Cap Lingo - Crown & Peaks

Which bit's the crown? Which is the peak? And a little bit more about them..

I know, this is the raw basics of a cap. BUT you would be surprised how many folk I have come across who aren't quite sure straight away or just don't know. I think that's understandable if it's something you don't talk about each day! So if you've wanted to ask or talk about a custom shape.. without awkwardly asking, then this one's for you.

Basics of cap lingo - which is the crown, where is the peak? 

For starters, the crown is the part of the cap that is the main bit of the cap, that goes over the head and the peak is the name for the flat bit at the front.

A brim is also the name for the edge or flat bit that goes all the way around a hat and would change a cap into a hat. The hard insert that goes into a cap peak is also called a peak knife.

Flat cap with 8 segment crown

Flatcap made from blue check wool & 8 segment crown

Crowns can also be made from multiple pieces of fabrics, also called panels or segments, depending on who you ask! So for flat caps for example, the crown can be made from upto 8 segments or pieces of fabric and this effects the overall volume, as you can add more fabric to each segment and maintain the style, but also therefore play with the final shape too.

Brick cloche cap £55 inc p&P

Brick cloche cap available here (also comes in grey & navy)

So the cloche cap above and the flatcap further up are both made with 8 pieces of fabric in the crown. They don't look the same though, do they? That's all in the shape of the individual fabric pieces and how they are sewn together.

Then there's earflaps that cover the ears for caps like trappers, sometimes also called wings.

Stack of cap peaks ready to sew and attach 

As for peaks, at the moment the peak knifes that I use for the inside of the basic cap peaks all come from a random ebay find of cap patterns, which are mainly for flatcaps. It is literally one of the best things I've found EVER. It was one huge box that was full of the original heavy pattern pieces from a cap making factory, from sometime in the 80s I think (based on info written on some pieces)..

But there were also some odd extras too, like a stack of peak knifes, some fake leather buckle trims & other weird and wonderful cap related things.

Cap patterns from an ebay lot spread across the floor

Snapshot from when the amazing ebay find first arrived & just a fraction were spread across the floor of my old flat

For me this is an amazing find as I get really geeky about working out cap patterning and it gives me a lot of info, but a lot is a mystery too. I don't know their seam allowance for example, or any of the final style shapes and there's not a lot of info written on some of the pieces. Some are tied together, some aren't, so it's a mystery what cap some pattern pieces were for. BUT because it's my trade too, there's a lot I trust and can figure out. (And well I love a good puzzle and you might have guessed I def love cataloguing things too, so excuse me while I catalogue a large box of cap patterns and have the best time ever :P)

FOR NOW I want to use up all the plastic peak knives from that find and I'm amazed how long they've kept me going to be honest! But from a sustainability point of view I wanna use up something that already exists. Then move onto making the peak knives out of something recycled. For the fisher caps I already use ones made from fibreboard, as this is a different shape, and these are made from recycled materials. Whereas cloche caps and trapper caps have no inserts/knives and are made entirely from fabric.

So if you have lots of plastic waste and you want to do a collab on peak knives let me know! I'm on the hunt already..


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