Hat blocks to a milliner, are like paper to a writer. Hat blocks have been made for centuries by skilled artisans however, with the rise in new technologies and skills, milliners are now able to shape and create their own hat blocks using foam, paper mache and Espartrie to name a just few.

Have you had any success making your own hat blocks, any challenges?

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Very curious to hear people's responses on this. I use pretty much anything made of wood, including the back of a mandolin! I also have made (wet) clay pieces that I stretch wool over, but usually for smaller detail pieces or as an addition to an existing form. I would love to hear how others make blocks though, I am always looking for unusual shapes. 

Here is my Burgandy bretton style felt hat, complete with my own carved brim and crown block used to create it. It is made from roofing insulation, covered in PVA layers and then cling film as normal. I blocked the hat crown first and then the brim all in one. 

No, I have not make any attempts but I seriously need to make one to start with. 

Ian Bennett generously shares all his proven methods to enable you to successfully make durable foam hat blocks.


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