Here’s some more tips on hat making, following on my tutorial on making a hat block and shaping a felt hat!
- You can enlarge your hat block a little by taping strips of foam sheets to it. Foam is flexible enough to follow all the curves if you tape it tightly. When done, wrap it in clingfilm again.
- When I bought the materials for Athos’ hat I also wanted to get a capeline to make Aramis’ hat to sell to mitigate the cost of the stiffener and postage, but they didn’t have any in grey. The seller told me you can also make a hat like this from two cloches (smaller roughly shaped felt pieces, see the third picture), which is true but not a good idea!
- To change the felt’s shape as dramatically as this you need to steam it and stretch it repeatedly, and it’s less messy if you do that before you apply stiffener. But it takes many, many repetitions.
- It helps if you can keep the felt stretched or curved in the shape you’re aiming for while it cools down. You’ll lose this shape somewhat when you steam it again if you haven’t applied stiffener.
- I’ve found that applying stiffener with a sponge is much more effective than applying it with a brush, and the sponge won’t shed hairs. Dip a corner of the sponge in the (watered down, if the stiffener’s instructions call for it) stiffener and dab it onto the felt, then press it in. Don’t rub it, keep dabbing it to work the stiffener in.
And that’s it for now. But once again, for a Musketeer’s hat a capeline is a much better starting point than cloches! It’s much easier and much less work!