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!


  1. Might give this a go, thanks

  2. Might give this a go, thanks

  3. My millinery teacher in london used enamel radiator paint to seal hers! She glued rope around the edge so there was something to pin too!