The pakol hat is not a headwear of terrorists, as some people think. It is an ancient piece that was worn by men millenniums ago. This headgear is very curious because of its unusual shape and its convenience. Let’s find out some more about the pakol and traditional ways of manufacturing it by hand. It turns out, the process is not as simple as you would have thought.
The pakol is the traditional men’s headwear in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a woolen round-topped hat with rolled-up sides that form a thick band. The pakol is worn like a beret. A wearer can regulate and adjust the rolled-up sides to fit the weather, mood, or fashion. When the sides are rolled out, the hat resembles a cylinder about a foot or more long.
This hat is very practical and comfy. It is especially good for cold mountain climate. In warmer climates, men use pakols the whole year round; in colder areas, they wear such headdresses in summer, spring, and autumn. The hat works great for protection from the cold, from winds, and from the hot sun. Because of the fine natural wool used to make a pakol, the head isn’t sweating and freezing, no matter what the weather is. The material is hygroscopic but the hat doesn’t feel wet and dries very fast.
The color of a pakol is always natural. This headpiece is made and dyed by hand. Only natural colorings are used, so, usually, the color of the pakol is brown, sandy-yellow, gray, black, and sometimes green or red-brown.
Twisted pakol. How is it made?
There is a range of variety in pakol design. Among the prettiest, there is a twisted pakol – a hat with pleats on the side band. It is a very festive-looking headdress.
The twisted pakol hat is made in one of the Pakistani provinces. The local artisans take pride in making this style of a pakol perfectly. A number of steps are taken in the manufacturing of the twisted pakol.
After a careful selection of the sheep wool fabric, the round top is cut out. The top could be of various sizes to fit a head. 1,5 inch in breadth, 4 frames are also cut out from the same piece of cloth, making 10 inches length in total – for a 10-inch top pakol.
Other pieces are cut out for about 36+36 inch in length and 4 inches in width. They are used to make the twist. All parts are put together, the twists are made first with the help of a little knife. After making the twist, the total size is adjusted to 23 inches. The total number of twists is 48.
The frame is attached to the fabric to keep the top of the hat straightened and tight. While the sides of the headgear will be flexible and soft.
The inside of the hat is lined with polyester to keep the head warm. The extra fabric is removed.
Now, 2 more tops are cut out. One of them is from a thick fabric – to keep the top as straightened and tight as possible.
All tops are attached to the frame. The extra part of the frame is removed.
The top of the pakol is ironed on both sides. The inset part is turned inside out, connected to the upper part and adjusted. The extra fabric is removed.
The pakol is made from the inside and then turned inside out so the right side of the hat is on top. Now, the last adjustments are made, and the twisted pakol is ready.
The process of making a pakol
The pakol hats are popular not only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are also widely used, for instance, in Russia and India. This headdress is a great male accessory and a traditional piece of clothing. A remarkably similar headpiece was worn by males in ancient Macedonia more than 2,000 years ago.