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The Patrick Hand Original™ Planter's Hat, Page 1

Mission in the Patrick Hand Original Planter's hat
Photo: William Pace
Mission in the Patrick Hand Original™
Planter's Hat
I love my hat. It hat has become so associated with me by those who follow the Pirate Surgeon's Journals that some people actually refer to it as 'the Mission Hat.' (In fact, I have probably referred to it as such in the Surgeon's Journals myself on occasion.)

However, this is wrong. It is not the Mission Hat, it is the Patrick Hand Original Planter's Hat. (In fact, I have frequently referred to it as such in the Surgeon's Journals myself on many occasions. Although I sometimes abbreviate it because retrieving the symbol is a giant pain in the neck.) My point is that, on this web page at least, its proper title important. (Well, it is to me. Your mileage may vary.)

For several years, many people in the reenacting community understood what 'Patrick Hand Original' meant. As time has gone on, however, some of the meaning of this cognomen has faded. So I thought I'd record that meaning here for posterity, detail some of the adventures the hat and I have had and finish with a bit of history on sailor's hats during the golden age of piracy for good measure.

When you're a re-enactor, garb can have a story all its own. That occasionally requires an inordinate amount of research when you're trying to pretend you know that you're wearing period correct clothing. The Patrick Hand Original Planter's Hat is such an item.

A Brief History of the Patrick Hand Original Planter's Hat

I first made the acquaintance of the Patrick Hand Planter's Hat when I decided to jump into reenacting in January 2007. I had been on the Pyracy Pub forum for over 2 years when I decided enter the curious world of dressing and acting (or re-enacting) like a pirate for the Pirates in Paradise event held in Key West, Florida in early December that year. I was blessed with total ignorance, not having any idea what was involved in creating a period correct outfit. I just figured it could be done. While I am blessed with certain artistic skills, they do not run towards clothing - neither sewing, nor hats.

Michael Bagley and Mission swapping hats
Photo: Mary Diamond
Michael in the Patrick Hand Hat and me in... a sombrero?...
at Put-in-Bay 2011
My (now) friend Michael S, Bagley was likewise planning to attend the Pirates in Paradise event that year and he publicly offered to make clothing for people who were going that year. So I emailed him and arranged for him to make me an outfit.

Before we continue, I should explain that the above two sentences are a very glib and inadequate explanation. I had NO idea how fortuitous it was that Michael not only offered this service, but followed through on it for me. Period clothing is all hand-stitched and Michael willingly made everything you see me wearing in the first photo on this page. He had to make the waistcoat twice, because the first one didn't fit!

How Mission thinks he looked
I looked like this.
(I wish.)
Procuring the hat was similarly fortuitous - as if destiny had smiled upon me.

I have always liked unique items of clothing and have long been a fan of hats. I have four felt fedoras that I wore throughout the nineties with the double-breasted suits that were in style at the time. This was in emulation of Indiana Jones, as seen in the end of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Alas, there are no photos of me dressed like this because I was notably camera shy at that time.

But I digress from the story of how I got my hat. Patrick Hand had made himself a hat to keep the sun out of his face after getting burned at an event. In a rather unusual move for Patrick, he took photos of the whole process, detailing the creation of the hat on the Piracy Pub. I have quoted his post in full, as written, below.

Hat Construction
(As written by Patrick Hand, creator of the Patrick Hand Original Planter's Hat)

"At the Northern California Pyrate Festival, my face got sun burned from wearing only a cocked hat.... so I figured I'd make a new hat for really "sunny" occasions.....

The first two pictures show the hat blank that I bought from one of the merchants at the Festival for $28.00....."

The Hat Blank for the Patrick Hand Hat
Photo: Patrick Hand - Angled View of Hat Blank
Hat Blank Side for Patrick Hand Hat
Photo: Patrick Hand - Side View of Hat Blank

"I use boiling water instead of steam when I block a hat (it's just the way I learned how to stretch hats when I was a kid...)

This picture [below left] shows the crown of the hat full of boiling water.... once it all drains through the felt, It's ready to stretch..."

Patrick Hand Hat Blank Stretched Bottom
Photo: Patrick Hand - A Photo of the Hat Crown Sitting in the
Boiling Water to Soften the Material.
Patrick Hand Hat Stretched Side
Photo: Patrick Hand - "This picture shows the blank after it's been stretched over the container"

"The hat blank that I bought, didn't have ragged edges, so I didn't have to trim it..... there were a few small spots, but the edge trim would cover them.....

I had some blanket binding, so that is what I used [to trim the edge]....

Starting at the back, folding the binding in half, I started to sew it on using a running stitch, passing the needle close to the edge on both sides.... I had to adjust and slightly push the top or bottem edges so the were even on both sides of the brim.... also by pushing the binding tight over the edge of the hat, I avoided too much puckering .....

