I sprayed a sisal straw cone (a “second” I bought at the Kopka sale) with water in order to block it on a vintage cloche block but as I was manipulating it (and wondering which was the right side) I became fascinated with the shapes it was taking, as if it had a life of its own, and finally decided to shape it by hand and skip the blocking altogether.
It was talking to me, and I listened.
I folded the edge under twice over itself for a neat edge finish and adjusted the final shape on top of a cork head, to make sure it would sit comfortably on the head.
I applied a coat of straw stiffener (the chemical stinky type), but it was too thick (the bottle must have stayed open too long at some point) and in some areas it left a white film on the straw when it dried. I had to spend a couple of hours, in panic, rubbing those spots with a cloth soaked in alcohol until I finally managed to clean it and then I reapplied stiffener (from a different bottle!). It has a nice varnish shine (which can become a problem when applying this kind of stiffener because you lose the natural look) but in this case I believe it looks good.
This is the raw material:
The hat is finished on the inside with a grosgrain ribbon, and as you can see on the picture below I had to pleat the ribbon on one spot to make it stay flat (on second thought the ribbon should have been joined there, duh!). The hat is comfortably kept on the head thanks to an elastic band (the ones you buy ready made finished with metal ferrules that slide between the stitches of the grosgrain) . Some detail pictures:
I love manipulating straw and felt and letting the material talk to me, it’s strangely therapeutic.
I also like the fact that every time the result is unique.