I made this for
it's my first attempt at a hat. She's a painter, so I thought I'd go with a kind of napoleonic military shako look, combined with painterly odds and ends. I made the pattern out of cardboard so I could experiment, then cut and assembled the final version out of heavy leather. The interior of the hat (sewed in around the bottom) consists of a felt "inner hat" that supports the weight of the hat on the wearer's head - otherwise it drops down and crushes the ears. It's a bit big on Melissa but it fits Foxfires just fine. To keep with the sort of military look, I made paint-tube loops on one side, and a brush-holder on the other, then followed it up with a little collar/shoulder thingie. There are neodymium magnets hidden behind the leather in the shoulder thingie and in the front of the hat - you can attach a badge (or just about anything else) magnetically! To finish it I stained it with leather dye and hit it with several coats of butcher's wax.
The straps in the front, over the visor, are an adjustable chin-strap that buttons on and off. When I was designing this I looked at a lot of napoleonic military hats and realized that the chin-straps were pretty crucial for battlefield service - those chin-straps have evolved into the silver/gold braid that you still see on police or military peaked caps. So, in the process of making this hat I learned a bit about the history of military headgear (quite a bit, actually) and had a lot of fun.
I'm currently designing a leather "cruiser" hat for a violin-playing computer security expert that I know. Because he's a certified paranoid (like me!) I'm making his hat lined with lead foil.
I do not plan to get into the hat-making business, but it's a fun diversion!
Model is Melissa Troutt. That jacket she's wearing underneath is an 1850s Gurkha Rifles' Lieutenant's tunic.