Hi everyone,

I have an unusual vintage block, gifted to me many years ago, which I haven't yet used. I've wondering if anyone can shed light as to the era, and what style or shape it was intended for. I've never seen a block like it since. Assume 1940's or maybe 1950's? Would love to know what styles of hat would have been made on this block. Measures  23 cm height and width. Photos attached.

Many thanks, Susan

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Hi everyone,

Since posting my query, have thought about it some more, and think it could be a tilted beret from 1940-s or 1950's. Although, would usually be added to a skull cap base to support it? Have attached photos of a 1950's hat which perhaps could have come from similar block. Any thoughts?    S

I would guess you are right.  I certainly looks like a 1940s block and, of course, they were not only used into the 1950s but are still being used today.  Looks to be in very good condition, aren't you just dying to use it?

Hi Sharon, many thanks for your reply. Yes indeed, now that I've (hopefully) figured out what kind of hat I could make from this block, I am looking forward to trying it out!

I've never used a block with an indent like this one, though. Have recently heard about blocking cords(?) to help press felt etc into curves like this. Or maybe they are intended for pressing into decorative grooves only. Will have to experiment.

It is a special block Susan. Most beret blocks are 5 piece to ease the felt from the block but with the narrow portion at rear you should be able to pull block out without too much distortion of shape.

Brilliant, thanks so much for that advice Elaine.

Do you think the almost half-moon shaped head-fitting indicates hat would need to be attached to small shape that fits to head? Think you can just make out a small section added on at back of vintage hat in photos. I have seen photos of 1940's large tilt berets that sit tipping forward on a tiny cocktail crown shape. Can't imagine how it would fit to head otherwise? Or maybe an attached felt or fabric band that goes round back of head?

Found this WWII period tilted beret on Pinterest, imagine this is how finished hat from my block might have looked?

I use blocking cords but I also use sandbags.  This one looks like it could be easily used with a sandbag if you shaped it into the same shape as the large indent. 

Great tip, thanks. Seeing as indent is on underside, could put sandbag on table and rest it on top.

Beautiful block!


Have just purchased some Danish wood oil so I can clean and oil up block, as it hasn't been used or cleaned for at the very least forty years!

Still unsure of how hat blocked from it will fit/attach to head, given the head-fitting shape....Might have to block something first to figure this out.

Yes Susan this is a great challenge to figure out - we learn by experimenting. In millinery there are never disasters as we just recreate it and turn any faults into features. :))

It is a very interesting block.  How deep is the opening?  Does it fit well on top of another block?  Or maybe at the side?  If it does then maybe you can do a bit of block combining.


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