Friday 14 August 2015

The Postillon Cloche

The past few days (well, over a week really, with several interruptions...) I've spent experimenting with free form felting. And I can only say: I love it. I found it a very sensual experience to work with the felt cones with all the steaming and manual shaping. It made me think about millinery and milliners in a completely different way. 
This friendly person is trying to present you her first felt hat creation. What you don't see is the totally enthusiastic 3 year old clinging to her left leg.

Anyway, some time (...ages...) ago I had bought a set of hat cones in light colours and I started by choosing the one with the colour I thought I'd wear least... in case it goes wrong you don't want to waste the really nice super colour. It was a bright yellow wool felt cone. Yellow happens to be the colour of the German Post. In the end I attached a wood button covered in very dark dark blue woolen fabric, and then I thought "this would go really well with the German Post work gear" and for a very short moment considered an alternative career. 
Despite the vigorous colour (that doesn't really suit me...) I really like the outcome for the first time felting. I learned a great deal of things about the directions of felting, about how the material behaves, ... and about needles. It is really annoying if your needles rust away while the hat is drying. As I had put it in the loft to dry, I didn't see what was happening right away so I unfortunately have a few rust stains that mark the ex-needle-holes. In a way I don't mind too much,  probably because the hat is ... yellow... although I guess it's great in winter on the bike - people will definitely see me... :) 
Talking about the weather - I can't answer the question why I made a wool felt cloche while the outside temperature was nearly 40 degrees Celsius. I also made a batch of dark chocolate macaron. 

40 degrees Celsius outside (nearly) - it WAS a little hot under that wooly cloche, I have to admit.

If you want to try free form felting, these are the things I learned this time
1. It is really good to thoroughly spray the hat with water the night before and keep it in an airtight plastic bag over night so it is nice and evenly moist. 
2. Hot water steam is still really hot.
3. Use needles that don't rust and that aren't too thick. 
4. Cover your hat block with cling film, it really helps cleaning up. 
5. When you brush your hat for the last finish, don't get carried away. I tried to remove a few of the rust stains by brushing the hell out of the felt with a suede brush, and while a few strokes really liven up the colour and texture, everything beyond "a few strokes" creates a fluffly sheep like surface. Unless you go for fluffy and sheeplike. It sure didn't help against the rust stains. :) 

 I wish you a lovely day. Enjoy! X


  1. It's lovely! Even if it is bright yellow. :-) I learned how to block cloche hats last year but haven't made anything but the one "experiment" hat yet. Yours looks so amazing, I want to give it another try, especially with Fall coming soon here.

    1. Thank you very much Lauren, I am definitely going to block some more cloches, too, maybe in more suitable colours. :) The leaves of the chestnut trees have started to fall here, too, so autumn can't be too far away. Cloche-wise - I can't wait! ;)