Lady Alyx

Steaming and Pressing and Shaping

52 posts in this topic

Okay...help. I have a couple of felt hat blanks on order from Mountain Trading (and I am getting kinda ticked cause I have not received nor had any shipping info...anyone bought from them?)... Anyway would like to have some information to get started when I get them. Anyone have any good steps or websites?

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:lol:

Alas, don't really know myself, Alyx... but I'm somewhat with ye. As I have a wool felt hat that needs reshaping (looking bad). Alas, I haven't a block to do anything with.

Perhaps the both of us will learn something here.

:::looks around to the others::: well? Ideas? Something? Someone?

~Lady B

:P

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If you look at either of the first two pages of the "How to Cock a Hat" thread..

Page 1 - How to cock a hat

Page 2 - How to Cock a hat

Aminjiria (sp?) and Patrick Hand both go through what they did with their hats from hat blank to finishing, including steaming and shaping. If you look at Page 2, you will see how Patrick used a coffee tin as a makeshift hat block...

If there is anything you need to know that isn't covered in that thread, bump that thread up with your questions so all the info can be kept together for the next time someone asks! It only works to all of our advantages! I can't say how many times I have already referred to that thread for myself. :lol:

Edit - Another source for Hat Blanks is Lady MacSnoods

There is also this place, pricier, but they claim to be "fur felt" rather than wool Center Stage Costuming

Probably the best price I have seen... Scroll about 2/3s of the way down the screen... Blockade Runner

I've not shopped there myself, but I've heard good feedback about them...

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I called Mountain Trading, and they will be shipping my hat blanks out soon, their computer went down on them.

Michael, I did read the post "How to Cock at Hat", but would like more information than is there in detail on steaming and pressing.

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As I posted in the "How to Cock a Hat " thread, I use boiling water... you can strecch the crown of a hat to modify it, but I've never had any luck flattining or streaching the brim (even with an Iron...)... (I learned about boiling water when I was a kid, and it always worked for me, so that is why I keep doing it that way.... other than reading about it, the one time I tried and played with using steam, I just gave up and used boiling water anyway.... )

Google Hat making,or felt.... I did find one site that explained how it is done from start to finish.... interesting information, but I didn't book mark it..... If I remember corectly, that is also the same site where I read about denentured alcohol and (I think it was ) shallac to stiffen brims.....

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Hi Patrick, I tried all kinds of searches too. I did also see somewhere where the use of Shellac is used as a stiffener, and there is also a hat stiffener, and then I saw somewhere else someone mentioned white glue but that will get nasty if it gets wet again. I think someone mentioned using Aqua Net Hairspray....?

I guess I will do more searching again, thanks for the info.

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Aqua Net Hairspray

Kinda funny.....

When I was in High School Art Class, that's what we used for a fixadent if you couldn't affore the real stuff......(so your drawings wouldn.t smudge....)

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Yes there was a spray that you put on when you used the pastels chalks. I remember the art students using it, but they had the correct spray for that, but I am sure you could use Aqua Net. Hairspray is a friggin glue after all so to speak..lol :lol:

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I've also seen hats that were finished/stiffened using sno-seal and a hot air gun... I don't like how it looked, to "plastic" and waxy,for my taste, but it did stiffen the hat.....

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Hallo! I would use the denatured alcohol and shellac. I believe shellac is what is used in the "Hat Stiffener". Just keep in mind that the blank can shrink on you when you soak the felt. I had to keep wearing mine, with protection of course, to keep it from getting to small. Then I would steam it and stretch it back out to fit better. If you use a lot of shellac the felt will get hard, almost plastic like. I didn't mind that, I wanted to give a little weather proofing.

I've now started use a new method when shaping my blanks.

I fill a cooking sheet with water and stick it in the oven.

Turn the oven on high and get the water boiling.

Once the water is boiling and your getting some steam, put your hat in the oven.

Give a about 10 -30 seconds in the oven.

Pull out your hat and shape it the way you want to and put it on your head.

(Otherwise it will shrink on you and require more steaming.)

I usually have a pot or tea kettle boiling. Standing by so you can do touch ups.

The oven trick is really good for general shaping. i.e. Like creating the roll on the back of the tricorn, ala Jack Sparrow style. Once you have the general shape down use the stove top pot to do your final touches and sizing it to your head. Just keep in mind the oven trick, if used to size the blank to your head, may mis-shape the rest of the brim when "cocked" up.

So thats about all I can say. Let me know if you have any specific question.

I'll try to answer them.

