Making Moss and Ocean Festival Top Hats!

I finally managed to make a top hat!  Not just one, but two!  I did make him an Untouchables Trilby, but that is a blog post for another time, once I finish it.  Since I did a decent job on the trilby, I thought I would have another go at making a tall top hat.  I made up a rather large template and decided to decorate it from the inside out.

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We have here: three different types of locks, mixed merino and bamboo fiber, sari silk fiber and a contrasting color of aqua merino tufts.  I then added strings and threads from my stash.  Although it isn’t in this photo (I forgot) I added some green mohair yarn on top of this.  I then added two layers of citrus 23 micron merino on top of this.  At this stage I completely forgot to take photos as I got into the laying out zone.  After wetting and some light rubbing, I flipped it over and did the same on the other side.  I decorated first and then flipped over the decoration from the other side that was overlapping.  I then added another two layers of the citrus, but I made sure that I stayed inside the template.  This way you don’t get thick seams.  For the third layer, I added grass merino, which is darker.  I also added little tufts of citrus for a design on the inside.

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After sanding, rubbing, rolling (yes, you still have to roll!)  I was able to cut the hat and take the template out.  The inside was still a bit delicate, so I gently palmed the outside and healed the edges before turning it inside out and palming it again on the decoration side.  You need soap for this.  I fulled the hat inside out so as not to ruin the decoration.  The fulling process took a couple of hours, at least.  There was a lot of rubbing, rolling, throwing down, shaping, etc.  There was no way that I was going to shrink this to the top hat shaper height, but that was ok.  I found innovative ways to get the shape I wanted, and ultimately let it dry on the shaper.

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Here is the Moss hat, all dry and waiting for a hat band.  It is propped on one of my wig forms (It is the same size as my head) so I could make the dome.   I made a wider brim as the hat is tall.  I also like the organic edges as it ties in with the mossy look I was going after.  This hat is for the hubs.  He is half Irish and supports Ireland during the Rugby and since it is nearly St. Patrick’s Day, why not?  Though it is still for sale if anyone is interested!

So, after the success of the green hat, I decided to make one in blue!  I have a lot of wool that I need to use up, and as I am not working, I am not allowed to buy more wool until I use up a lot of my stash.

So, I laid it out like I did the green hat.  The final, inside, layer is a teal merino in 21 micron (I forgot to take a picture).  I did everything the same, except I fulled it until it was almost my head size.  I used my smallest hat form for the circumference.

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This is my Ocean hat.  You can’t see it in these photos, but the viscose and silk fibers are quite shiny.  I used some of the hand spun yarn my guild friend made.  Although it is wool, I knew it wouldn’t felt or stick completely as it is twisted and is more like thick thread.  There are other fibers mixed in with it too.  By felting the hat down inside out, the yarns actually ended up sticking better to the wool.  I like how it doesn’t all stick down.

Both hats were slightly too big for our heads, so I went to the store and bought some hat ribbon to stitch inside.  But first, I needed to make hat bands and thought if I made them slightly smaller, that would bring the hats in enough that I wouldn’t need to use the ribbon.

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I made the hat bands in one piece on a resist.  It looks like a little landscape!  Once it was fulled to the correct size, I cut them in half and healed the edges.

Downloads-003I like the blue edge on the band and there is some of this color in parts of the hat.  As the hat is so busy, I opted for a plain band with a wooden button.  The green is a mix of the citrus and grass laid out on top of brown merino.  As the had band dried, it shrunk enough to make the hat fit perfectly.

Downloads-002I also ended up getting a perfect fit on my hat band, so I didn’t need to use any hat ribbon in either of the hats.  I also like the light green edge which also picks up the small amounts of green in the hat.  The color of the hat band is a mix of the blue and the teal.  I also happened to have a blue scarf in the exact shade of blue as the hat!  As is usual, the hat is not actually as blue as this, but is warmer.

Both of these hats are very sturdy, but also very comfortable to wear and soft against the skin.  The green hat weighs about 200g and the blue one just under that as it is a bit shorter.   To say that this was a learning experience would be an understatement.  I needed to make two hats that didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to in order to get to this stage.  I shall be playing around with the template so I can make a smaller version.  I have a lot of pink to play with, so maybe that will be next!