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Monday, April 24, 2017

The Journey of a Hat: Re-Blocking Felt

olive green fur felt beret with silk rosette and ribbon cockade

If you have a mass-produced hat and you want to change the trim, repair the shape or even re-block it entirely, you might be out of luck. With traditional millinery (no glue!), it can be much easier to do.

Usually, once I block a felt, I'm done with that part of the process. But in an odd twist of fate, it happened that I re-blocked one particular felt not once, but twice!

Blocking #1:

A post shared by Kristin Silverman 🎩👒 (@silverhillcreative) on

With a sharply squared-off crown and a cloche brim, I couldn't figure out how to make this shape look cute and wearable. It's a dramatic shape that might have worked for high-fashion, but not for a normal style hat. I never finished this hat.

Blocking #2: 

The felt became a free-form cloche with silk rosette and silk-wrapped band. This was one of my earlier creations, and I had listed it in my Etsy shop a long time ago. And it never sold.

In the meantime, my skills as a milliner improved. Some of my earliest work, I am still damn proud of. But this particular hat no longer met my standards for quality. I de-listed it from my shop and decided to re-block the felt. (Felts are expensive! Giving it new life was better than buying a new felt or "wasting" this one on a hat I wasn't proud of.)

Blocking #3: 

olive green fur felt beret

I was somewhat limited in what shapes I could use because the original felt had been cut down. A beret ended up being perfect!

I still admired the cloche enough that I wanted to pay an homage to it. So I kept the silk-wrapped felt and re-worked the silk rosette. The result is a feminine, elegant piece that I adore! (And unlike the extra-small size of the cloche, this is one-size-fits-all.)

olive green beret with ribbon cockade
Silk rosette and ribbon cockade.

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