December 10, 2007

The never ending story: still fiddling with the block

Hat after making changesI’ve been under the radar for quite a few days because of a family trip to Holland, but I have now a few hat stories to tell you. Before I do that I want to give you a little update on my homburg block/hat.

After some heavy sanding and filing I blocked the hat crown again.

Ironing to reshape

No microwave this time, instead I put the kettle on the stove to get some old fashion steam. Then with the help of my small travel iron and a wet cloth (which in combination produce a lot of steam) I managed with no problems to reshape the felt. On the down side, when I tried it on Peter again I could see that I had improved but it was not yet comfortable to wear, so I will give it another go soon (some more sanding and reshaping) because I want to be finished with it and move on to something else (possibly another hat block for myself this time).

Top view of the modified hat

You might look at the pictures and think that the hat looks exactly the same as it did before, but I can promise you that I retouched it so much as to produce a thick layer of cork dust covering the floor of the balcony.

It’s a fact that it sinks in too low for it to be comfortable, but I’m getting some doubts on whether the inner top of the hat should really rest on top of the head. I’ve seen some old pictures of men with high hats and it seems pretty obvious that the top of the head does not reach the top of the hat! Follow this link for a clear example! How on earth they were made to be comfortable I don’t know… perhaps once the headsize is the right one then the hat stays in place, but with the ribbon still to go it could be that the hat is now too big.  Another thought I’ve had is that possibly it would be more comfortable if the sides hugged the head a little bit, so my next modification of the block will go in that direction.

I am open to suggestions, so please let me know what you think!    




  1. We sometimes forget that those old fashioned, elegant fashions were anything but comfortable! That being said, I love your hat! Perhaps Peter is a *long oval* which is what I am. Hats tend to press my forehead and gap at the sides. An adjustment to the block could fix that.
    K Q:-)

    Comment by Kate — December 11, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

  2. I noticed that a lot of men’s hats had wide leather sweatbands. Maybe since leather conforms, like shoes, that causes the hat to ride more comfortably on the head? I also noticed that a lot of hats had a plastic or leather shield inside the tip of the crown. I don’t think it was there to support the hat on the head as much as it was to protect against hair products/hair oil. They shampooed a lot less way back when.
    It always looks in pictures like the men wore their hats pretty high up on their heads, with the band at the highest point of the temple before it curves on the crown.
    I know there are lots of articles out there about woman’s hat making, but I’ll bet there is some historic article about fitting cowboy hats, or mens hats in general.

    My grandfather worked in a men’s hat store until he retired. Wish he was still alive, he would know the answer to this.

    Comment by jill — December 12, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

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