For some beginners affording and sourcing the needed hat blocks can prove challenging. What are some creative ways of getting around this issue? How came upcoming milliners with a tight budget source used hat blocks.

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I was fortunate then, I pulled two layers off to get it to the size I wanted and it was pretty good underneath.

Elsie, wool hoods are the best, but like you, I hate to use my hoods this way. They do cost money, after all.  I have found that I have pretty good luck using white fleece scraps.  Put it on the block, pull it tight, and steam press with an iron to make it a little more dense. I have also used craft felt for padding blocks, you just need to be careful of wrinkles that will mishape your hat. Keep in mind, that I am self-taught, so I tend to try things that formerly trained milliners would think totally wrong. Take my advice with a grain of salt.  Ebay had a 26" block for sale a while back, I thought, "I would never need a block that big." Maybe I should rethink that decision. 

Good luck, let me know how you do.

I had lady with a 26 1/2 head size who needed a gardening hat

This was a great discussion to find, as it got me thinking to look at an area never previously thought about....

So, when does an innocent 'lidded bowl' become something so much better.....

           22 cm across, with 4cm stack on top.......   But wait, there's more.......

These would make lovely blocks!  One of my favorite fascinator shapes came from the lid to one of my glass canisters. LOL

Fabulous find!!!  I've converted every wooden bowl I have into hat blocks!!  I'll let you in on another brim block idea that I just invented!!  Take a pool noodle from the dollar store, bend it into a circle, and hot glue a wooden dowel into the ends to join it (they have a hole down the center).  Wrap tightly in white duct tape, then cover in plastic wrap, and voilla, you have a brim block for large brims that take pins like a dream. I also cut one smaller to make a cloche/breton brim!!  

Wonderful idea, Elsie!  I hadn't thought of that. I have used floral foam with great success, however.

Try it Bridget!! You'll be amazed at how durable and how well it works!!  How do you work with the floral foam? Do you mean the oasis that you wet, or the dry white stuff?  Do you carve it into the shape you want?

I have used both kinds.  The type you wet, carves easier, but you really need to make sure you wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, because it can crumble and dents easily.  Also, if you find the half rounds the correct size, they are great to use as is for a simple fascinator or head piece.  Use one of these for the crown, and then use a flower pot drain saucer for the brim, attach it to a head band, and you get this hat.

http://hatacademy.com/photo/100-6748?context=user

ooooh, Brilliant - I like it! ooooh I so want to try that - NOW!... patience, must learn more patience...

Speaking of big brims, I did score a giant tupperware bowl from a friend who was shifting house.. 12 1/2" inches across and 41/2" deep. a big beautiful rolled curve shape. 

It would be quite fun to see pics of finished blocked results next to pics of the 'blocks'.

Roz, if you go to my Etsy shop, Orsini~Medici Couture Millinery, you'll see the first lavender capeline hat there. That's the pool noodle brim!!!

oh it's fantastic.  I've got to try one of those.  Love your black and white big brimmed hat. Beautiful.. Also love your Dior style felt dish.  gorgeous!

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