The ‘flare’ and the ‘cone’ which I had stiffened previously were dry by the time last week’s class came around so I was able to steam and block the pieces of the hat. This happens in two parts – one block for the crown and one for the brim. Both of the official trilby blocks were a bit small and so was the trilby brim block with the best shape so we improvised.
The crown is blocked on a standard crown block and Karen is going to show me how to put the traditional shape in by hand – which, given that I am unlikely to buy a trilby block any time soon, is probably much more useful knowledge than just using the trilby shaped crown block…
The brim is blocked onto a polystyrene copy of a 1950s Dior block once owned by Freddie Fox. I attached a crown block with the right head circumference to the brim block with masking tape and pins, to provide a guide to stretch the inner side of the rim over. Then I cut the middle out of the flare and stretched it over the crown block steaming it as I went – very glad I was using a polystyrene version as the original block must have weighed a ton and would have been hell to manipulate! We then wrapped a cord around the middle and pinned it into the block securely. Finally once it was stretched at the crown edge I steamed smoothed and stretched the brim over the block, pinning as I went.
And now I wait to see what happens in tomorrow’s class as it will have dried thoroughly and can be removed from the block to be cut to shape and stitched together.