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Kolpac-art - 2/21/15


"How to Make a Kolpac" by Pan Zygmunt Nadratowski. A Slavic male hat.


NOTE: See also the files: E-Period-Hats-art, hds-liripipes-msg, headgear-msg, Ldys-Headgear-art, Russian-Tffia-art, Simple-Wimple-art, turbans-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



This article was first published in the Winter 2005 issue of Slovo, the newsletter of the Slavic Interest Group.


How to Make a Kolpac

by Pan Zygmunt Nadratowski


Along with the Zupan, Delia (later Kontusz) and Szabla, the Kolpac became one of the main elements of "Polish Dress" starting in the mid-1500s. One of the earliest pictures is from a fragment of an engraving done by George Braun, figure 1, dating from 1572. Figure 2 is from an engraving of Polish nobles by Paprocki, dated 1586 [Gutkowska-Rychlewska, 1968].



Among their Sarmatian beliefs, the Poles devised a whole system of behavior regarding their headgear - its sizes and its uses [Bogucka, 1996]. This article will show you how to construct one, and what the typical construction costs will be. Total construction time is 20 minutes to an hour.





A - Half the circumference of your head at just above the brow line.

B - Overall hat height.

C - Front slope (measure between your brow line and hair line).

D - Back slope reference point (The distance between A and the large knot at the back of your skull, about ear height).

E - This will be the front wing peak of the fur side piece. 3" recommended height.

F - This will be the rear wing piece of the fur side piece. 2" recommended height.




1 x 1/2 yard of medium to heavy weight material (felt for a summer hat & brocade for winter). Or, you can use a couple of the large felt squares from the large craft chain stores (price approximately $2 per square).


1 piece of fur. Synthetic fur ("Faux Fur" by Fibre Craft available from Wal Mart, $2.97) or you can buy an old fur coat from a used goods store. I find ones with fur collars and use those for my hats, and typically pay $20-25 for them.


10 pins (approx.) to pin the pattern and pin the hat when sewing.

1 yardstick or ruler.


1 pencil


Some masking tape is optional.




You can use this pattern a couple of different ways. Either you can print out the pattern and use as-is (if your head is small enough), or make your own using the provided pattern as a model to work from. These directions assume the second option. I also created a scale for myself, after I knew what A was, and after I printed the pattern out. Printed, A was 5.75" long. Doubled, this exactly matched the circumference of my head at the brow line. So make a similar scale for yourself to get the positions right for the rest of the measurements.


Print out the pattern, and then take your measurements. You want to make a large rectangle that is as long as A, and as high as C plus F. So draw a line that is as long as A, then add the height of C & F to both sides of A. Then, at the top of C and bottom of F, connect the front and bottom to create the rectangle. Make sure you label A, since this is the bottom edge of the finished hat. Mark one side of this as "front," and one "back."


To get the B line, measure in about 4" from the back of the hat, along the top and bottom of the rectangle and make marks. Draw a line upwards that is as high as the circumference of your head.


Next, from the back, measure down 2" from A, and make a mark. Label this is as E. Draw a line between E and the bottom front corner of your rectangle at F. This will delineate the bottom edge of your flap to which you will sew the fur. It should slant towards the back (see the drawing). At the back, measure up about 1.75" and make a mark. Label this D. Use the ruler to draw a straight line between D and B, and again between C and B. This will complete the top peak of the Kolpac.


The front of the hat needs to be a little tight, and the fur flap needs to have a slight forward slant. To get this, place the ruler at the intersection of F and A, and measure back in along A from the front of the hat 1/4" and make a mark. Use the ruler to draw a straight line from the bottom corner of F to this mark and from C to this mark. This will give the necessary slant to the front of the Kolpac and the fur. The pattern is finished. You can give your lines nice curves at the peak, front and rear as nice finishing touches by referencing the drawing, if you wish.


Once you have all the measurements, construction is straightforward. Fold your fabric in half (if long enough, otherwise place the two pieces of your fabric together), right side out, and place the top of the pattern along the fold. Pin it in place. When cutting, leave 1/4" to 1/2" (I chose 1/4") as a seam allowance. Once the fabric is cut, remove the pattern. Turn the hat inside out so the right sides are together and the wrong sides are out. Pin the hat shut (leaving your 1/2" allowance) along the seams. Sew the hat shut along the open seams to the fold line (on the pattern, the hem is the dotted line). Make sure that when you sew the back, you DO sew the wings together (this will be at the short part of the wing - see pattern diagram). When finished, turn the hat right side out.


Fold the fur in half, wrong side out. Pin the pattern to the fur on the wing part only. Place the back of the pattern at the small part of the wing on the fur, and cut the fur leaving no more than 1/2" seam. Make sure to complete the wing by cutting the fur along the A line. If you are using a real fur collar for this, you may have to carefully cut and sew it to size and shape.


Fold the wings of the hat down. Pin the fur to the wings, wrong sides together. Roll the edge of the fur over about 1/4" before you pin. Then sew the fur (I used a top stitch) to the wing. Flip up the fur so that the fur side is out. You're done!


If the fur sheds, use masking tape to gently pick it off the finished Kolpac.




Kolpacs were finished with jeweled brooches which had feathers stuck in them (pheasant or egret were typical, but any justifiable plumage will do). I have found appropriate brooches (I call them "Old lady scarf pins") at Salvation Army and Goodwill stores, as well as merchants such as Pillaged Village. Any craft store carries a variety of feathers, and they may also be found on eBay.


As you can see, the Kolpac is not very difficult to make, and is a great accessory to anyone with a Slavic persona. For someone with a male Polish persona, it's practically required! I hope these instructions have been useful and fun.




Kontusz [con-TOOSH] - a Polish overcoat.

Delia [del-EEE-ah] - a Cape-like over garment, usually with detached or semi-attached sleeves.

Zupan [ZOOP-ahn] - Polish undergarment, a caftan derivative.

Szabla [SHAHB-lah] - a Saber.

Kolpac [COHW-pahk] - a hat, trimmed in, or lined with, fur.




Bogucka, Maria, The Lost World of the 'Sarmatians': Custom as the regulator of Polish Social Life In Early Modern Times. Warsaw: Polish Academy of Sciences, 1996.


Gutkowska-Rychlewska, Maria, Historia Ubirow [A History of Costume]. Wroclaw-Warsaw-Krakow, 1968.


The Kolpac pattern is used by permission of Rick Orli, from his website at http://www.kismeta.com/diGrasse/Costume/clpkptrn.jpg. Measurements added by the author.


Copyright 2007 by Tom Nadratowski. <panzygmunt at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>



Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org