August 16, 2008

Beehive hat “crossroads” – another hat with the new block

Beehive hat crossroads version

Here are some pictures of the block and of the process of making this hat (click on any of the pictures for an enlarged view).

This is the seagrass cone used for this hat. People not familiar with the hatmaking process will be interested in seeing this (often people don’t understand how the whole thing works!):

Seagrass cone

And this is the new block, that I love, bought at Van der Broek block makers in the Netherlands. Their website is in Dutch, but soon they will have an English version:

Hat block - beehive


I’ve simply sprayed the cone with water and blocked the top (it’s an easy shape to block). the headsize opening sinks into the block, so I’ve used a sort of brace to get a neat finish. I made the brace following a tutorial from the incredible and highly recommended The Hat Magazine. It’s from one of the early issues, and I had not found a use for it until now!

Blocked seagrass cone  Underside of the block  Headsize brace

Below are pictures of me, pinning the brace in place with my wonderful new tool, the pin pusher. I discovered the tool through HATalk e-magazine. It was one of their monthly giveaways, and when I contacted them about it they said I could buy it directly from them. Two pin pushers (one for me and one for Nina!) cost £19.85 including shipping (from UK to Spain), which I find very reasonable.

I’m in love with my new tool. You insert a pin which is held in place (inside a shaft) by a magnet. Then you just push the pin in place (it has a spring). Soooo easy, no more fussing with hammers! In order not to push the pin too deep I have used a collar that came with a drill bit I bought some time ago and that is fixed in place with a little screw.

Inserting the brace on the headsize opening My new pin pusher! Love it! Close up of the pin in place

…There’s much more… click where it says “more” to see the rest.

 The unblocking is relatively easy, following the curve of the block. The headsize opening will be streched a little bit, put nothing that cannot be fixed later on when sewing the grosgrain ribbon. I sewed the grosgrain ribbon with the sewing machine because by hand it would be messy and not very secure. Then it was time for the trimming. The same vintage cording (rayon as it turns out, not silk) that I used on the other hat, only this time there’s more of it and it took a long time to sew it on (long stitches on the inside, tiny ones on the outside). I had problems with the cording tension, because as I sewed the last bits, the first ones got looser.

Direction for unblocking the hat Pinning the trimming in place Long stitches on the inside, tiny ones on the outside

 The ends of the cording are hidden underneath just at they reach the headsize ribbon, and are sewed in place on the underside.

Ends hidden below   Ending sewed under the ribbon 

More pictures of the finished hat:

Side view of the hat Back view of the hat The other side of the hat

You can see all available pictures following this link to flickr.


  1. Bravo! Well done, beautifully explained and photographed. so enjoy your posts. Another gorgeous hat. Thanks, Jane

    Comment by Jane C — August 16, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

  2. Thank you for your kind words Jane.
    Your blog and your comments in mine always manage to lift my spirits!

    Comment by cristinadeprada — August 17, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  3. Fab. Miss J loves to see teh work in progress pics. She linked to this…

    Comment by Miss Janey — August 18, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  4. Hi ,I love your hats !!!!
    and nice lines in the design,colours . and cheeky looks


    Comment by Lina stein — September 18, 2008 @ 9:52 am

  5. Gracias por tus explicaciones me estoy iniciando en este fascinante mundo y agradezco las ayudas pero todo eninglés me cuesta y las direcciones muybien pero vivo en Canarias y hay muchas trabas para las importaciones e incluso envíos de península.
    Iré aprendiendo de lo que voy viendo por ahora.

    Comment by María — November 7, 2011 @ 9:19 am

  6. Do you know what issue of The hat magazine the “brace” techinque was written in? I am using blocks similiar locks to you and this might be able to help me.

    Thank You!


    Comment by Wayne — December 22, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  7. Hi Wayne,
    I don’t know exactly but it’s one of the early ones…
    It would be nice if there was an index of The Hat Magazine, we should ask for it!

    Comment by cristinadeprada — December 22, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

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