It took about an hour to sew all the way around the brim..... I used really tiny stitches......

Also shown [in the photo below right - at the bottom] is the linen lining.... it is sewn into a tube, with a casing along the top edge for a drawstring...."

Sewing the Edge on the Hat
Photo: Patrick Hand - Sewing the Blanket Binding Edge on the Hat
The Edge Sewn and the Inside Lining
Photo: Patrick Hand - Edge Sewn & Lining

"To sew in the lining, I turned the bottem edge under, and whip stitched the lining to the hat.... I don't push the needle all the way through the felt, only about half way..... just enough to keep the lining in place...That way the stitching wont show from the outside of the hat.

When the lining is sewn in, I then slightly tighten the drawstring, so it fits inside the hat.

I still have to decide what I want to do for a hat band..... but this is the (almost) finished hat....

It will keep the sun outta my face.... the biggest problem with such a large brim is that they do tend to blow off yer head in a strong wind..."

The Patrick Hand Hat with Lining
Photo: Patrick Hand - The Lining Sewn in the Hat
Patrick Wearing the Hat
Photo: Patrick Hand - Pirate Patrick in His Hat

I want to add a couple of notes to this narrative.

Firstly, Patrick learned how to stretch hats as a kid! I can't even imagine this. Since I have gotten hold of this hat, I have lived in mortal fear of having to re-stretch the hat since working with fabric Patrick's Bedrool and Lone Strap
Photo: Mission
Patrick's Bedroll with One Strap and Replacement Rope, 2009
instills dread in and seems so alien to me. (This goes back to an episode I had while blithely trying to sew a pair of pink flamingo jams from a pattern. If that interests you for some strange reason, you can read about it in the 2009 Pirates in Paradise Surgeon's Journal and see how pink flamingo jams turned into pirate slops in the 2010 Pirates in Paradise Pirate Surgeon's Journal.)

Secondly, when he wrote that Patrick hadn't yet decided on the hat band he was going to use as he explained. When I received it, it had a thin, leather belt with a buckle as the hat band. In 2009, I learned that this belt had been one of a pair that Patrick used to keep his bedroll wrapped before he thought his new hat. He tried it. It fit, it looked right, so he used it. (The downside being that he now has only one leather belt to keep his bedroll wrapped.

Patrick Hand
Photo: Mission
Patrick Hand - The Prince of Pirates
This brings us to my involvement with the hat. After seeing it in the photo on Patrick's head, I knew this was the hat for me. It reminded me of my fedoras, in an an even more exaggerated way. So I contacted Patrick in early 2007 and asked him if he'd make me one. I said I would be happy to pay for it. He agreed to do so.

Now, Patrick is the Prince of Pirates, as I've stated repeatedly in my Journals. He's very creative and always willing to help. He is also quite interesting to talk to. (About anything. He can literally talk on any subject, often in a rather protracted way. He also bounces from topic to topic with a nimbleness that is astonishing to behold.)

Mission in a Cocked Hat
Photo: Jessica Bagley
Mission in a Cocked Hat.
(No, it doesn't
look right to me, either.)
However, Patrick is also easily distracted by new projects. Finding that I had not yet received my copy hat in October/November, I began to worry. I even bought a cocked hat for the event - just in case - which you see in the photo at right. (Note: you may think I am wearing tricorn in the photo here. However, they were not called tricorns until the 19th century, they were called cocked hats. 'Cocking' is the act of turning up the brim.)

I brought this hat with me to Pirates in Paradise and even dragged it along to several other events which I attended in 2008. I finally realized that transporting one felt hat safely from place to place was enough trouble without having to transport two of them. So I resigned the cocked hat to the skull in my living room. (What? Don't you have a skull in your living room? What's wrong with you?)

About a week or two before the Pirates in Paradise event, Patrick gave up hope on completing a new hat for me. Since he had promised to get me one, he said he would give me his original hat instead. (See? The Patrick Hand Original!)

Mission and the Patrick Hand Hat Silhouette
Photo: Jessica Bagley
The Patrick Hand Hat, Recognizable Even in Silhouette, Fort Taylor 2008
This was an honor unexpected. He also explained that he would make a new lining, so it would be like a new hat. He needn't have bothered. It is has since been on countless numbers of heads since then. But I appreciated the effort. He showed up on Saturday at Pirates in Paradise in 2007 and the Patrick Hand Original Planter's Hat became a part of my garb.

My comment at the time, from the Pyracy Pub version of the first Pirate Surgeon's Journal was, "...Patrick brought me his cool planter's hat which he sold me for a very fair price. Now I will wear it everywhere including to bed. OK, maybe not... Anyone want to buy a size 7-1/8 tri-corn? It was only worn once on the way to church."

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