My First Felted Hat

My First Felted Hat

Last time I posted, I’d been working on a hat template. A couple of days later I got a chance to work on it. I made a resist out of a large piece of dense plasticy foam stuff I had, probably some kind of packing material.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made a batt from some browns, greens and rusty orange Merino for the first couple of layers. I laid the first layer on the resist, wet it down, flipped it over then folded the wool in and finished the first layer on the other side. I repeated this colour on the second layer, but laid the wool at 90 degrees. For the third and fourth layers, I used more greeny shades, then I added some torn silk pieces (bottom right photo)

hat comp 1I felted it until it was holding together, then removed the resist. I knew it would be hard work, but hadn’t realised just how hard! I seemed to rubbing and shaping for ages. I thought a bowl I had would be good for fulling and shaping, but it was only good for a while, so I finished fulling and shaping it on my head. I didn’t consider that it would shrink some more so it ended up a bit too small. Using my head made it more of a cloche hat than a bucket hat too. But, not bad for a first go, I think.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe brim wasn’t very even, though it did feel good being smaller at the back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t think the brim was wide enough, at the front either. Some of the silk pieces came off and I realised I should have worked inside out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, upside down it does look a bit like those moulded cardboard bed-pans πŸ™‚

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI might rework the template and try again. Maybe πŸ™‚

33 thoughts on “My First Felted Hat

  1. I had a giggle at this – I could imagine how your arms must’ve ached when you used your head as a block! Perhaps next time use someone else’s head?

    Anyway, it’s a great cloche-type hat and I like the organic brim.

    1. Thanks, Lyn πŸ™‚
      I did have a laugh reading the comments, thinking of everyone imagining me doing all the felting on my head! I didn’t explain well, it was just the finishing off, tugging it into the right shape, then rubbing it to ‘fix’ it there. I did use my head as a ‘block’ for a bit though while it started to dry πŸ™‚

  2. Zed, you have made a lovely first hat! The colors are appealing to me, and I like the organic shape of the brim. About those silk pieces–have you tried to needle-felt them?

    1. Thanks Cathy πŸ™‚
      The felt pieces that are still attached are fine, just very ruffled πŸ™‚ Some just came off completely.

  3. The hat looks good. I can only imagine how hard that was fulling on your head, but you got a good massage out of it. πŸ™‚ I don’t think it looks like a cardboard bedpan. Actually, I like the look inside. And the unevenness of the brim makes it unique and kind of funky. How long did it take?

    1. Thanks, Marilyn πŸ™‚
      I didn’t keep track of how long, took probably a couple of hours altogether. I should re-word my post to say ‘shaping and finishing’ to avoid all future images of me rubbing my felty head for hours!

  4. It reminds me of an autumn leaf hat. Maybe just needle the silk enough to stay on to give that blowing leaf look.

  5. Great job for your first hat. It is always hard figuring out the shape of the resist and what you’ll end up with in the 3D shape. And sizing is a hard thing to do. I’ve made many pairs of slippers but my last pair is almost too small as well. But I really like the colors you chose and I’ve always liked uneven brims. Oh – and I like working inside out on hats. The embellishments seem to stay on better that way.

    1. Thanks, Ruth πŸ™‚
      I almost always work inside out with resist, especially with embellishments, maybe I’ll try one more time to get it right πŸ™‚

  6. Great job for a first hat. I like the colours and the shape. It is really hard to get a flat top from a flat resist template. You need something like an upturned bucket to put it on and really work the top down. I gave up trying and just sew a top on if I want it flat. I would try stretching it if its to small. Heat the wet hat up in the microwave and then stretch. Heating it makes it stretch easier. Be careful though they can get really hot in the microwave and you can get burnt. I have dropped one on the floor before now because it was to hot when I pulled it out. The best hats are stretched over the form when done. I don’t know why that is but they do seem sturdier somehow. Next thing you will be doing is scouring the second hand shops for hat blocks.

