This is the first post in what I hope will be a mini-series focusing on how I came up with some of my favorite hat designs. If there is a particular hat that you would like me to cover just leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page. Let me know why you're interested in that hat in particular and I will likely do a design deep dive of it in the coming weeks!
The first hat I want to look at is one of my favorite designs of all time. It brings together two design elements in such a way that makes the hat completely unique and yet still "witchy" and wicked in a recognizable way. This hat features a side curl and a tattered brim, and these are the two design elements I will be focusing on for this post.
Ever since I made my very first witch hat I have been obsessed with hat tails. That's probably pretty obvious since the tails of my hats are what really sets them apart. But even back in the beginning when I first started making witch and wizard hats with tails I was trying to figure out how to make my hats even more unique. Sometimes that lead to strange side projects where I stuck hat tails all over everything (as I posted about on Facebook last week). Sometimes though those early experiments were simpler and more subtle. Years ago when I had just started taking pictures of my hats I noticed that when I took a picture of the hat straight on the tail looked almost like a fin. You couldn't see the tail's details. I decided I wanted to make my hats look more three-dimensional and interesting, even when looking at the hat straight on. I tried changing the orientation of the tail just a little bit to see what would happen, hoping you would be able to see more of the folds and details no matter what angle you were looking at the hat from. This led to my very first side curl hat.
After making that first side curl hat though it would be years before I tried the design again. One of the reasons it took me years was that I became fixated on simply making the hat tails larger and more detailed in general. Then things just became so busy that, for a time, I didn't really have the time to try anything experimental. But one day a customer contacted me and actually asked for a hat with tail that was a little bit more on the side. I instantly remembered that old experiment from years previous and I was able to incorporate that older design into a brand new hat!
Compared to the side curl the tattered brim design element is much newer. I came up with it only two or three years ago. As I've mentioned in other posts, sometimes I've been a little too focused on the hat tails while the rest of the hat looks pretty ordinary. The tattered brim idea was one of my first attempts to make the rest of my hats as interesting as the tails. It all began with a customer contacting me and asking me how I might make the hat look a little more "lived in" and less pristine without necessary dirtying the hat or making it less structurally sound. I thought about it for a little while and looked at lots of pictures of worn out hats. I then realized that one of the common elements between all those pictures were holes and rips in the brim. From that realization I came up with the tattered brim design.
I was happy with the way it came out, as it really made the hat look ghostly. But I also thought that maybe I needed to tone down the tattering some to make it look a little more naturally distressed and less like it was unraveling. I made a few hats with just a few chunks carefully cut out and a few slits and cuts along the brim. This had the desired effect in that the hat looked more natural. But then I worried that the hat was not engaging enough. I enjoy fantasy designs that are a little over-the-top, so I tried out a few more design variations of the tattered brim, coming up with two alternate designs that are still available in my shop. There is the icicle brim for my frost mage hat and the cobweb brim, which is the newest tattered brim variation.
Finally I go the chance to put these two design elements together. The hat also featured a leather hat band made out of a belt that I had been saving for months waiting for the perfect hat to wrap it around. I think the end result was spectacular. Even the photo shoot seemed to be blessed, as you can read about here.
And that's how the tattered brim + side curl hat came to be!