The making of The Sorting Hat

After the two weeks I spent working at the prop modelling department at Warner Bros. Leavesden Studios, I decided to push myself a bit more and try to make more challenging projects. So, I decided to build the iconic ‘Sorting Hat’ from the Harry Potter movies 100% from scratch.

This wasn’t only about building the hat, it was also about getting every detail right, being as accurate as possible, therefore I spent quite a lot of time re-watching clips from the films, collecting different photos to use as reference, deciding what type of fabrics were used, etc. just before starting. I didn’t want it to be just another fan made sorting hat, I wanted it to be as accurate as possible.

I started by buying some faux suede curtains, as it was cheaper than faux suede ‘off the roll’ and I didn’t want to buy real suede, as I thought it would be more of a challenge to age in a way that looked authentic.

I made templates for the brim and the crown (the pointy bit) from card.

In order to make the fabric thicker and easier to shape, I used an under-layer of interfacing.

Then started the sewing process which I did completely by hand and, considering it was my first time doing anything like this, I’m quite proud of myself.

I used some wire on the inside of the brim to keep it in shape, and then I attached all the patches, being very careful to be as loyal to the original as possible.

After attaching all the different bits, came the ageing process. Since the Hat is supposed to be many years old, in order to give it some age, I applied wax where it would naturally accumulate oil/grease and where the fibres would wear away. I also applied thinned acrylic paint to stain the hat, concentrating on more prominent areas and areas where it would be handled more. I also sanded some areas such as the edge of the brim.

The straps were made out of an old linen shirt which I dyed and aged by dragging the point of a pin down the length. The inside is lined with linen, which I also dyed.

Now… the hat was ready, but I didn’t have anything to display it on, so I did some research and I found photos of antique hat stands which, to me, looked like upside down wooden bowls on top of wooden candle sticks… so guess what: I went and bought a wooden candle stick and a wooden bowl, put them together and voila!… after a bit of painting and ageing I had an antique hat stand to display my sorting hat!

Please browse the galleries to see all the process of making my ‘sorting Hat’.