First time round I had used the tutors' pattern for a hat block, but this time I decided that I wanted to be more adventurous and make my own. A quick search on 1940s hats provided lots of inspiration images, both family photos and studio images.
|1940s wedding photos - unfortunately I forgot to note the sources|
|A selection of more formal shots|
From these I decided that the two things I wanted were a tall, narrow crown, and a soft dent in the top of the crown. I had some ideas of how I might create a block to achieve this, but wasn't sure if it would work.
I forgot to take any in-progress shots, but the crown started life as a cone shape in paper. I drew on the top and bottom edges, cut out the shape, tidied it up a bit and then used this pattern to cut the card. I cut a second card piece, ½" lower and slightly narrower. Later I realised that I should have drawn this second piece with the vertical join line in a different place, but it wasn't an insurmountable problem. I taped the smaller piece of card together, and drew round it to get the shape for the block top.
The top was taped in place, and the shape stuffed with newspaper to make the block. Then I taped the larger piece of card round the outside, and added a sausage of rolled-up newspaper round the inside. this was taped into place, and the whole thing covered with tape.
|The completed block, with dented top|
As soon as I saw the range of felt hoods available, I knew that I wanted one of the rust ones because I had the perfect trims for it at home. It was a good choice; the hood turned out to be one of the nicest and easiest to work with that I've ever used. Some hoods just don't want to play ball, but this one was perfect. I needed to shape it to be flattish at the top, then pulled into a far narrower cone than usual, and then to splay out again for the brim. A big ask, but it came together effortlessly. I thought that I would need some sort of weight to hold down the dent in the top, but it just stayed in place.
|Blocked and ready to dry|
There is no denying that the end result does look a bit like a chimneypot, though!