Hi, I have purchased a vintage fine straw hood and have blocked in a beret. I stiffened with chemical stiffener and then removed from the block. When I removed the side of beret split due to the age. However, my biggest problem is no matter how much stiffener I put on it, it is not hardening. Has anyone had this happen before with Vintage materials?  I am close to throwing in the bin and giving up.

Thanks Julie (Middleton Millinery)

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Do not throw in bin Julie Send me a pic & I will tell you what to do with the remnant


Thanks Elaine, I'm not sure this photo will help but here goes.

wow big picture. how do I make them smaller the next time?

Change width of image to 400 pixels

Glad big enough so I can see the weave. It is a parisial Straw not a pari buntal as not fine enough. I block the crown then remove from block & stiffen off the block. In the case of vintage capeline ( the straw does weaken with age) I would give it a light coat of stiffener on the inside firstly before I block . I choose to cover block in alfoil as I have had students melt gladwrap onto straw when blocking. I always stiffen off the block.  2-3 light coats on inside & one on outside. Yesteryears sisals were much finer than sisals of today. We were made to polish them with vaseline for our exams as the shine was so important!!  All the practical tips here for sisals. http://hatacademy.com/group/25-parisisal-hats-classes

With the remnant you have if there is a good percentage of crown turn it into a cocktail hat or a headpiece & use any of brim to make trim in scultptured style - The freedom of sculpturing allows it to be narrow then wide according to the tear on it. Have fun with your newly designed piece. Do not let it become a frisbee - E

Hi Elaine,

Thanks yes I knew it was straw and I have done everything you have suggested. I think it has weakened from age. I purchased from Mimi's in Brisbane and some of Harold's stock is very old and quite fragile.  I'm pretty sure it is a right off but might take into Waltraud at T&R and let her feel it and look. It will be sad if I can't use it but that is the risk with buying vintage.

I was buying from Harold & his dad in the mid 1960s. I enjoy a visit @ Eagle Farm as I drool over some of the old stuff -so beautiful but I always check for age stain!


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