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March 2017

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Tutorial: 1940s felt hat reproduction, part one

It's about time for a tutorial, so how about an easy soft structure felt hat from the 1940s?

If you follow me on Instagram, you may recall this fantastic vintage hat from our stock:

Zelda wears it well, no?

The original is made from a 100% wool hatbody, and was sewn entirely by hand. There is no maker's mark or label inside, and it appears to have been a DIY project, perhaps from a ladies' magazine tutorial in the first place.
Look at that great detail of the fan shape!

I decided i wanted my own version of this hat, so i spent some time analyzing its construction and figured out how to make my own. Follow these steps and you can, too!

Top left: For mine, i started with a vintage fur felt capeline i had been saving for a project just like this one. You can do it with any felt cartwheel you like, though.

Top right: Step one is to cut the crown away from the brim, leaving the brim as a complete donut.

Bottom left: Cut a segment out of the brim as shown, at just under a quarter of the shape. It's hard to give any exact measurements on these because the shape of hatbodies varies, so i'd advise "eyeballing" it based on these images. Henceforth i'll call this little segment the fan flange, because that's what it becomes, and the other piece we'll call the brim arc.

Bottom right: Trim away a fat 5/8" from the brim arc, but NOT from the fan flange. Henceforth i'll call this strip the band.

Stitch the brim arc into the crown with about a 1/2" overlap. Don't worry about your stitches being visible as long as they are straight and located about 1/4" in from the crown edge, because the band will cover this section.

The top shows you what it should look like when the brim arc is fully sewn to the crown. You may need to trim some more of that piece down to get the right size gap at the back, because that open section should be just a bit narrower than the measurement of the fan flange.

The bottom detail shows the band pinned in place over that seam. I tacked the band down on either side at the rear, and once at center front.

I'll post the remainder of the process tomorrow in the second part of this project!