Hat making?? Learning Millinery..

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Hugh Beaumont, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. HatsEnough

    HatsEnough Banned

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    I would think this would be impossible to answer easily. My suggestion is to find someone that already makes hats and ask to watch him at his work. Also read, read, read.

    I hasten to add that the reason I say this is because I thought about doing the same thing. But the fact is hatmaking was an industry and it takes heavy industry equipment to do it well. Heavy duty sewing equipment, steam pots, complicated brim devices....etc. It looked way out of my means so I dropped the idea.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  2. T Rick

    T Rick Practically Family

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    I've found that credit cards work pretty well... ;)

    Kidding aside, I'm a DIY type myself. But with the skills needed to be learned and honed, as well as the equipment required (far more I think than a few basic hand tools), I think I'll just leave it to the Professionals, and spend my time enjoying the hats (not to discourage anyone who really wants to learn the trade, I find that admirable, but would hope anyone who would do so would put themselves in a position to get a return on their investment in the form of making a living- at least supplemental- at it). Just too much involved for the casual hobbyist IMO (even my local Hattery, Henry The Hatter no longer has the capability of a ground up hat creation).
     
  3. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    I'm thinking that our friend Mr. Beaumont is going about this in a sensible manner -- getting a few pieces of equipment for an inconsequential amount of money and having a crack it at before wading in deeper. As he said earlier, he's looking for something he'll enjoy doing that will at least supplement his pension, etc., at some as-yet undetermined point in the future. Maybe the hatter's trade will work out for him, maybe it won't, but there's only one way to determine that. I wish him well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
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  4. Hugh Beaumont

    Hugh Beaumont One of the Regulars

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    Yes, been learning as much as I can from the internet, but you can only learn so much before you have to start asking questions about specifics. I guess I am misunderstanding some of the videos I've watched on youtube. I am not assuming it's an easy skilled trade/craft, but some of those guys make it look a lot easier than I expected once the skill is learned with just a few pieces of equipment.
     
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  5. Brad Bowers

    Brad Bowers I'll Lock Up

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    Here are what I consider to be the minimum tools needed for hatmaking (and since we are making men’s hats, we are hatters; milliners make women’s hats. Let’s keep our sexism in place, please. lol ):


    Hat Block
    Brim Flange
    Flange Stand
    Rounding Jack
    Brass-foot Tolliker
    Finishing Sander
    Heavy Steamless Iron
    Light and Dark Hat Brushes
    [​IMG]

    Block Spinner
    Stock Pot – used for wet-blocking; you don’t need a fancy steam setup
    Gloves – used for handling boiling hot hat bodies
    Blocking Cord – for tightening the hat body to the block
    Tea Kettle – used for setting creases
    [​IMG]

    Band Block – used in conjunction with the tolliker and iron to set the brim break
    [​IMG]

    Hat Body
    Sweatband and ferule – those little black things used to connect the sweatband reed together
    Needles, Thread, and Thimble
    Hatband Ribbon
    Liner
    Cotton cloth and water spray bottle for flanging a hat – both used in conjunction with the iron
    [​IMG]


    There are a few other odds and ends I didn’t photograph – sweatband bows, punch awl, X-Acto knife, stitch awl, sandpaper, tracing wheel, and probably a bunch of other things I can’t remember at the moment.

    In one sense, the second hardest part is becoming proficient with the tools. The hardest part is actually sourcing them, as well as the hatmaking supplies.

    Good luck in your endeavor, and enjoy.

    Brad
     
  6. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    Well done, Brad! :eusa_clap
     
  7. Lefty

    Lefty I'll Lock Up

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    There's the niche. While new custom hatters continue to emerge, I've only seen one or two guys making blocks, flanges, etc.

    These have always impressed me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  8. HatsEnough

    HatsEnough Banned

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    All that stuff (and I got about half of it) and the rarity of some of the items is what made me eventually bag the idea.
     
  9. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Yes, a niche is what it is, and probably will always be. I suppose there's a chance the industry will boom at some point, but it would take very generous odds for me to bet on it.

    Mark DeCou makes some nice, nice stuff, and the hatmaking tools are about the least of what he does. He's a real stickler for detail, as anyone who has used his products can attest.

    And it ain't cheap, neither. But again, the quality is there, for sure. Once the old rounding jacks and band blocks and foot tollickers and runner-downers and whatnot are snapped up by budding hatters and hobbyists, and all but unavailable at bargain prices, we'll all be thankful he's there to supply us.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  10. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Thing is, Beaumont, hatmaking (and renovating, which is what I'm assuming you'll attempt first, and which I'd advise you to attempt first, as you'll need fewer pieces of equipment and the forlorn old hats themselves will cost you a small fraction of what you'd spend on new bodies) isn't at all complicated. It's all rather simple, really. But simple doesn't mean easy. Indeed, the basic steps can be enumerated in 25 words ...

    Take old hat apart. Clean it. Put it on block. Iron crown. Remove from block. Flange brim. Sew in sweatband. Sew on ribbon and bow.

    ... and a book (or at least a lengthy chapter) could be written on each of those steps (well, most of them, anyway) and still not cover all there is to know. And there's a seemingly endless number of ways to screw up at each step along the way.

    Understand also that there is some reluctance to disclosing all this hard-earned knowledge in such a public forum. Bendingoak invited you to call him. Perhaps you should do that. You may also wish to send private messages to others here, myself included. We may be more inclined to get into specifics that way.
     
  11. Hugh Beaumont

    Hugh Beaumont One of the Regulars

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    Point taken Tonyb with respect and appreciation to you and everyone else who have replied :)
     
  12. Julie Bourdages

    Julie Bourdages New in Town

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    so im totally new here, Ive been working with felt for years and I want to start blocking hats..

    now, Im looking for what to use to burn a hat and cant find anything beside an good ol oil can and a lighter which is clearly not what I need.. a bit like fouquet style.
    also does it work on 100% wool?
     
  13. deadlyhandsome

    deadlyhandsome I'll Lock Up

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    No offense, but is this a joke?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  14. Julie Bourdages

    Julie Bourdages New in Town

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    well Im new at this, I knew I would encounter some smart ass but not quite as fast.
    So beside that, can you help? give some infos? or being rude is all you can do?
     
  15. Bushman

    Bushman My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I'm not entirely certain of the hat making process, but I believe burning the hat is part of it. I believe that's what OP is referring to.
     
  16. Julie Bourdages

    Julie Bourdages New in Town

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    exactly, its a method used to burn the extra hair after brushing.
    Im really just looking to know what is used to make that process happen
     
  17. deadlyhandsome

    deadlyhandsome I'll Lock Up

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    I know that some makers do fire their hats in the process of finishing them, but the mention of “wool” and our least favorite hatter, “Nick Fouquet,” made think it was a setup.


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  18. Julie Bourdages

    Julie Bourdages New in Town

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    oh god is it really that kind of place here? "our" least favorite hatter loll whats the age level here?

    Im looking for informations, im not looking to fit a mold of haters,

    so anything positive to say?
     
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  19. deadlyhandsome

    deadlyhandsome I'll Lock Up

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    This technique is not used by most hatters and I honestly don’t know if it’s for show or if it really does produce a better finish. I think you might be better off trying luring or just finer pouncing. We have several established hatters who frequent these parts and maybe they can provide some expert insight.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  20. Julie Bourdages

    Julie Bourdages New in Town

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    that is all asked for... thank you.

    now hoping to deeper infos about it <3 it does make a good show though!
     
    DOGMAN likes this.

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