The Cap Faction

Discussion in 'Hats' started by deanglen, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    @Zombie_61 Yeah I dig the extra full look on your noggin. To each is own though. Maybe it's not as good with shorter hair. I feel like the newer bakerboy variants work for me right off the bat (Hat People, B! Wear, Hatteras) vs. the older variants above like the FWC or Monsivais One Sport. My favorite from the older variants is The Dart from Monsivais. I wore the Froggy Went Courting Bakerboy to work the other day and my co-workers were a bit startled.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
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  2. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    So my wife wants to kill me now. "Another hat? I've never seen you do this before!" - I'm like yeah right... don't you know about my other hobbies?

    So yesterday in the mail I got two more caps... one from RetroSport (Mamie Blue Paris) and another from an eBay vendor "countrysidehatsandsocks". I'll start with the Retro Sport first...

    I found out about RetroSport from this forum after gleaning through the first 100 pages or so. It seems like they were one of the first options to provide a cap with a more 1910s-30s vintage look. At this same point in time it looks like Johnny J was in his cap making infancy. Knowing that they were another option, I decided to peruse eBay and Mamie Blue's webstore as I was looking for a cap that could be worn in Spring / Summer or maybe even Fall. I came upon this denim hat and immediately knew this was the one...

    IMG_3747.jpg
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    This one has a nice drape. You can pretty easily move it on one side or the other and it definitely has this funky French look. I love the feel of the interior. It's a nice velvety feel. You can't totally see it in the pictures, but the denim design is a herringbone with dark blue, light blue, and yellow with indigo stripes. When initially looking at it, it struck me as truly unique and something I'd want in my arsenal.

    The only real bugaboo I've had with this cap is that even though I'm usually a 59CM or large, this hat needed / still might need a little coaxing and tugging on the sides to get it to feel right on my head. I feel like the visor might be digging into my head a tad bit. I'm not sure I need to go the full mile and apply steam and try to stretch it more. Perhaps wearing it around with get it to jive right.


    Overall, I like it the best so far of the early 1900s reproduction hats that I own. I'm wondering if Mamie Blue makes their own hats or if there is another manufacturer. Anyone know?
     
    M Hatman and Zombie_61 like this.
  3. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    So the other hat that I picked up and recieved on the same day as the Retro Sport comes from a vendor on eBay - countrysidehatsandsocks. After digging around eBay for quite a bit I found this vendor. What drew me to them was that they seemed to be offering Harris tweed 8 panel caps for a really good price. As far as I could tell they weren't made in China or Korea or elsewhere. Not that that is a bad thing. The cheaper wool hats just don't have the famous Donegal or Harris tweeds. I had a little back and forth with the owner of the shop and decided to make a purchase. In the spirit of bespoke craftsmanship, I wanted to know if the hat was made by him or not. While he answered other questions, he neglected to mention where the hat is made or by whom. The price was another factor in buying this cap. At around $52 shipped it seemed like a good deal.

    Now on to the cap...

    IMG_3751.jpg
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    From the pics online and the description this one is supposed to be a green hat. The best I can say in person is that it's sort of greenish in the herringbone pattern. But I'd bill it more as like light brown with dark green herringbone. The cap fits perfectly. I ordered 58-59 or L and it fits like a glove. It seems like I get lucky fit-wise every few hats. There is a "Official" Harris tweed label on the inside and a label that says Made in the UK. Nothing else. It seems well built on a machine vs. by hand. Maybe it's a company that makes hats normally with a brand, but also OEMs to countrysidehatsandsocks? Either way it's coming in at a great cost and good quality. I like the cut on this one. I was considering going with a more fuller cut, but opted out last minute. countrysidehatsandsocks offers two basic sizes "peaky" and full or "big apple". I think this one is 10.5" wide vs. 12" for the full.

    So with this one the only things that could be better are the lining and a snap button. The lining is some polyester material with some fill to make it fluffy/puffy. I'd rather have cotton and no fill, but I guess it keeps the cost down. Not sure why they choose to sew the peak to the crown. I prefer the look of a snap vs. sewn down. I feel like it might give more draping opportunities with a button type fastener.

    Overall, this is a good hat. Nice shape. It spills over the sides of my head enough and it's comfy.
     
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  4. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    And it's finally here! My first Simonds cap...

    It seems to me that most caps in the flat cap family are made for the fall and winter seasons. My guess is this has to do with a glut of choices in woolen fabrics. Plus a hat is generally used to keep a head warm. However, during the warmer months, it's not always the best idea to be wearing a woolen cap. I've seen it done with beanies and always thought it was peculiar. Another observation that I've made is that there are 3 main fabrics available, at least that I've come across, that are suitable for the spring through summer months. They are cotton (including denim), linen, and less commonly crepe wool.

    So this brings me to the period in my cap buying journey where I'm realizing that I have to have some spring and summer headgear. I wanted to give Simonds a shot because I had seen some of his craftwork both here and on pinterest and had to have him create a linen based 8 panel or so I thought. I reached out via Etsy with an inquiry and we meandered back and forth with a few questions and answers. He showed what he had in both cottons and linen and I settled on a workwear style 8 panel cap.

    Here is the result...

    IMG_3778.jpeg

    IMG_3785.jpg

    So here are some thoughts about the final product. I'll start with - I'll definitely buy from Simonds again. The craftsmanship is pristine. You can't even find one blemish or mistake. Not that should be much of that when you're buying a custom tailored item. However, I'll save my opinions on that for another post. The denim is this almost stiff cotton twill with 2mm wide stripes. There's a name for it and it's on the tip of my tongue. The cap amazingly with a lack of a lining holds its shape and overall puffy drape. On the inside, there is a taped lining on the inner stitching that seems to be the foundation or skeleton of the cap. My guess is this contributes to the cap holding its shape. The cap also has a nice leather band that really forms to the head. Out of all the hats I've recently bought I think I've gotten the most compliments in a 2 day period of wearing it.

    So I have only one beef. There's gotta be a beef and it's not even major and by the day gets less and less of a peeve. When I initially commissioned the cap I showed pics of another very similar cap that Simonds had made. I wanted the same exact design and what I got, while amazing, was a little different. I was looking for a longer peak - say 2.5". The peak on this is around 2". The drape completely covers it. After a few days with the cap I'm perfectly fine with it. I guess the lesson in all of this is that the beauty of a bespoke cap is that it's unique to you and one of the surprises is that it may come out differently than what you expected, but hopefully in a good way. Maybe bad... and it might drive you nuts.
     
  5. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    A few more thoughts on the caps that I bought via Monsivais. A few posts back you'll find some of my experiences with Monsivais and Co. At the time, I was posting about how I thought there was a little bit of a lack of communication, which ended up being more about Damien being busy. I don't want this post to be about deterring those from buying from a particular vendor. It's more about the journey.

    So I sent back both caps that I purchased. One was a custom made one - The Dart - in this funky diamond twill weave wool. The stitching in the band in the back of the cap was coming apart. Plus it seemed like the hat was a 7 1/4 vs 7 3/8 like I ordered. The second one was a pre-made blue Donegal tweed All Sport (8 dart) cap that was completely the wrong size. I ordered 7 3/8. The tag showed 7 1/4. Away they went. After a week and a few calls, I finally reached Damien and he let me know that they were ready and would ship the next day. I get the box 3 days later and to my dismay the box is cut open and there is ONLY one hat there. Not two. I was frantic and emailed and got a speedy response. Apparently, something happened and only one was shipped. I'm not blaming Monsivais for the cut open box. I just found it weird. It would have been nice to have a 2nd email go out saying - "hey I only shipped one hat... the other is on the way!"

    So the other hat arrives and its fixed and maybe a little stretched. It still fits a bit snugly, but not where it'd cause pain over time. So as I have more time with the hat I notice that the crown which is a 4 quarter pattern vs. 8. is not straight - meaning an almost perfect diamond. The main back stitch coming down the back isn't straight as well, which I think contributes to the slight lopsidedness of the cap. If you don't wear the cap then you probably won't notice it. I guess the point is it felt like the work was rushed. As a consumer, I'd rather have the vendor communicate and say "hey, I'm busy - I need another week to finish the hat." and then I think the result would be close to perfect. The irony is I got the other hat with the correct size and the drape and look and overall craftsmanship of the cap is fantastic. So you know the vendor has the capability of doing awesome work.

    So in the end I'm ok and not really looking to expend more energy on having The Dart redone. I'm not even sure if it's possible. It is what it is. Like I said, most likely no one else will notice the imperfection of the crown. Overall instead of two thumbs up I'd give the overall experience with Monsivais as one thumb up.
     
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  6. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    I really like that Simonds cap Scotty. It reminds me of the vintage/reproduction workwear caps I've seen, and it has a great casual look to it.
     
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  7. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,102
    Location:
    Oroville
    That Simonds cap is awesome, Scotty. I had a great experience with him, too, and will order again.
     
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  8. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    That's what I like about the workwear caps. They can be worn with almost any style of clothing and look good. I've definitely seen more wool based 1910s-30s caps than cotton or workwear. The Well Dressed Head has a few that I've seen that look stunning.
     
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  9. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    I just ordered another newsboy from him in oatmeal linen. It was between Simonds and Cordova. I went with Simonds for the linen cap because I feel like what he's offering has a more informal style to it. Kind of like the workwear cap he made for me.

    I must admit I did also just buy an 8/4 in black, white, and burgundy tweed from Cordova. I can already tell... this will be my first and not my last from him. I love that Cordova has a ton of fabric choices - at least in wool.
     
  10. Short Balding Guy

    Short Balding Guy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,370
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN USA
    Wow - anxious to see pics of these caps. Sounds grand.

    I do like the linen Cordova Caps. They have held up over warm weather uses.

    [​IMG]

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    Best, Eric -
     
  11. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,102
    Location:
    Oroville
    Yes, Cordova is great, too. I have four by him.
     
  12. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    @Short Balding Guy - I dig what Cordova did with that linen piece. It's very classic looking. Semi-formal. We'll see how it compares to the Simonds that I'll be getting later today.

    In the meantime, I picked up my first Cordova in that 1950s burgundy, black, and white nailhead tweed. I think there are pics of it currently up on Etsy and on Instagram. I also grabbed an unused Hanna Hats 8 panel from eBay for $20. Couldn't pass it up. Finally, I got in a really nice cap from "Hats With a Past" on Etsy. Like Cordova and Simonds, Bonnie's work is pristine. This one came in a 1930s or 40s very small houndstooth gabardine wool. It's becoming of my fav caps. More to come on these hats.
     
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  13. Short Balding Guy

    Short Balding Guy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,370
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN USA
    Scotty; Congrats on the caps. You have a passel of fine caps coming. Can not wait to see them in action.

    Best, Eric -
     
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  14. Graemsay

    Graemsay Practically Family

    Messages:
    761
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I picked up a Wearmasters Biltbuck Horsehide Bikers Casquette today. It's a very dark brown or black, depending on the light, and it looks like the leather is teacore, so it'll show some interesting wear over time.

    Biltbuck Cap.jpg

    I was after a Mister Freedom Greaser Hat a few years back, but they'd already sold out by then. This is similar, the main differences being it's unlined, and how it's stitched together.

    It now needs for me to live in it for the next few months to knock the shine off.
     
  15. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    Lookin' good. I'd go with another leather cap - preferably 8 panel next time - but the wife will definitely read me the riot act!
     
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  16. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    A few months back, I had been combing over the wool fabrics on Cordova's FB page. Going back and forth and thinking of what I'd pick as my first Cordova, I found several that caught my eye. However, I was more or less wanting to lean towards a lighter fabric as spring was close to being on my doorstep. After messaging back and forth and not really making a commitment, Jonathan mentioned he had an 8/4 cap already made in 7 3/8. While not my first pick in fabrics, and not the lighter fabric I was looking for, I decided to snag this cap. Why not?

    IMG_3822.jpg
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    As soon as I got the cap I fell in love with it. Sometimes, you can't tell what a fabric is going to look like until you see it in its final form as a cap. The craftsmanship is bar none fantastic. Not a flaw I can find. The fit is a tad tight, but it seems to stretch a bit during the day wearing it. Keep in mind I haven't worn it much, being that we're well into spring. I think it'll come into its own next fall/winter. I like that it's got a subtle amount of red so you can wear it with a variety of clothing. I don't really have any complaints about it. That's the way it should be. ;)
     
  17. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    So since I started on this journey I've heard about two companies -- well there's a few more, but two that are well regarded and known in this community for 8 panels and flat caps that are pre-made - Jonathan Richard and Hanna Hats. I'd been on a hunt on eBay for quite a while and eventually found one that seemed to have the right starting bidding price - $20. I wasn't sure if it was new or used, but decided to take a risk. I was the only bidder and came out victorious in many ways...

    Hanna Hats - 8 panel

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    So how's the cap?

    So the cap I received was new without tags and one could tell unworn and clean. I did some research beforehand and knew I had to buy the cap one size smaller than usual. Thus I got a medium cap vs. large, which I normally wear. I'm not sure if Jonathan Richard caps are the same way. That being said, the cap fits perfectly.

    The material is a large herringbone in a thick wool that surprisingly is very soft to the touch and not coarse or rough like my Harris tweed based cap shown above. You can shape the cap in a few ways - I have it shaped like a traditional flat cap in the pics, but you can also sort of flop it to the side. Who doesn't like choices? Who doesn't like scoring a Hanna Hat for $20 on the bay?
     
  18. ScottyD

    ScottyD Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    So... We're finally in the full swing of spring and I wanted to add to the arsenal of caps for daily spring/summer wear. I've been looking for light weight materials in a variety of colors and/or patterns. It seems at first glance that wool based caps / hats have more variety. But in searching, I've found some pretty interesting options - linens (limited in patterns) coming in mostly solid colors; cottons with denims in a variety of colors and patterns and other cotton options like gingham and duck canvas. I'm sure a cap can even be made out of hemp or straw. Finally, there are some limited options in lighter wools like gabardine. ;) or even tropical wools...

    For my first cap, I decided to go with linen as a material. It's so smooth to the touch and so light. I have some Belgian linen bedding that is oh so comfy and great in the summertime heat, so I wanted something reminiscent for headwear. I really liked what Simonds had produced the last time with my work wear dotted striped denim cap, so linen it is...

    1930's style linen 8 panel cap...

    IMG_3839.jpg
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    This hat is so dang comfy. The fit is great. Spot on -- to be expected with a Simonds cap. Worksmanship - top notch. This is going to be one of my favs for spring / summer daily use.

    Other thoughts... I asked for the peak to be a little larger on this one - 2.5" vs. the 2" on the work wear 8 panel cap. I was hoping that that would translate to more room on the peak with less crown. Knowing what I know I would have asked for a slightly smaller crown to create the look I was going for. In the end, it's up to the artist's (cap maker's) interpretation of how the reproduction should be. After all this is a 30's style cap. Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be if you catch my drift. Also you can't really flop the cap to the side like some other caps I have. It's straight forward. That's ok. Barry Simonds says he can make a cap with more of a baker boy, maybe big apple style that flops if you ask it. ;)

    One more thing... linen creases and wrinkles easily. It's part of the game. At least using one of those handheld steamers helps fix things up every few weeks...
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  19. Short Balding Guy

    Short Balding Guy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,370
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN USA
    Excellent. I truly love the fabric! The 8 panel really compliments the fabric and looks sharp.

    Well done. Eric -
     
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  20. Short Balding Guy

    Short Balding Guy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,370
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN USA
    I have over several cap purchases narrowed my personal likes and dislikes. As you questioned - I similarily prefer to have brim (peak) showing in front of the fabric. I am a "short balding guy" as my moniker states and like a bigger 2.5" brim. I choose this for sun shade and to match the 1920-30's caps worn in vintage pics. Bespoke cap makers have worked with me to get a bit more volume to the fabric on top of the head (as I like to tug it down in back and close the ears on the side), the sides should have volume (that way it does not look like a modern driving cap) and the front should attach on the brim (peak) with brim showing. I do not wear my caps unsnapped so this is not an issue. I see your posts as working through "structure" or size that you prefer a cap to be. I really love the stiffer or more substantial structure built around the sweat area of the caps. Leather sweat and the structure should not be bulky. To fit, being bald, I do not appreciate the cap resting heavy on my head. It makes me head sweaty and is hard wear on the liner of the cap or heavens no liner-huge wear.

    Long winded to say that I like your most recent Simonds and Cordova caps. Congrats.
     
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