    1. Now I’m kicking myself for having sold my vintage wooden hat block a few years ago! That was before I learned about felting, of course.

    2. Thanks, Ann πŸ™‚
      I did try stretching, but I think I’d shaped and fulled it too much by the time I was finishing, it took a lot of tugging when it was on my head πŸ™‚
      I don’t have a microwave. If we had interesting things like hat blocks in our charity shops I might go out more!

  7. Zed did you see my post “Old Hat/New Hat” – you may want to try using a ball next time…Get the ball really soapy and then layer your felt on it – rub with your hands until somewhat stable – cover with a stretchy net bag or panty hose – secure the bag really well then rub some more – can put that bag in a lingerie washing bag and secure it tightly – then put in dryer on no heat and let it bounce around. Check it after about 10 minutes – can add heat if needed. When felted rinse and then let Dry on a form such as shown in my picture.

    I think my hubbie would think I was totally nuts if I walked around with wet soapy mixture of roving on my head!

    1. Thanks, Frances πŸ™‚
      yeah, I did see your post. The ball is a good idea, I have one that I use for vessels, but it is too small for hats. I also don’t have a dryer!
      I really would like to see all these imaginings of me with soapy wool on my head, rubbing it furiously, trying to make a hat!!
      Imagine people shaping slippers on their feet and you get the idea πŸ™‚

  8. I have a question, Zed – would you cut the ends of the hat and felt them again for a more even look? Or is that a big felting no-no? πŸ™‚

    Great hat, I can’t believe it was your first! And… I’d love to see photos of you felting it on your head directly, haha

    1. Thanks, Leonor πŸ™‚
      Well, I did have to cut the felt at the brim, as I wrapped the felt over there. I just didn’t do it very well πŸ™‚
      I probably would have tried to cut and shape more evenly if I had a clue what I was doing at the time, but then I never get neat edges when I do cut, I don’t know if I cut too early or late or maybe my technique isn’t good for it, I always get ‘wobbly’ edges.

    2. Oh, thanks for letting me know. I’d love to make some prefelt for a sewing project and always wondered if I could manage cutting it in the end… I see you did it before the hat was finished! Food for thought… πŸ™‚

  9. I think your hat looks great for being your first one.Once I tried to make one and I finished it over a stirofoam(do you know what it is?) ball,but the final rasult was like a round cup, large enough to use it as a fruit container.

    1. Thanks, Irene πŸ™‚
      I think a series of those styrofoam balls would have worked great for shaping, shrinking and fulling! I’ll know what to do with my hat if I can’t find anyone who wants it πŸ™‚

  10. Good hat Zed I really like those colours. I have only ever attempted a hat once and they sure are lots of felting, I was lucky enough to be able to borrow someone elses hat block, I can’t imagine felting it on your own head! Good advice to maybe felt it inside out to help keep the embellishments on.

    1. Thanks, Jane πŸ™‚
      I will certainly keep a look out for alternatives to my own head πŸ™‚

  11. Zed, your hat really looks nice. Don’t be discouraged to make another one. I like the colour combination. You can stitch the pieces of silk sticking out if yout think that they spoil the overall picture.

    1. Thanks, Nada πŸ™‚
      I don’t mind the silk bits, it’s not what I wanted, and they are a bit random, but I don’t mind the ruching, I did expect that.

  12. It’s great. I tried once and found it shrunk much more than expected. I like the shape you chose and the colours. Definitely worth keeping on with this. Buy a hat block?

    1. Thanks, Liz πŸ™‚
      I don’t know, maybe I’ll find something I can use to fill with that expandable foam to make a hat block, or cover my ball with bubble wrap.

    2. Could a strong balloon work? I say some polystyrene hat blocks somewhere. I could check. Much cheaper than the beautiful wooden ones.

  13. Thats a great hat Zed! The blended colour is georgous and I love the shape too. I suppose without a hat block its pretty hard work but the end result is fab.

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