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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"Hat of the Week": Changing the Style

Brown tilt fedora

The title of this blog post actually refers to two things: First, the different ways this hat can be worn. And second, how dramatically the shape changed from what was blocked.

Felt hats are made by steaming felt and shaping it over a wooden form called a hat block. The hat block determines the shape and size. That means that ideally you need a different block for each size and shape you want to make. But blocks are very expensive, so it is possible to make some changes and play around with the finished shape.

A wooden upturn brim block and basic dome crown block.

I bought the hat block set above on eBay. It is a vintage set, and it was probably one of my earlier hat-block purchases. The crown is a basic dome shape. The crown then pushes down through the brim shape you see in the back, so the brim has a dramatic upturn. Very 1960s. And when I pulled the felt out of this blocked shape ... I did not like it. It was too intensely dramatic and too dated (but not in a popular vintage way).

Freshwater pearls and seed beads
on the bow.
As you can quite obviously see, the finished shape is completely different! This is one of the things that can make millinery work very fun and creative. I cut the brim down to almost nothing, leaving an upsweep at the front and right. Then I "bashed" the crown. "Bashing" is a term for creating a fedora shape crown by hand.

The brim edge is wired to hold its shape and bound with a matching grosgrain ribbon. It has a pinky mauve bow for feminine style. And beading! Freshwater pearls and seed beads.

The reason I call this hat a "tilt" fedora is because it's smaller than the average woman's head size. I designed it to be worn tilted to the left on head sizes 22.25" and larger. It is a very vintage style — but this time 1940s instead of 1960s. The crown is high, too, which makes it a dramatic style. It's not a hat for the shy hat-wearer! But if you have confidence, you can totally pull it off.

And what about ladies with head sizes of 22" or smaller? Then this hat can be worn just as a regular fedora, straight down on the head. If you're on the edge between sizes, you can choose to wear it down onto your head or higher, perched and tilted.

A girl with a small head size shows how the high
crown can be worn straight down on the head.
(Photo by Ting Shen.)

This hat is 35% off through July 6 only. No coupon code is needed.

I welcome questions about the processes I use to make my hats or about my creative inspirations.

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