Although I’ve made a lot of 3D felt, I’ve never made a hat (I’ve made berets, but they don’t really count). This is because:
- I don’t wear hats (unless it’s extremely hot or extremely cold, neither of which happens much in the UK)
- I’ve never found a hat that suits me (which may be related to point 1)
- I don’t have a hat block.
However, when the London branch of the International Feltmakers Association announced a hat workshop with Sarah Waters in March, I signed up. I’d seen Sarah’s magnificent Stone exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Show last October – wonderful textured work on a huge scale – so thought it would be good to learn from her.
Thankfully, the hats we made were on a smaller scale! Sarah had brought along examples of various styles for us to try on to decide which suited us.
After a lot of umming and ahhing I decided to go for the cloche hat because the height and the brim were more flattering to my rather round face.
We started by making some samples to assess shrinkage rates and also experiment with different colours and textures. Sarah had generously brought along lots of offcuts of prefelt and fabrics for us to play with, in addition to our own considerable stashes!
These are my three samples, of three, five and seven layers of fibre. Although most people used three layers, I ended up using seven, because I wanted my hat to be very firm!
After measuring our heads and making some mathematical calculations, we got on with drawing out our resists and laying out.
Here is the inside of my cloche (Sarah reminded me that the inside of the brim would show, so I added some fabric along the bottom).
This is the outside.
Please note here the spots of gold-coloured fabric. This was a silk chiffon that was dark blue on one side and gold on the other. I’d used it in one of my samples and it worked quite well when felted, giving a subtle sheen (it’s the triangular shape at the top of the left-hand sample). Here I’d laid it on top of some thick circles of leftover pink prefelt.
However, when I got to the fulling stage, I decided the shape wasn’t really working. The hat was too tall – it hadn’t shrunk enough because I’d used so many layers. So rather than trim off the excess at the bottom, I reshaped it into more of a pork pie hat, with a partly upturned brim and a flatter crown. It actually suited me much better!
But remember the gold fabric? Well, the gold colour completely disappeared in the final hat, leaving much subtler blue circles, which was a bit disappointing.
This is a perfect example of what I like to call AFOT EUWA (aim for one thing, end up with another!).
Here are some of the other lovely creations made in the workshop by Emily, Nina and Sue.
And a final group shot!
How often do you aim for one thing but end up with another? 🙂