Friday, September 19, 2014
Harness and saddle makers added these to their lines of military accoutrements as they are entirely made of leather. Dyed black, they were coated with gloss varnish, and hung with all manner of metal decorations. The shako is surprisingly light and impractical.
The convex top is wet formed over a wooden mold and cut to the exact shape and size of the body. Stitch holes are marked and punched with an awl.
Matching stitch holes are made at the apex and emerge along the top edge. Careful pressure with the awl prevents (much) finger stabbing.
Before adding the top, a small tab sewn to the front will hold the RIDICULOUS plume (like it needs more decoration.) The distinctive bell shape is apparent.
Nineteenth-century leather workers plied their trade with special wax and flexible hog whisker needles. Drunk tailors use surgical needles, pliers and stab themselves repeatedly.