I have a question regarding hat blocks and style of hat. Which blocks are for which.hats? ie, how many different styles can you make from each block? Which is your most favourite block?
I want to make felt cloche hats which I adore, plus I would love to make,my dad a bowling hat. Any tips on which blocks I will need? Also if you're working to a budget, which blocks did you buy first and why? Thank you.
What do you mean by bowling hat? I picture a hat for lawn bowls but am wondering if you meant a bowler hat (like Charlie Chaplin would wear).
A dome hat block is a good base piece, as you can drape your chosen blocking fabric around it and create a great number of styles by simply using yours hands (and ropes and pins etc).
I started off with a basic crown shaped block, but for some of the specialised shapes such as a cloche, trilby, etc, you may need to purchase the relevant block.
Could you use panama straw? I don't really know what lawn bowl is. I am from the USA.
As far as hat blocks, buy a basic block that you can make several types of hats on. For instance I have a long oval that I use for trilbys, fedoras, and other shapes, just by using my hands to make the right creases. It may take some practice to perfect hand creasing, but with a little practice, if you can see the shape, you can copy it. I also modify my blocks by adding elements to the block to make different shapes. You can also use freeform techniques to copy a shape you don't have a block for. For instance I had a client contact me about ordering a fedora, but she wanted an asymmetrical crease at the tip. I don't have a block like that, but with the proper amount of steam and careful manipulation of the felt, I was able to use a long oval and duplicate the crease. Also look at the bottom of your block. Many times you can turn your block upside down for a completely different hat shape.
Carefully study the lines and curves of the block and visualize the blocked shape. Then let your mind wonder and see the shape pulled up and folded or pleated. This will also give you shapes that will be unique to your designs. I have been known to block hats to fit around particular hair styles. I have a repeat client that wears her hair a particular way. Other milliners would probably suggest that she buy a larger size to accommodate her particular hair style. I modify my block and block her hair style into the hat. This gives her a hat that accommodates the shape, but still fits snug where it needs to.
I learn something new every day! It makes me think of Bocci Ball.