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Thread: Kepi and hat making

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Default Kepi and hat making

    To ALL,
    I am looking into how to make kepi's and hats. If anyone could help me out on this I would appriciate it. If i can figure that out I may even try to get into making some uniforms.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    I have never attempted any work on a hat other than repairing a sweat band. I cannot speak to what goes into making a good hat but IMHO it is a skill that few can do correctly.
    I have made a couple of kepis though. There are no good commercially available patterns that I am aware of; I started by making a rough pattern using the measurements in the Confederate Sketchbook, then tweeking as I went along until I was satisfied.
    I would suggest starting with a simple shirt, drawers, haversack, ect then working your way up to a kepi. I've had good luck with County Cloth patterns/kits, Homespun Patterns, and Period Impressions patterns.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2007
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    Huntingdon, PA
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    Sewing a uniform is way way way easier compared to making a kepi or hat. If you do a search you should find a couple threads where others have asked about kepi 'n hat making... If you really wanna try making one the Confederate Sketchbook has a basic pattern of a kepi. Best of luck.
    Michael "Mick" McDonald
    1st Virginia Irish Battalion

    "United We Stand. Divided... And We Fall."


    "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.... Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    125

    Default Kepi

    Quote Originally Posted by mickscove80 View Post
    Sewing a uniform is way way way easier compared to making a kepi or hat.

    Agreed. I make my own clothing and I have made one kepi and it was the hardest project I have come across. Get the sewing techniques down while working on a haversack or drawers or a shirt.

    The only real pattern I know of is from Period Impressions and can be seen here: http://www.jamescountry.com/patterns/impressions.html. Just scroll down until you see the 1858 Forage Cap/Kepi. I have not used this pattern. For mine, I made a pattern from the Confederate Sketchbook which worked out ok. It took some continuous tweaking to get it down.

    Evan O'Dell

  5. #5
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    Apr 2009
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    Annapolis MD
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    Thanks everyone for the advice. I am going to follow it and try some of the easier patterns first. Hopefully this will save me some money in the long run. I will let you all know if I get it down eventually.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2006
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    Afghanistan
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    You can also make a shelter half and ground cloth (the latter, of course, you have to do the painting/waterproofing also).

    The Union Guard website has instructions for both. The shelter half can be made with handsewing stitches, substituting a backstitch for the long seams, and a whip stitch (thanks, I believe to Ross L. for this) on the felling of the seams. Lots of practice on buttonholes, too--23 of them, plus grommets!
    Joanna Norris Grimshaw

  7. #7
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    Feb 2006
    Location
    New Madrid Missouri
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    Or, just keep your eye open on this and other forums for hats and kepis coming up for sale. There is a constant flow of such items being offered for sale and one can get some good bargains.
    Michael Comer

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,125

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    Quote Originally Posted by skochara View Post
    To ALL,
    I am looking into how to make kepi's and hats. If anyone could help me out on this I would appriciate it. If i can figure that out I may even try to get into making some uniforms.
    You have already received plenty of discouraging words, and rightly so. Making authentic goods requires skill, study and experience. Most seamsters have moved up from basic items that taught them period stitching techniqes (drawers, Federal Issue shirts) to more advanced items (trousers, jackets). Hats and other headware are devilishly difficult, and there are, to my knowledge, no patterns readily available (not to mention the blocking tools required).

    IF, however, YOU ARE ****-BENT ON MAKING A KEPI, then study originals. Don't base yours on sutler concoctions. Getting ahold of an original to study may be possible, given all the small museum collections around (Ridgewood, NJ, for example, has some excellent CW uniforms in its School House Museum). If you can't handle, study and make notes from an original, I would join the chorus of others here saying you're better off purchasing someone's second-hand kepi than making something that will turn you into a laughing stock.

    I realize that's harsh, but there are good, sound reasons why even some of our best seamsters (Chris Daley, Chris Sullivan) don't make hats.
    Bill Cross
    Treasurer, The Rowdy Pards

    'In the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of tomfoolery can explain away anything that makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Central Missouri
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hiplainsyank View Post
    You can also make a shelter half and ground cloth (the latter, of course, you have to do the painting/waterproofing also).

    The Union Guard website has instructions for both. The shelter half can be made with handsewing stitches, substituting a backstitch for the long seams, and a whip stitch (thanks, I believe to Ross L. for this) on the felling of the seams. Lots of practice on buttonholes, too--23 of them, plus grommets!
    I'm going to be making a shelter half soon-can you give the correct Union Guard URL? Thanks.
    Tim Surprenant
    Holmes' Brigade
    Old Northwest Volunteers
    A/35th Engineer Battalion

    Camp Randall Armory
    Maker of Contractor Lockplates for M1861 Rifle-Muskets
    www.camprandallarmory.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Afghanistan
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    Tim, just google "union guard shelter half" and the pdf will be your first hit. I would've posted it but there is no url with a pdf.

    I suppose just google "union guard" in general to fnd their website with the other instructions and info.
    Joanna Norris Grimshaw

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