The hat that I sold the quickest was a pillbox that I sold to a woman who wanted it for the races. I only had it listed two days before it sold. At the time I almost didn't list it, because I didn't think anyone would like it. I am always surprised at how many people view my pillboxs.
Keep making them Bridget. This green one retailed for $296.00 They sell best with the veiling.
Wow! Maybe mine sold so fast because I have only been selling mine for about $50. Mine was not as beautiful as this green hat, however; I don't think that customers would be willing to pay as much for one of my pillboxes. I do enjoy making them, maybe I should rework some of mine and add veiling. hmmmm Veiling is so much fun!
Cynthia, puzzle block berets can be expensive, but if you watch persistantly on e-bay, you can sometimes get them for fairly reasonable. You do need to be careful, because sometimes they go for stupid expensive, but all of my blocks, including an old beret puzzle block came from e-bay. I have found that most are being purchased by non-milliners that will turn around and try to resell. I try to wait until someone posts blocks from older or deceased relatives, when they are cleaning out attics etc. Sometimes they sell a huge collection at once which sometimes dilutes the demand even for the resellers. If there aren't many listed it is harder to get a good price. When I started, a few months ago, I made all my hats from flat patterns that I designed myself, because I couldn't afford hat blocks until I sold a few hats. Recently, most of my hats have been blocked. My newest block is from the 1950s. I love the old blocks. I think I have convinced myself that they were all used by highly talented milliners and their talent flows out of the blocks into my hands.
I love your romanticism, Bridget! My "seed money" for my millinery endeavors was earned by building 23 frog costumes. I think hat blocks are beautiful in their own right, and I would agree they are magical. :)
You've done well to get those lovely shapes on eBay. I't a bit harder here as the cost of postage from overseas adds heaps to the price and we don't get such a range locally - but I won't stop looking! As a life-long sewer, I started with flat-pattern hats too and came to blocking late. I recently began a course at my local technical college and when I found their 'block cupboard' I thought I died and gone to heaven!
The way to judge if you will get plenty of use out of an old block check out number of tack spots it has as if plenty= well used. The wood is not so hard it can not be penetrated. Even a block that shows wear today there is a quick fix which my husband is going to demo in a video soon.
If you find a 5 piece puzzle block cheap BUY it -even if not the right shape, as they can be transformed into other styles with help of wood worker/carver. I have done this so many times.
In another discussion I mentioned how one of students let her facebook friends know she was searching for blocks and girlfriends mum is lending her a cupboard full. Years ago one of my friends noticed boxes on roadside for council pick up. He kicked one and almost broke his toe !!- full of priceless hat blocks - the milliners favorites kept till the last before she went into retirement village. I made his wife a hat as did not want $$.
Let the world know you are searching & you will be surprised what comes out of cupboards.
I have seen blocks go for under $30 US. In fact, I was looking for a larger block to make hats for my husband and purchased a block for fedora style hats just last night for $36 and some change US. Another block very similar just slightly larger, which was the one I wanted, sold for $76 about ten minutes prior. I love making fabric covered buckram hats, and several of my 1930s-40s style hats have sold, but the larger fabric hats don't seem to get as much attention--my reason for increasing the number of felts that I am making. If you can get a hat block at a low enough price, it can balance out the shipping costs. My only problem is I need to stay off of e-bay or I am going to become addicted to hat blocks.
Twenty-three frog costumes for seed money, Cynthia? Sounds like the way I got started in tailoring and designing all those years ago. Where there is a will, there is a way.:)
I am obsessed with hunting down vintage blocks on ebay! You can't beat the beautifull lines that you get on vintage blocks.
I have missed out on plenty a beautiful block on E-bay, because I can't bid as high or as fast as many. It angers me to see someone buy a block and then turn around and just resell, with a bid higher than they paid for it. If they aren't going to use them, let the milliners have them.