Wooden Hat Blocks are carved from wood using a combination of techniques combining machine and hand carving. It is a structure/mould upon which hats are ‘blocked’ .
When I started out in Millinery over 15 years ago in Ireland I found that purchasing Hat blocks from the UK or further a field prohibitively expensive. As I have a background in Fashion Design/Pattern cutting I managed to find ways around it! However over the past 5 years I have worked with various local wood-turners to source wood for, design and produce a basic range of Hat Blocks to help budding Milliners get started.
Students that attend my workshops or classes have a chance to try out the blocks with different fabrics such as Straw, Felt and Buckram. They learn how to prepare the block and the fabric, and also learn how to use the block, how to take the fabric off, cut and finish.
Blocks must be covered either in cling wrap or tinfoil before use to protect them from water, steam, dyes etc. Your Hat block will need special care, so a ‘Care of Hat block’ sheet will be included with your Hat Block.
When you purchase your Hat block you will receive information on how to use your block, and also how to combine it with other blocks to create a new look. This way you will get the best value and use from your blocks.
Combining Hat Blocks
Many of the Hat Blocks can be combined with other blocks to create a new look, or some of the blocks may be used in other/new ways so that you get the most out of your investment!
Suggestions for combining blocks Style 1 & 7, Style 1 & 1, Style 3 & 12, Style 3 & 1.
Style 9 can be used to block a Cloche hat, or a small brimmed Hat in Felt or Straw. You can also just use the top of the hat to block the crown of a hat with a larger brim.
To create a large brim Hat you can use Style 12. Although usually you would have a specific brim block to do this there is no reason why this slightly sloped base cannot be used for a brim.
Style 10/10b can also be used to block just the crown and add a brim using Style 12, or for a smaller brim Style 7.
I would strongly recommend learning/trying out this technique at an Improvers Workshop or a 1 to 1 session. There are many steps and a lot of hand sewing and measuring!