Friday, 29 May 2015

Evolution of a hat

I thought I'd share a few picture of how I made this hat:

 First I prepare the felt (3mm think, soft) with 2-3 layers of my shellac mix and let it dry. I covered the while sheet (A3) with shellac because I thought I might use some of it for decoration. As important as the shellac is tea and chocolate. fruit are optional.

After drying I cut the felt to an "easier to handle" size. The hatblock has a diameter of 17cms. In the backround you can see I never work without the help of chocolates.  I use needles that are 0,7mm thick. I prefer the ones with a plastik top, because it means I don't need a thimble. They are about 1,5cm long.

I use an old fashioned kettle with a longish spout to create steam, which works really well. Then I pull it over the hat block and attach it underneath with the needle. I start at a 12 o'clock position, then 6 o'clock, then 3 o'clock, then 9 o'clock, then in between those and always opposite until the felt lies smoothly over the hat block. ( i take it off the hat block stand for most of that)

 this is what it looks like in the end. In between I always steam the felt on the hat block. And in the end I give it a good steam before I set it to cool down and dry.

This is what it looks like after drying and removing it from the hat block. 

I cut of the excess felt with sharp scissors.I kept this scrap, it looks funny and I thought I might turn it into something.

The next step is to attach the Petersham / Grosgrain ribbon. First I shape it with an iron so be a bit rounded. 

 Then I attach it by hand (lots of modern hats have it attached by machine, but I think by hand looks nicer).

 After that comes the decoration. I chose 3 feathers from pheasant and 5 short goose feathers dyed black. I cut 2 leaf/wing shaped pieces of felt, steamed then into shape and tacked all into place. On the inside I attached a small comb so the beret can sit on the side of the head nicely.

I'll try and add a picture of the hat on my head at some point soon, I promise.

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