Pork Pie Hats

IMG_7297IMG_7298This weekend at the museum I ran short on straw. So, I opted to change direction on the hat I was working on and make a pork pie hat. I had just the right amount of straw left for that. (I had declared it my first pork pie. But, yesterday, I realized I made a small hat last month that technically is also a pork pie.)

My pork pie hat is 18.5″ around the interior crown. I find this wants to perch on my head that is 22.5″ today. (I am convinced it changes between 21.5″ and 22.5″ depending on the day and hair.) It feels higher than the hats of the same size crown with wider brim. I find that interesting. It is a very different feel than the other hats I’ve made.

There was a lot of discussion of pork pie hats in Civil War era discussion groups a year or so ago. Looking at CW era CDVs, I’m noticing most of the small hats I’m seeing being called pork pies are technically Toques as they have no brim. Pork pies have a small curled up brim.This later 1860s image shows a nice pork pie hat.  Several images show hats with wider curved up brims, the curve having a band of over an inch, ( this cdv. is a good example.) I don’t know whether these would technically be pork pies or not.

Here are some Pork Pie Hats from 1860 through 1890 (I do not think all of the dating on these is correct). The hats are cited as women’s, girl’s and boy’s hats. You’ll notice a variety of ways of decorating them. Binding the curved up brim edge seems to be fairly common through all three decades. Examples below show both velvet and lace being used. Sadly, measurements are not given in each case.

Listed as a boy’s hat in the LACMA collection.

pork pie hat in cdv - Copy

From the MET collection – 1870s

From the MET collection – Listed as 1880s

From the MET collection – Listed as 1868

Published in: on July 21, 2015 at 1:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

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