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Well I received the two hat blanks on Saturday. I needed to reshape the head size for both, one a little larger and one a little smaller. I played around with wetting just the inside edges with hot water on a wash cloth and then dried and shaped with my hair dryer. I then started shaping a bit with hat pins the sides of the hats to make tri-corn shapes. I just hand rolled the backs with my hands and they stayed rolled just from that. I noticed the more you play around with these the more looser they become. I really don't want to use shellac on these hats. I think I will find a fabric stiffener to try first. I started to trim out a brow band shape on my hat since my beau wants a more Jack Sparrow look to his and since he is so tall, I don't think I need to trim off much of his hat just the scalloped edging from the originall pressing. I am finding that from handling the hats the press marks are getting a little eased as well, and I think by using some warm water and a stiff small nylon brush carefully restructure those marks. Well it's been fun experimenting.

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I really don't want to use shellac on these hats. I think I will find a fabric stiffener to try first.

I haven't tried using the alcohol and shellac, but it was my understanding that you didn't use so much that it changed the apperance of the felt, just enough to stiffin it...

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This is not a cocked hat but my wife & I made it from a hat blank. We hand shaped it and attached the gold trim with a hot glue gun and fastened the brim to the crown the same way.

hat01_500.jpg

hat02_500.jpg

It has lasted about 4 years so far....I used to ware it to book signings in my British Naval Uniform. it is the most comfortable hat I have.

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Thank you King's Pyrate for sharing your pics and discussion on your hat making. I believe it is still considered a 'cocked hat' but a bicorne. So far the hat blanks I received are coming along very nicely, except I have noticed they are losing their stiffness from being worked on.

Does anyone know if steaming will loosen or tighten, I have not used any steaming technique as of yet, just warm water wetting and spot drying.

Oh I found this little video today on how to make a Pirate hat from an old pair of leather pants...

DIY

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Well I have to report, that one of the hat blanks I received is done, and it came out nicely. (that one was for beau). Now I have one more to finish, I have almost all the trim tacked on, then I found some fur trim, not maribou but actual fur trim (burgandy to go with my frock coat). Then some finishing tacks a few brooches and I am done. I am going to hold off on stiffening.

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Very cool, Alyx. Eager to see pictures of them. :)

The hat I have needs to be reblocked. And with really nothing other than a boiling pan of water to work with possibly (outside stuff is out of the question due to the weather)... I'm looking at all this to figure out how to do it.

I need my hat to look like what Amanjira had in his thread, what his hat blank looked like before he trimmed it.

Yeah, that means my hat needs to be reblocked, loosen and steamed, stretched and molded.

It is wool felt and I've worn it for a few years. Anyone who's seen me in person has seen my hat.

Ideas gents for stretching and what equipment I need to use for the restretching and reblocking of the hat?

~Lady B

:ph34r:

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What you need is called a hat stretcher, or hat jack. They are commonly available on ebay.

Get your hat well steamed, and while still hot, insert the stretcher and adjust to stretch your hat. You can increase the size quite a bit. Leave the stretcher in place while the hat drys. You can easily make it too big, but just re-steam, and make it a bit smaller if you need to. Felt hats are quite forgiving of multiple re-stretchings.

>>>> Cascabel

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Thanks, Cascabel.

That solves one dilemma.

Question, though, too. How do I stretch the brim, too? That seems to have shrunk and warped (with the constant use in a few years, it's taken a mind of it's own).

:::runs to eBay:::

~Lady B

:rolleyes:

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Thanks, Cascabel.

That solves one dilemma.

Question, though, too. How do I stretch the brim, too? That seems to have shrunk and warped (with the constant use in a few years, it's taken a mind of it's own).

:::runs to eBay:::

~Lady B

:rolleyes:

As far as dealing with brims goes, I don't think they can be successfully stretched. Mostly I just remove any lacing, buttons, feathers, etc., and use a steam iron to flatten them, and re-shape from that point. Works quite nicely.....

>>>> Cascabel

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Ok... thank ye, Cascabel. :)

~Lady B

:huh:

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I made these last fall for my son and I. Used an iron on stream setting. Worked great. The brims hardened as they cooled.

2007Tricorns.jpg

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Very nice! :)

Now, I've a question... where is everyone finding the flat, large brim hats at?

And where do you recommend and what do you recommend?

I'm wanting to remake the Barbossa hat (as my old one is well out of shape now). And I need a large/wide brim hat that is also a flat brim. Pictures online can be deceiving. So, wanting recommendations.

I know wool felt is cheaper, but it's a smaller brim and some blocked ones are not a flat brim but turned down some. The fur felt say it's a bigger/wider brim and looks like a flat brim but is pricy.

~Lady B

:lol:

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I am fixin ta place an order for the Capeline hats. I saw the link on here a while back but didn't save it. I did write down the number though; 1-800-817-HATS

They have several styles but the Capeline is flat-topped and wide brimmed. $12.50 for a black one and 16.50 for a dove grey one. I'm getting one of each.

Bo

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