So what was a girl to do? Well I reached up and pull down a balsa wood hat block in my head size. It wasn't glamorous like the ones I set out for display--the blocks I call my sculptures, the blocks I would not dare to nail into. Hold your head up Ms. Balsa. All of those other hat blocks may be eye candy, but if I needed to make 100s of hats and was given the choice to choose one out of those other blocks, it would be you, girl!
Why? Look around when you enter a store. How many 1920s - 1940s (my blocks of choice) hat shapes would you find there. Usually the crowns are round and the brims are plain. Given a utility block, I can style a fedora, a pixie, a 1920s cloche, all the cocktail/fascinator hats I would ever possibly need and in any shape--well almost. Using the excess fabric (felt or straw) draping from the crown, I could create a sailor brim, a deep cuff brim, a symmetrical brim, an asymmetrical brim, etc., and that's without a brim block. I could add all types of shapes to the balsa block because it's soft and easy to pin into, thus creating hundreds of hat shapes. Just think about it! From couture to not so couture, this block is the one.
The block shown here is my latest balsa acquisition. It is a size 28; huge! I'll use it as a veiling block (block used for blocking veils). I found this one on EBay for around $39 plus shipping. These blocks retail upwards of nearly $200. So, before you purchase one, do some research.
So, for all of you out there that are new to millinery, on a limited budget, and feel that you have to amass a million hat blocks to start a small businesses or to make your own hats--and I've talked to some of you--start with a simple balsa block and a head size collar ($10). The average woman's head size is 22 1/2. If you need a larger block, say a 23 to 24, just block felt (must have wool content) over the block to increase its size....
Have you ever wondered how to make a blocking card? Well, the slip knot is my favorite method. I tie a knot on each end of the rope so that it does not slip back through the main knot. I use polyester clothe line rope for my blocking cords. View the YouTube video below. Enjoy
- Check out the Free Online Books from my previous posts for additional help.
- Don't forget the Los Angeles County Fair Millinery Contest; you must adhere to posted dates. More detail is in one of my previous posts.
- If you believe in prayer, please take a moment to send out a prayer for me on Monday, the 24th, as I will be involved with serious medical issues on that day. If prayer is not your thing, please send out wonderful positive thoughts. At this point, I don't know how long before I will be able to post again; hopefully within the next three weeks.
How to Tie Your Own Blocking Card: The Slip Knot Method