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