January 10, 2008

Finishing the Homburg hat – Final details!!

Finished Homburg... yipeee!

The Homburg hat is finished, pfiuuu! I cannot believe it, I’ve been dragging this project for weeks (months?).

The inside sweatband is in. I pinned it in place, marked with a pin where it should join a the back, took it out and sew that bit by machine. The sweatband itself (grosgrain) has been slip stitched in place (well, more of a stab-slip stitch because the felt is too thick to do a real slip stitch and I didn’t want the stitches to show) .

For the outside I’ve used a wide grosgrain ribbon, same color as the edge and the inside band. I’ve curved it with the iron (spraying first some water on it), and it has required some adjustments to get the right curvature so that the ribbon sits perfectly flat on the felt. Where the ends meet I’ve stitched by hand but before that and to avoid unraveling I’ve machine stitched a few millimeters from the edge on both sides (it also has helped to keep the fold in place).

Hand stitched sideband, bow will go on top. Click to enlarge.After that, it was time for the bow. I’ve done some research, and in these pictures (click on the picture to enlarge) you can see different bows from Stetson hats (taken from this wonderful book).

As you can see from these close-ups the bow itself is not really a bow (a real bow would have three thicknesses plus the thickness of the ribbon underneath. These bows are made with a single layer of ribbon, ends tucked under half a centimeter. The knot of the bow is also made separately. The whole thing looks surprisingly professional in the end, but a real bow would have been too bulky.

Click to enlarge - frm the Stetson book of Schiffer PublishingI find it quite peculiar that the fold of the bow goes towards the underside, but I think it’s done like that for a practical reason, because otherwise dust would gather there very quickly.

I have chosen a folded central knot because I think it looks much nicer.

What I have not done is iron any of these because it would have taken the fluffyness and natural look away. When stitching every end the whole thing stays very much in place.

Here are pictures of my bow (click on pictures to enlarge):

Underside of bow, tucked edges, click to enlargeThis will be the knot - do not iron! - click to enlargeThis is the knot sewed on the back

Back of the bow ready to be sewed onto hatBow pinned on hat ready of hand stitching (stab stitch)Finished bow1

Have you see the wonderful initial? I got that one from Nina, she has a wonderful stash of vintage initial letters and I think it’s a wonderful final touch!

Vintage metal initials for man's hatsHere is a bunch of initials, so you can get an idea how they work. Basically you just push them through the ribbon and fold the metal edges (quite soft).

You can take a look at all the pictures related to the making of the hat by clicking on this link.

You can take a look at all the pictures related to the making of the cork blocks that were used in making the hat, and the making of the hat itself by clicking on this link.

Thank you everyone for your support! I hope to post pictures of Peter with his hat on soon!


  1. Ah, a bittersweet moment. Wonderful you have finished, but now we have come to the end of the tail. Wait! not yet, Hat being worn and enjoyed by Peter will be the finalle. Thanks so much for sharing the entire process, have very much enjoyed the journey with you.

    Comment by Glorious Hats — January 10, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

  2. I always make the bows folded upside, just like optimism looking up, forward, etc… I never thought about dust, you can brush it away!?

    Comment by nina pawlowsky — January 19, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  3. Well, I didn’t give much thought to the folding of the bow, I was just curious why on almost every picture of period hats the fold goes downwards and I could only come up with the dust theory… Nina, I know you’re “the man” concerning bows, and you had explained everything to me and I just forgot it all (sawdust inside my head instead of braincells)… so I tried to manage on my own. I know for a fact that your bows are more elaborate and they have two layers of cut grosgrain, but I guess I was too lazy for that! But it doesn’t look to bad does it?

    Comment by cristinadeprada — January 22, 2008 @ 9:34 am

  4. do you wear to purchase these initials.ty Andrew

    Comment by Andrew — October 29, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

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