Thursday, June 2, 2016

Getting Your Hat into Shape

I’m back this month to tell you a little more about how your hats are made. Did you know that hats have to shaped on special molds called hat blocks? Hats which are mass produced in factories are usually blocked on metal blocks while hats made by hand are normally made on wooden blocks.

When common hat making materials, like felt, straw and sinamay, are exposed to hot water or steam, the fibres in these materials become flexible and they can be stretched or ‘blocked’ over the wooden or metal hat blocks. The dampened material is stretched over the block as tightly as possible and then pinned into place. Once dry, it is removed from the block but keeps its shape. The photo below shows some straw being stretched over a block to create a hat shape.



Owen Morse-Brown, a good friend of mine from England, is a master hat block maker. He and his team carve hat blocks out of wood so that milliners, or hat makers, can make their hats exactly the right shape. Here’s one of his beautiful blocks - shaped especially to make a bowler hat.



To see more of Owen’s hat blocks, go to www.hatblocks.co.uk. To find out more about how to start making hats of your own, subscribe to HATalk e-magazine today! Red Hat Society Members get an amazing 70% off the normal subscription price. Sign up now for just $19.95 a year!

Becky Weaver – HATalk Editor



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