Monday, 9 April 2012

My hat blocks

It's perfectly possible to make hats without hat blocks, you can knit and crochet them and you can make them out of flat pattern pieces. However, if you have a hat block your shape possibilities increases. Sadly hat blocks are quite expensive, but you can block hats on other things as well, like a bowl or pan- anything that has a shape you can turn into a hat. You can also make hat blocks yourself. Below is one a friend's husband made for me by glueing layers of plywood together and the cutting it into shape with the help of a bandsaw. This one has a very nice shape for a larger pillbox hat. Beside it is a large Styrofoam ball which you can use to shape a fascinator base.

I haven't tried it myself, but you can shape Styrofoam into a desired shape for a hat, but for obvious reason, that is a block with a limited life span. You can block several different material like felt, straw, seagrass and sinmay (banana fibre). You can also use buckram if you want to cover your hat in fabric.

I was very lucky to inherit several stocks from my grandmother Greta, though so far I have only used the basic hat block. You can get these is different head sizes, but if you happen to find one that is too small for your head, don't despair. You can buy caps that increases the size until it fits.

A beret block, which I plan to use for a hat in straw or sinamay.

A block with a slightly rounded top, smaller than my plywood block.

A bulb crown block.

A ribbon disk that you use to shape ribbons for the hatbrim.

What I don't have is a brim block, but it's perfectly possible to make brims anyway. All my blocks, apart from the beret one, can be used to make hats with our without brim.

A possibility if you don't want to make your hat form scratch but still want to decorate to your taste, is to buy bases that are already shaped. Here are a few a found at MacCulloch & Wallis that I think could be made into nice 40's style hats. I'm sure they can be found at other stores as well.


snippa said...

I've looked many times at those hat forms of Mac and W website. I'm taken with the idea of making hats. So far I've made a couple of straw fascinator types but would love to try blocking.
Thanks for sharing these pictures of your blocks - very helpful.

MelissaBee said...

I'm concerned about your choice of plywood for creating a block. Won't the steam and heat of shaping a hat release into the air some of the glues and other chemicals that are used to make the layers bond together to create plywood? At the very least won't steam and heat cause the layers to separate and therefore distroy the block?

Second Hand Rose said...

Such gorgeous hats, I would adore to have some hat blocks! XxxX

Isis said...

Snippa: It's very fun to decoaret hat! Making them too, of course. :)

MelissaBee: I think that would depend on the glue. I haven't made it myself, but it was made with the knowledge that heat and steam would be in contact with it and I haven't had any problems. But I don't know what kind of glue that was used- it was many years ago and I have lost contact with the maker.

Second Hand Rose: I think it can pay to look out for them in antique stores and such. Used one are usualy quite expensive too, but who knows, you may be lucky. A wood block can be used for a very long time.

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