad Hatter top hat and 18th Century top hats. For fans of leather hats, the Head N Home Stoker was made for steampunk fans! Lastly, though the design hasn’t quite caught on with steampunk crowd, homburg hats are from that same period and will likely see some love at conventions soon. If you want to check it out, the Capas Godfather is a great starter for a new steampunk outfit.

The really fun part is customizing your hat. For that you’ll need a hot glue gun, needle, thread, scissors and a lot of patience.

It helps to draw the hat you want to make before starting. Shopping for the accessories might be the most fun part. Explore antique stores for old medallions, brooches and gears from clocks or other machines. Hobby shops still sell cloth and material for making a custom hat band, which is usually stitched into place over an existing one. Sometimes they carry pheasant and peacock feathers. These shops are likely to have brass or other metal studs to festoon upon your hat. Hardware stores can be good sources for the needed supplies, too. The period goggles will be the hardest piece to find, but not all hats require the goggles.

Before you start glueing and stitching, know that these actions will damage your hat and leave visible marks should you ever remove the ornamentations. Your best bet is usually to put on the hat band, if you are custom making one first. If you want to remove the hat’s original hat band, remember it is usually stitched on. Using small, discreet stitches, you will want to sew your new hat band into place to help keep it looking tight and smooth…if that is the look you’re going for. Small, light-weight pieces can be glued on with a hot glue gun.┬á Be sparing with the glue. A little dab will do ya, and becareful not to burn yourself. Taking your time and being patient will pay large dividends when all is said and done.

Once you’ve completed you new hat, send us a photo and we’ll post it right here on the blog!

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