Thursday, 26 July 2012

Making a Fosshape hat..

The last week or so have been madly busy and at last we have glorious sunshine and heat, just in time for the Olympics. As if I haven't enough to do what with some custom hat orders, plus making others for the fun of it, I thought I would take on a new project....

I love to experiment with new materials and I'd heard about a fabric called Fosshape, used primarily for costume making but also suitable for millinery. This is the description of it taken from their website, rather than me waffle on

'Fosshape is a unique patented non woven fabric. The breathable fabric can be cut to shape with scissors and sewn to itself or other fabrics. So what makes it unique?.......... Fosshape can be heated with a domestic steamer [or hot air gun] to form any shape. When heated the material will shrink and become stiff. Its breathable properties and very light weight make it ideal for stiffening costumes and making large headgear and costume props.'

This sounded so intriguing so I contacted the company who make it Wonderflexworld and they kindly sent me a small sample through their UK distributor Flints

and this is where the fun begins..

The sample was about 10 inches by 5 inches, and rather than cut it up and sew it, I thought it best just to try a simple shape at first. Decision was made to make a small half hat, and I cut the fabric into the shape I wanted ( I looks a bit like an eye mask!)

You have to apply heat to the fabric to stiffen it, and HOT heat via a hot air gun or iron or steamer. I thought I would use an old polystyrene head for my first attempt and use the iron. Just in case using the hot air gun ending up with a mess or burns.

I covered the head in a layer of wadding and then 3 layers of tin foil to protect it.

I put the iron on high and steam and then just ironed the fabric in situ. You can stretch and manipulate whilst heating, but as this was a small item and I only needed a symmetrical shape, I didn't bother. I just kept going over with the iron until I felt it 'was done' :) It does shrink in the process, but I found it was minimal and I had accounted for it when cutting my shape out.

This is it once cool and hardened..

and this is it on my new poly head that I've just painted! She is version number 2, and not finished yet, but I think I'm getting better at it!
My conclusions on Fosshape are, that it is much quicker to use than buckram, no waiting around for it to dry, and you also achieve quite a smooth surface, so I won't need to add an interlining. I am not sure what weight fabric I was given, but am inclined to think it was the lighter weight and I feel I will have to wire the edges for extra rigidity, but overall I'm very pleased with it. I felt that if I had a larger piece I could manipulate it quite well and get some good shapes from it. It costs quite a bit more than buckram, but for complicated items it would save a lot of time and therefore money.

Once I have played with this hat base a bit more....I will let you know how it goes... and pics will follow

cheers for now, have fun and enjoy the sun xx


  1. Thanks for sharing...although perhaps not the panacea for millinery....FOSSHAPE is still pretty useful....depending on the application. Not sure how Lady Gaga discovered it.

    1. Thermoman if you not seen it already you might like this :-)

  2. Great tutorial cannot wait to have a go myself :-) I know it's used in the production of theatre hats and costumes but not as yet widely used in Millinery as the norm. I cannot wait to use this product in my hat making when my sample arrives. Thank you for posting your blog link on my facebook group 'Mad Hatters'. Look forward to seeing the next posting :-) Kat the hat lady x