Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Homemade saucer block update and making my own blocking springs

Further to my last post, I am really pleased with how the block turned out.
Having blocked some red sinamay on it, I stitched brim reed and bias sinamay to the edge, added a red ribbon covered head band...and then went festive!

I recently posted on facebook that I make my own blocking springs (saves all that pinning and string!), this is how they are used

and this is what I use to make them, red hollow polythene belting, sometimes called red quick go, or hollow poly tubing. I use 8mm diameter, and use these tiny metal connectors that push into either end. Bear in mind once in, they can't be removed. If you intend trying it out, cut your tubing slightly smaller than you need as it will stretch, and you do want a good tight fit.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Necessity is the mother of invention - making a hat block

The last year or so has held a lot of tears and heartache for myself and my family, hence no posts on my blog....but hat making keeps me going, and I am just sharing my experiments on making a hat block.

My latest idea for a fascinator required a small saucer block, which of course I didn't have! So after a bit of head scratching and rummaging through the cupboards - here's what I came up with.

I used a small fascinator crown block as the basis of my block. But I could have used a small bowl, it didn't need to be wood, it could have been anything of the correct shape.

Next I marked out a thin plastic chopping mat with the shape required. The inner circle is slightly smaller than the diameter of my basic block and the outer circle is the overall diameter that I wished the fascinator to be. I then cut this out, cutting through from the outer to inner circle so that I could overlap it and create a concave shape.

I then taped it to my block and covered the whole shape in clingfilm.

After the event, I realised I should have just covered just the block in clingfilm and not the plastic collar, it would have been easier for removing, but hey ho...we live and learn!

Then I applied 3 layers of damp buckram, carefully pulled to shape and pinned the center. I use wig pins as these do not rust , and around the edge I used plastic paper clips (again no rust marks).

Once totally dry I removed it from the block (leaving the plastic collar as extra stiffening) and trimmed. I can always put it back on the block to pin the center but obviously I cannot pin the edges, so it will have to be paper clips or similar. As the edge will be trimmed I am not too worried about marks, and I will press with an iron to minimise these.

I have to say, that if I intended to use this a lot I would probably stiffen more, either with layers of varnish or something similar.

And now it has a test hat on...3 layers of stiffened sinamay!

I hope you find this interesting and helpful. Yes I could have bought a block that would last me many years, but this was fun to make and gave me a great sense of satisfaction :)

I will let you know how it all turns out!