The Pirate Admiral Costume: The Tricorn Hat

Thursday, January 22, 2009 Jonette 2 Comments

Halloween may have come and gone, but the documentation remains. Forward ho!

To continue from this post(after three months, cough cough cough), no quasi-historical costume set in The Age of Exploration would ever be complete without The Tricorne Hat.

So, where do I start?

I got inspiration from the movie Amadeus in hopes of giving the hat a neater, more European look. The same reason goes for opting to use black felt instead of leather(which is terribly expensive and difficult to come by over here!), as well as with the choice of embellishments. With instructions from the trusty Threadbanger team, I was set. ^_~*

A lesson I learned from watching the tutorial and the actually making the hat: sometimes, you don't really need that much material, but it certainly can help when you're a beginner. Observe.

See that ginormous ring on the black felt? That's exactly a foot in width. I say it's too much because once that brim-to-be is sewn onto the crown of the hat, that turns into this:

This brings to mind the words sunglasses, cruise, bahamas, and poolside. Exaggeration!

Of course, this project is not without its casualties. The first would-be crown of the tricorne is the bouffant-looking one to the left. I can think of many things to call it right now -- it's a mini-toque for a goth chef! It's a pillbox hat caricature! It's a puffy version of a Eastern Orthodox priest's hat! (sigh) Nonetheless, the crown I will be using will be the one on the right.

after cutting the unwieldy brim down to a manageable diameter, I rolled up the hat as instructed.

Hmm. Too shark-y, not enough elegance. I decided I'd done enough work for now, and it was best I get some shut eye if I was to show up for work early that afternoon.

Now here's where the interactive fun begins. To complement the mood, I invite you to STOP READING FIRST! Hit Play on this one-song playlist, one you get some electric guitar, continue reading.

Ready? Go!

The next day, I woke up refreshed and set on cutting away the brim to the desired width -- and as an end result, height. a few more large felt rings after, this happened.


Securing the points of the tricorne was not easy. In times like these, the faint memories you had of your geometry lessons on triangles are of help... and then you realize that a bit of algebra will come into play here if you take that thought any further. (Remember your parabolas and hyperbolas? I shall stop here. ^_^") the most important thought here is to ensure the points of the hat are equidistant to each other in terms of both length and height. When I was entirely sure the hat was the shape I wanted, I secured the points like so:

  • Very carefully pin and secure the desired point.
  • With a needle and thread of the same color as your hat, hand-stitch a very small X on the point. Don't pull too tight! You don't want your hat to pucker up. The more inconspcuous it is, the better. Repeat a few times to make it stronger. Satin stitch works too.
  • Close the stitch on the inside of the hat with a knot, and cut. Repeat for the remaining two sides.
  • finito!

Next came the question of decoration. Since I wanted to get the Amadeus look, I opted for something simple: a black ribbon sewn around the brim of the hat, plus a strip hot-glued across one side with a brass belt buckle to disguise the seam of the ring/brim.

I'm done! ^__^*

A view of the brass buckle.

Me in the entire ensemble at the Scary Debut.

My cousin-uncle Tad in the Tricorne hat.(The guy in the background... you know he wants the hat. XD)

I'm really, really happy about how this costume turned out. Simple as the ensemble is, I think it's great.

Later on, an aunt of mine made a comment on the hat, saying "you should put lots stars on the side! And ostritch feathers and gold ribbon!" The gaudy picture it painted in my head was quite painful to look at, but it certainly got me thinking. Thinking about costumes, I think it really depends on your approach or concept of the character of the costume, as well as how you will carry it. Are you going to be a fun-fun character? Does your personality scream "look at me, look at me everyone!" when you walk into a room? Do you prefer to slip in unnoticed at first, then listen to the jaws (and glasses) drop throughout the event? Do you want people to come closer to get a good look at you? Would you rather represent or speak to a certain group of interest? (Much like these three guys represented, yo. Extra points for those who can call 'em out. ) Do you want to be a walking trope? You can take it as far as historical reenactment, or just go "I'm just playing around, baby." I think the basic idea behind a costume is that you dress as a character for the event, and it's up to you how you want to play it.


  1. it turned out very good!, it looks great once you're wearing it


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