January 31, 2008

Finished cloche from German vintage block #3102

Filed under: German vintage hat block #3102,Millinery projects — Cristina de Prada @ 6:45 pm

The finished cloche!The hat is finished!I don’t know what you think… what do you think? My mom thinks it’s too plain like this and it needs “something”, but I cannot think of what to add there because the shape is really nice and after all it’s all about the shape with this hat. I’m open to suggestions!Here are other views of the hat:Top view of the cloche Right side of hatLeft side of cloche Inside of cloche with new cheapo woven label

January 22, 2008

Blocking the German vintage block #3102

Filed under: German vintage hat block #3102,Millinery projects — Cristina de Prada @ 11:37 am

Felt half way being blockedThe hat is well under way as you can see. I’ve used reed to mark the folds on the hat, like I did with the purple hat, and I’ve learned something in the process…

…I’ve noticed that when the pin is hammered vertical (talking now about the uppermost fold line), the felt pushes up as it dries and this shrinking causes a loss of definition (the felt is no longer in contact with the wood). I guess this happens because there is more felt surface on the upper part and that results in more shrinkage. On the other hand, when the pin is perpendicular it holds the felt in place much better.

Actually if you look at the picture on the left it looks like I was completely drunk (which I wasn’t, I promise) when I did it. The idea in my mind was that if I pinned in different angles the reed would stay in place, which is a valid idea, but the expected direction of the shrinkage should also be kept in mind.

Detail of the block... how did they block the felt?One funny thing is that when I look at the existing holes on the block I cannot, for the life of me, understand how they blocked it. The pin holes are all over the place, around, not on the fold, so I would love to hear your theory on this because I’m completely baffled by the markings.

Underside of block, notice excess felt to be trimmed awayOn the left you can see the underside and there are a few interesting things to notice. One is the hotel shower cap I’ve used to protect the block which was a suggestion from Meg, second is the fact that I’m using reed on the underside also to clearly mark the headsize and have an easier job when trimming the felt. And finally the fact that there was sooo much extra felt that I had to trim some of it in order to finish up the work (the picture is before trimming).

The whole process took some time because I had to carefully pin the reed on every fold and although I microwaved the felt first (using non flammable sizing) , I also had to periodically steam the felt (old fashion way) to pull it into place. Also, although I’m using hardened steel pins they tend to bend when I hammer them and that gets to my nerves! Any suggestion about the pins is welcome, but I don’t want to use the millinery push pins that are on the market because those make a huge hole on the block.

Soon I will post pictures of the unblocked felt (Jill, no worries, I managed to get it out), which still needs some trimming.

You can look at all the pictures I’ve taken if you follow this link.

January 11, 2008

New Project: German vintage block #3102

Filed under: German vintage hat block #3102,Millinery projects — Cristina de Prada @ 10:53 pm

Left side of the block Front view of the blockRight side of the block Back view of the block Underside of block... apparently model 3102

With the Homburg finished, now it’s time to move ahead onto the next project.

I’ve just received a block I bought on Ebay from a German vendor. I was a bit weary because the feedback for the vendor was not as high as I hoped, but then I saw that some people had bought blocks that were obviously in very bad condition (you could see that in the picture) and afterwards posted feedback saying “hey this block is crap”… well duh!

My purchase went well and I got my block well packed and in good shape. There are lots of tiny pin holes all over, but that is normal on a used block and was visible on the pictures. I wish I had known the size though (which is marked on the bottom, 57) but on the description it said all blocks are between 56 and 59 cm… I wonder if I had asked if they would have replied with that info.

Anyway, the block is wonderful but I paid way too much for it so I’m not going to tell you how much exactly.

Next thing for me will be blocking some felt over it. I’m going to use a mustard colored velour cone that I have in my stash, and to be honest I have NO idea what the final hat will look like… funny isn’t it? I have the block but I cannot visualize how it will look on the head. We will have to wait for that.

I’m not too worried that the block is one size too small because I believe it will be easy to stretch a little bit (fingers crossed!)

That’s all for now… Stay tuned for more!

P.S. Sorry about the  lousy quality of the pictures! You can click on them to enlarge (for an even blurrier -but larger- image)

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