Fur Hat

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01 April 2015, 10:22 AM
Keith J.
Fur Hat
I'm having a problem with a "mountain man" type hat design. I've worked leather, but nothing with fur and never a hat. Here's the rub: I've got two craft grade badger hides...not the best quality, but what I can afford. I want to turn them into a hat. I'm worried that after I cut and sew that it won't turn out how I'd like it to. I know I could just cut a strip and sew a circle on top but, I don't want it to turn out looking like one of my mom's old pill box hats. Because they're craft grade they aren't extremely "fluffy" so I'm not sure when I pull the fur out of the seams if it will have that more rounded look I'm wanting. I can't for the life of me come up with what seems like a reasonable way to achieve that look. I thought about two half circles on the sides with a strip down the middle, but then is seems it end up looking more like a baseball hat. So, any...and I do mean any...suggestions would be useful. I've been sitting on this project for a while since I don't want to mess the hides up...but it is time to start cutting. Just not sure how. Help.

Keith J.
01 April 2015, 11:37 AM
something you could consider: if you have some 6 oz leather, cut a strip around 4" wide and of a length to go around your head as a form, then lay a hide over it and stitch around the top and bottom of the form. I did this a number of years ago using rabbit skins (about 5 as I remember) and made some ear covers that I tied up like a Korean war vintage army hat. It worked. You could play with the design using some material till you get the amount of fur needed to complete the hat. I'm sure some of the mountain men here will have better ideas for you, but this is what worked for me once upon a time. Good luck with the project.

Sua Sponte
01 April 2015, 01:55 PM
Please keep us posted....*sound of popcorn being munched*

Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
01 April 2015, 08:50 PM
Not a mountain man, but here's a Mandan Indian painted by Karl Bodmer wearing a badger cap. Most trappers wore brimmed wool hats and are seen on numerous inventory lists. There are a few descriptions of men wearing fur caps, but the wide brimmed wool hat was by far the most common.


This message has been edited. Last edited by: Pare-,

04 April 2015, 01:45 PM
If you want an early mountain man type you could also go with a Canadian Cap where the fur is just used around the bottom and as a tassel on top.
28 April 2016, 12:05 PM
Ive done a few of them ,sew it inside out if it comes out as a pillbox that's fine it is what it is. Sew a leather visor to the front and it will look fine.cut it from the flesh side with a sharp box cutter or other razor type knife
29 April 2016, 07:42 AM
Notchy Bob
Just a technical point...

I think the man in the picture is Assiniboine. This is purely academic, as I don't think tribal clothing styles were as specific as we might believe.

The man's name translates as "Nothing but Gunpowder," which for us blackpowder shooters could have all sorts of connotations. This is probably my favorite portrait out of all of Bodmer's considerable body of work, because there is so much information in it... the hunting pouch, the buffalo powder horn, the spare ramrod with the worm on the end and a wad of fiber wrapped in it, the knife and sheath peeking out from behind his back, and the badger-skin hood. One thing I like is the plainness of the outfit. No fringe, beadwork, or anything unnecessary.

Here's a little more information: Assiniboine Hunter.

I believe the costume designer for The Revenant used this image (among others) in developing authentic winter outfits for the actors.

Anyway, the badger-skin hood in the image does not look difficult to make, but it is a winter hat.

Best regards,
Notchy Bob

"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us. Should have rode horses. Kept dogs."

from The Antelope Wife
29 April 2016, 07:49 AM
that's a great picture, And we can easily see what gun he carries
12 May 2016, 09:16 AM
Loyalist Dave
I want to turn them into a hat. I'm worried that after I cut and sew that it won't turn out how I'd like it to.


You have a valid concern. We have the same concerns when we are cutting a very expensive piece of cloth. Here's what to do...,

You want to look up actual popular hat styles of the Mountain Man era (or whatever era that you like). THEN you get a pattern AND the cheapest poly/cotton cloth you can find, and you use the pattern with the cheap cloth to test the fit on your head. Remember that the cloth may stretch when the leather probably won't. Adjust as needed. THEN when doing leather instead of 1/2" or 5/8" cloth overage, use 1/4 or 3/8 inch overage when you sew the seam.

You will need glover's needles for leather (get from any sewing supply store), and you will want either to wax "button thread" or use artificial sinew. IF you want a stitch like a "saddle stitch", ------- instead of a running stitch - - - - - then you will also need a stab-awl to open the stitching holes complete the stitch.

Here is a very popular pattern for men's caps from the fur trade era Men's Cap Pattern . This is more formally known as the Regency Period, so you may find patterns for other clothing using that term.

There is also the classic Coonskin Cap Style

You could also make a Canadian Cap, which is basically a workman's cap but out of wool or fur. I couldn't find a pattern, but most of my friends made theirs by copying how their cloth workman's cap went together. They experimented with the poly/cotton cloth as above and when done made theirs out of wool with fur around the edge.


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove