Making a French bicorn hat - advice and tips appreciated

Hi there,

Has anyone here ever made a French bicorn hat?

I'm working on the costume team for a local production of Les Miserables in a few weeks, and have been tasked with making Javert's bicorn (and Cosette's bonnet). Photo below is of Tam Mutu as Javert from the London production, looking to make something similar to this:

Materials-wise, I think it should be a nice quality wool felt - and somehow I'm thinking that a standard size capeline may not be big enough to block a shape similar to the below (this photo is from a tutorial: Once steamed and blocked, would I stiffen with solvent based hat stiffener on the inside? I've blocked straws and lace plates for headpieces, just not felt.

Is anyone able to provide any advice or tips? I'd appreciate any help and tips, thank you in advance!

Tags: bicorn, musical theatre, theatrical headwear

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You are on track with how to tackle this style but YES definitely stiffen - several light layers to ensure the shape remains, after worn so many times on stage. The worst problem is actors do not realise how delicate our hats are so they need to be super strong. I would suggest you reinforce the crown with buckram or foss shape inner as the whole style is dependent on the strength of the crown for support. Use fur felt if possible as tougher and holds shape best. Not sure where you can find such a wide brimmed felt but hopefully someone has a suggestion for you. Under" Essentials" on top banner several suppliers are listed & that may help. Failing that buy 2 capelines and maximise height from one for the crown and maximise  brim width from the other and join together at the collar. Challenges like this stretch us but teach us so much Best Wishes xx 

I was studying a real bicorn in the UK this year and was surprised how narrow the sides are - the theatrical ones seem to be much wider. The crown was oval but one side was higher than the other so yes, you'd need a wide furfelt capeline or ability to stretch out a good capeline.


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