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Buckram Bandeau Hat Base Project at The Costumer's Manifesto Costume Design & Construction Buckram Bandeau Hat Base (5D+10C)




A buckram bandeau is the simplest object you can make out of hat wire and buckram, yet it has many uses as a basis for costume hats. It is therefore a good beginning project to learn about making buckram and wire hat forms, yet it also can give you a form over which you can make several rather fancy looking hats. As an example, each of the hats below are made on a simple buckram bandeau:








Buckram bandeaus are made in two main styles: Straight and curved. The patterns and look of the two types are shown in the diagrams below:




The curved band can be worn in either direction, either making it a crown shape or a close fitting shape depending on the direction worn.

The main styles that a bandeau is most handy for are shown below:


The easiest style is one where the band is simply covered with a wrapping of a long strip of crispy fabric like organza, stitched in place, and then decorative elements like flowers and feathers can be sewn to the band and the covering. This hat made by Diane Swanson shows this style.




This style covers the band with a wrapping of stretch panne velvet, then uses more of the same fabric as a sewn-on top, forming a 1780s style lady's turban, this method can also be used for more traditional turban styles:



To make a stiffer "pillbox" style, the top can be reinforced with an oval of buckram, and the whole thing covered with draped fabric and decorations:







The most complex style is one where the bandeau is the internal stabilizer for a huge "mob" cap. The Diagram below shows how such a style is made.






We used this method to make this cap several months before

Les Liaisons Dangereuses was cast. We made the hat extra large in case the actress had a big head, or her wig made her head huge, then took a tuck (you can see below) in the back of the bandeau when we fitted it on the real actress.




The Project:

What you will need

1/4 yard heavy buckram (for curve), or 2-3" of buckram (for straight band)

1 & 1/2 yards of hat wire

Safety glasses or goggles

extra sewing machine needles

a zigzag sewing machine & thread

Fabrics and trims for the style of covering you design

Render your hat design on paper to give yourself a plan to work towards. You may end up changing your plan slightly, but starting without a plan is definitely a mistake.

Cut your buckram according to one of the diagrams below:



Fit the band on the head of your performer, make sure it is slightly loose. Sew the overlap according to the fit.

Cut your hat wire into two equal lengths. Thread your machine and put on your goggles or glasses.

Sew the wire around the top and bottom edges of the bandeau with the widest zigzag stitch. You may break needles the first few times you try doing this. Take the excess wire and overlap it at least 2" past the point you started. Ideally, you can just keep sewing in a circle till you run out.

Based on your design, follow the suggestions above to work out the appropriate hat covering. Sew or glue into place.

When it is finished, photograph the sketch and the hat as jpeg files and post them to your File folder at the class

[1]. Post a message to the group letting everyone know you have posted these pictures so you can get feedback.

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Product Links

Complete Book of Sewing Complete Book of Sewing

The Costume Designer's Handbook : A Complete Guide for Amateur and Professional Costume Designers The Costume Designer's Handbook : A Complete Guide for Amateur and Professional Costume Designers

The Costume Technician's Handbook : A Complete Guide for Amateur and Professional Costume Technicians The Costume Technician's Handbook : A Complete Guide for Amateur and Professional Costume Technicians


Costume Step-By-Step : The Complete Guide to Designing and Making Stage Costumes for All Major Drama Periods and Genres

The Magic Garment : Principles of Costume Design The Magic Garment : Principles of Costume Design

Costume Construction Costume Construction

Elegantly Frugal Costumes : The Poor Man's Do-It-Yourself Costume Maker's Guide Elegantly Frugal Costumes : The Poor Man's Do-It-Yourself Costume Maker's Guide

This Page is part of The Costumer's Manifesto, originally founded by Tara Maginnis, Ph.D. from 1996-2014, now flying free as a wiki for all to edit and contribute. Site maintained, hosted, and wikified by Andrew Kahn. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. You may print out any of these pages for non-profit educational use such as school papers, teacher handouts, or wall displays. You may link to any page in this site.