November 28, 2007

Making a brim block out of cork – Felt out of the block and oops…

Finally I took the felt out of the block but not before trimming out the excess felt with a new toy I recently bought myself at a craft fair. It’s called a chenille cutter made by Olfa. It’s similar to the paper cutter from 3M that I showed you on this post, only this works much better because it’s intended for cutting several layers of fabric, and the manufacturer even says that’s good to cut felt. I thought it was made to cut chenille, but after looking around on the web I see that it’s meant to make chenille, or at least something that looks like it, pretty cool actually.

Me, using the olfa chenille cutter

Well, back to my hat. I was very proud of myself after I unblocked. It looked like a hat! It looked pretty darn good!


The felt out of the block

   It does looks like a hat… I know it sounds silly but I was imagining everything that could go wrong and was not so sure about the whole thing.

I unblocked while at Nina’s workroom and immediately realised that it was too soft and needed some stiffener. I used the chemical smelly stiffener because it would not have been a good idea to use the waterbased one since the hat might have lost it’s shape. I felt wonderful and held the hat in my hand all the way back home (in the bus)… people must have thought I was nuts.

The BAD news. Either I have to chop off the top of Peter’s ears by one centimeter or I need to re-do the crown. BWAAAHHHH! Entirely my fault because I DID measure the distance between the top of his ear and the top of his head, wrote it down, worked it into my sketch and then FORGOT all about it until the moment I put it on Peter’s head. The underside of the crown (crease) has to slightly sit on top of the head, otherwise it will not be comfortable to wear. Or would it? I think not, but then I think about a top hat and that does not sit on top of the head…

Soooo… this is the plan (possibly doomed to failure). I am reworking the crown block. The height will go down, but mostly the crease will be deeper. I hope I will be able to save the brim, and just steam the crown, put it back on the crown block, tie the base with string and with the help of more steam I should (hope to) be able to work it into the new shape. What I reckon I cannot do is to simply lower the height of the crown without going down on the central crease because if I do that I will have excess felt and I wont be able ease it into shape. Even so, I will have excess felt and don’t have a clue how it will work out… possibly a mess…

Stay tuned…


  1. You may not want a seam at the headsize band but you could lower the crown by cutting the hat there and trimming off the 1/2 inch or so you want to be rid of. Originally the purpose of the hat band was to hide a seam. Just a thought. I am amazed at your success with your hat block project. It looks wonderful! K Q:-)

    Comment by Kate — November 28, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

  2. Separating crown and brim and trimming the excess is plan B, but I’d much rather fix the whole thing without mutilating the felt, if I can. It looks so neat in just one piece… so fingers crossed!

    Comment by cristinadeprada — November 29, 2007 @ 9:52 am

  3. I am horrified. What a scary proposition to re-do the block. Good luck with it…
    The hat DID indeed turn out simply gorgeous. I don’t blame you a bit for holding it all the way home.
    I still shuddering at the idea of a re-do.

    Comment by Jill — November 29, 2007 @ 11:54 pm

  4. You know what’s worse? I spent a couple of hours filing away and sanding the block, thick layer of cork dust on the balcony, measuring every couple of minutes and convinced I had changed the height quite a lot (definitely more than 1 centimeter), but after I put the felt back on the block today I don’t see the difference that much! I don’t think I’ve changed it enough to solve the problem, so it’s back out again, and I’ll have to give it another go…
    On the bright side, after I put the hat back on the block it seemed feasible to reshape it (with a wet cloth and small iron).
    But I’m with you Jill, re-do’s are never good…we’ll see…

    Comment by cristinadeprada — November 30, 2007 @ 12:04 am

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