Questions about working with polyester

I'm about to make a Fedora and I'm wanting to make it using polyester.  I've read and watched a lot of tutorials on making them with felt, but I don't like the look or feel of felt.

I have a store purchased Fedora that I've worn for years and it's made of polyester with a "made in china" label inside it.  I've examined it thoroughly and yet I can't figure out how they got it to take the form it has or how the material seems to be so thick.  My best guess is they steamed it to get it to take the form, as I've worked with polyester before and I have my doubts that it would take form without wrinkles from just being wet.

But as for the material being so thick and sturdy I'm at a loss.  I know I would use a stiffener on it to make it hold its shape and be sturdy, but I can't seem to find any polyester that has any real thickness to it.  Joann Fabrics has a lot of polyester in stock but it all seems to be so thin that to acquire the thickness my current Fedora has I'd have to use four layers of material.  The current fedora, at least not counting the brim, is a single layer of material with a silk inlay inside.

The only polyester I've ever found that has the sort of thickness I'm looking for comes from mens suit jackets.  I've used them before, purchased secondhand from Goodwill, to make hats, but the problem with using jackets as a source is there are seams where the material has been spliced together to form the jacket so I'm very limited on solid pieces of material without seams that I can cut from the jackets.

So on to my questions:

What is the best way to get polyester to take the form of the hat without wrinkles?

Where would I find polyester of suitable thickness for making a Fedora?

Also in relation to the second question, does anyone know where would I might find material that has the diagonal grain and pinstripe pattern common to many mens suits?

Any help is appreciated, thanks!

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Are you certain that it wasn't blocked over a foundation fabric?

That I don't know.  The only info I have on the current Fedora is what's on the tag.  It's 100% polyester and made in china.

I've been looking at various suit fabrics online that look like they may have potential.

My guess would be that they used some type of foundation--Most probably something similar to buckram, I have seen flat pattern hats from China made from polyester over what almost feels like a polystyrene base.  If the hat is not a flat pattern and is actually blocked, I would say that you could try blocking buckram and while it is still wet, wet the polyester and block right over the buckram.  One thing to remember, however, is that depending on the actual content of the polyester along with quality, the fabric can be a little unpredictable when blocking.  Weave will also dictate how well it will stretch and shrink over a block.  You can try for fabric, or google fabric suppliers garment district NYC.  Another thought is that they used a heavy, fusible, fleece interfacing under the fabric which would stretch with the fabric, and stiffened that.  That would make the fabric feel much heavier than it actually is.  I don't think that this would actually block all that well, using hand blocking techniques--just a thought.  Just guessing now.. . . . . . . . . 

Hi there Quin,

I was wondering if you have succeeded with blocking using polyester felt. I'm vegan and I'd loce to wear a proper felt hT—not a fedora; probably something closer to a homburg. I'm sure it must be possible to make using man-made felt, although I asked a milliner and she said animal hair must be used for hatmaking felt because it naturally clings to itself, using microscopic hooks, a bit like Velcro. But hang on, Velcro is man-made!


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