Upsizing a domed hat block

So, I have a large head.  I’m a large woman, so this isn’t too unusual, and I have a LOT of hair.  It’s fairly fine, but there’s a lot of it – and it’s curly/wavy which adds bulk too.  Big head + big hair = large hat.  This is likely why I find it challenging to fit hats in the store – they’re intended to fit heads decidedly smaller than my own!  Apparently the “average” head size is a 22″.. and I’m a 24″.

This also means that the hat block that the instructor for the millinery class that I took had – didn’t fit quite right.  I was really disappointed, but she gave some suggestions for upsizing the block to make a better fitting hat.

I started off by roughly measuring the height of the “straight” part of the block, and cutting felt-by-the-meter in strips to fit.  (This is “eco-felt” and there isn’t a bit of wool in it at all…) I wrapped one strip around the block, measured the new circumference, and it was still a bit too small.  I wanted the block to be about half an inch bigger than my head measurement to allow for lining and different hair styles.  I added another strip, measured again, and was satisfied.  I then whip stitched the felt onto the block.  From there I tapered the top edge slightly so that the felt closest to the block is longer, and the remaining wraps slightly shorter.  At the center front and center back I clipped the felt a small amount so that the longer pieces would curve up with the block.  This whole thing will be covered in plastic wrap before blocking – so I’m not concerned with the small discrepancies in shape.

I don’t think that this would work to go up too many sizes, because the discrepancy between the band area and the tip area would be too drastic.

Wrapped up block!

The result – I blocked a domed buckram hat on the enlarged hat block, and it fits great!


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