Sep 11, 2013, 9:19 AM - Carnac the Magnificent Turban/Hat
I make costumes for a lot of different subcultures, but this week I'm currently working on a project for my husbands' pirate performance group, and I'm a little stumped. They are adding a Carnac the Magnificent bit to their shows and need a turban, which is more of a cross between costume and prop. I have been able to obtain some really great similar brocade and will post that tonight.
There are a couple of ideas I've had to make this and I'm not sure which one would work best - and possibly there are other options I'm not thinking of. Initially, I had thought I would use a Styrofoam half sphere and a wreath type styrofoam to go around the sphere, but carve off the front a little (because it's away from his face) and then wrap it with quilt batting and then the fabric and decorate, etc. The half sphere seems too big, though I'm fitting a size 23-1/8" head, I have to allow some kind of room for the fabric to be tucked in around the inside. The other option I've thought of was to buy a capeline straw hat, but it's only really available for women. I considered I could make some vertical slits to make it larger and even sew in some elastic, and also zig-zag the ends of the slit so it doesn't continue to tear, and then do the same - wrap it in a layer of quilt batting and then the fabric.
Because the film and the stills are so grainy from the 1970's, I was at least able to obtain a picture of what is supposed to be the actual turban. Someone is trying to put together a prop museum and it would appear either the show or Johnny's personal estate donated it. At first I was thinking it would be in the Johnny Carson museum in Norfolk, NE (my home state) but alas, I found it wasn't there and couldn't see it in person.
The turban is going to have to be able to stand up to the elements as the performances are usually outside, rain or shine, snow or sweltering heat... And it's also going to have to be able to be transported as they travel half the year - as well as whatever ad libs they may do to it on stage.
Any constructive suggestions are welcome!
Last edited by Captain Carter; Sep 11, 2013 at 9:40 AM.
Sep 11, 2013, 4:56 PM - Re: Carnac the Magnificent Turban/Hat
I would think either a waterproof foam or sytrofoam would be a good place to start, especially if it's got to be able to stand up to elements. You could use something like a bicycle helmet as a base and add the shape on top of that, or use expandable foam and carve/shape it to the correct shape.
I did find this link that might have more info or ideas:Yahoo! Groups
Or you could order one of these and take it apart use the material as a pattern to make it out of your own fabric and maybe use the inside material as well.
Aladdin Panto Arabian Sultan Nativity Genie Gold jumbo Fancy Dress Hat | eBay
Sep 11, 2013, 8:55 PM - Re: Carnac the Magnificent Turban/Hat
If it's a pirate, have you guys thought about adding the beads and feathers to a pirate-style hat? Kind of a cross between a pirate and a fortune teller.
Sep 12, 2013, 12:56 AM - Re: Carnac the Magnificent Turban/Hat
Thanks for your help! I did see that Yahoo group as well. We are wanting the turban to not be too heavy on top but heavier around the brim. Expandable styrofoam is an interesting idea. I've not ever worked with it before.
I'm going to shop again tomorrow and get a few more things to be able to visualize what could work. I'll check out the expandable styrofoam too.
Sure wish it could be that straightforward but they are going with a non pirate fortune teller. You'll have to check it out sometime !
Sep 12, 2013, 1:14 AM - Re: Carnac the Magnificent Turban/Hat
Honestly I'd just carve a ring of upholstery foam! Easy stuff to work with, squashes round your head so you don't have the polystyrene rigidity and damage issues, and it covers -beautifully- with fabric. Easy to carve with scissors and an electric carving knife and glues easily with contact adhesive.
I used it for years to make all sorts of soft fabric-covered costume pieces. Works a treat.
Alternatively, I think what they've done there is to sew a tube of fabric and stuff it with poly fibre, sew it into a ring and then cover it with the ruched outer fabric, sort of like an inner tube and tyre kinda thing. The foam is lighter, the polyfil will give you the more authentic shape. Hats are fun, heh.
Sep 12, 2013, 10:10 AM - Re: Carnac the Magnificent Turban/Hat
Had a new idea today.
How about using something like this as a base and re-covering it with fabric?
Boppy Pillow with Wildflowers Slip Cover
Boppy Newborn and Infant Lounger - Geo : Target
Sep 19, 2013, 8:10 PM - Re: Carnac the Magnificent Turban/Hat
Very, very much appreciate the suggestions! I ended up using a myriad of ideas and read through a few millinery books. I now have the interest in making hats, including the pirate hat I've been making for myself, and the Imperial Guard hat to add to the jacket and pants.
In the end, the guys wanted the turban to be large. The original is pretty large though, so in comparison, I'm not sure exactly how close I was. The guys also wanted me to be sure to add the resin Screaming Skull that is their logo. We made a mold and cast quite of few of these, and I hope to make buttons as well since we had quite a few sizes. That feature also makes it different from the original.
I picked up a styrofoam ring and also a half-sphere. I wrapped the ring with material and sewed the end by hand:
The also covered the half sphere and attached the ring to the sphere by sewing it together:
I had purchased a ladies straw capeline hat for support. Devin's head was 23-1/8" and the hat seemed to be more like 22" so I used the buttonhole feature on my sewing machine to ensure the ends wouldn't ravel and yet it would give it a chance to open and fit properly:
And hand sewed again to the ring and sphere frame:
Next came the quilted batting and stuffing. Cut the quilt batting into 9" strips and sewed together so they could continue winding and used the stuffing on the inside to form the shape and also to give it more volume:
I then used pins to hold the brocade in place while I sewed the brocade onto the inside of the hat. I also ran the brocade through the serger so the ends stopped unraveling:
Prepping to decorate - 2 out of 3 I feel are pretty accurate. Didn't have as much luck as I wanted to but will continue. I think on the show they either had a couple turbans, or they continued to add decoration to it.
I still have to purchase a much better ostrich feather for it, but for the weekend, what I was able to find locally worked until then. Abu Simbel (not Carnac) was able to perform...
Last edited by Captain Carter; Sep 19, 2013 at 8:21 PM.
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