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.