Are hat blocks just tools of our trade or do you feel connected to a particular block for some reason which makes it your favourite? My favourite block would have to be my mad hatter block as I have made thousands of hats which have brought much pleasure to so many. With current trends towards dome crowns it is having a much earned rest.

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Being a newby to millinery I only have two hatblocks as I tend to use some of my teacher's blocks.  But I already have a favourite. In fact I had a favourite the minute I bought my first block at a collectibles fair about a month ago.  It's very old, had thousands of pin holes and was covered in about 5 layers of felt.  I've removed two layers to get it to the size I wanted. 

It's the loveliest shape, tapering nicely at the sides and clearly has a forehead and has a wonderful feel. It's been well used so I'm hoping some of the experience of its previous owner will rub off on to me.  Sometimes I just sit and pat it, it's so lovely. Obviously I am Mad as a Hatter!

My favorite hat block was a amazing find.  There was an etsy seller with a bunch of tipper blocks.  For the longest time I couldn't afford them and one day when I checked back it was on clearance...for $15!  It has made some amazing hats.  Instead of using it like I'm supposed to I use it as it's own hat shape.  It makes a great pillbox, pirate hat, percher, base for my carmen miranda fruit hats...It just has so many uses!  

HA! How cool, Amanda! I have nearly the same and it's my favorite, too!!!

Great minds...well, you can finish that! :))

Ive just been able to buy my first blocks and my fav is a midi top hat crown and matching brim. I love it as a complete hat and its great for making pill boxes and perchers as well. It has a grove around the top edge so it has a slight dome sat below the edge so i use it upside down as well to get a sharp flat oval for different finish.

This bowler style block is now my favorite. First I didn't quite understand how it worked and it was difficult to to stretch the felt over the whole block. I customized it by changing a homburg-style crown to a round one. I sanded a small unused round crown to fit the brim and taped it together. Now I have a hat block I love and I don't have any extra blocks around unused. The blocks I have customized or made my self are my favorite.

What a great idea- it takes some nerve to start changing wooden blocks- I LOVE your result!

This is my favorite hat block. When I first started out many years ago. The only block I had was a flange. I took a large Styrofoam reef form and shaved the opening to fit around the flange. This block has been instrumental in creating a number of hats that have been worn at the Kentucky Derby and Churches. The reef serves as an extended to create a large brim hat

This is a REALLY good idea.  My blocks were purchased from someone leaving millinery and there are several flanges and an oval mid size brim.  This will help me in creating the fabulous hats Spring deserves!

This hat block has a special place in my heart.

After a radio interview, I was contacted by an elderly milliner living 300kms away.  She told me that she had been a milliner in Australia during the 50's and that her daughters had shown no interest in millinery and would I be interested in her hat blocks, silk flower making tools and her book collection.  (Is the Pope Catholic?)

I jumped in my car early the next day and drove the km's to her beautiful house in the forests of southern W. Australia.  I spent a lovely day while she told me all the stories of her career and she very generously shared her techniques of working with willow- a product that I would love to be able to get my hands on, and covering fabric shapes.  One of the surprises of the day was a collection of 3 fashion magazines (seen in the pic)  in french.  Edith had to specially order these books in from France as they were unavailable at the time in Australia.  The fashion photography in these books is a milliner's heaven - every page of fashion has the models wearing the most elegant hats from the 50's era.

I walked away reluctantly at the end of the day with the hat block, an extensive set of flower tools, a beautiful collection of silk flower making books and Edith's own flower patterns, lovely willow frames that she had made as blocks and her hand written notes from many designs - a real treasure to me.  I call the block the Edith Sydney Opera House block and every time I am near it, my hand is drawn to wander along its beautiful curves.

I do not know who enjoyed the day more - me for being able to have such a knowledgeable milliner generously sharing her tips, or Edith for being able to speak to someone the language of millinery once again.  I kept in contact with Edith over the years, but then my mail was returned one year.  After experiencing the magic of talking to this senior milliner, I can see myself being her in the future and maybe contacting some future milliner asking it they would like to inherit my collection - I hope I still enjoy the language of millinery at any age.

What a lovely story, Fiona!


This is a beautiful story Fiona. Such treasures. Did she ever say where her studio was?

Have you attempted to make a felt hat using this block. With felt & draping so IN again this block is envy of us all  Luv it!  Elaine

I would like to purchase a mad hatter block  but I donot see any on the site that  Hat Academy


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