The Yellow Hat

In my last post I mentioned a fabulous yellow vintage beret I found on my holidays in Northern Ireland. It was love at first sight and I knew this hat would be mine. I’m always amazed at how steam can magically transform an unloved, felt ‘crush’ back into a hat. Gradually the original shape starts to appear and I can start to get a sense of how it might have been worn. The images above show the beret after steaming. It had been pinched and secured with a stitch which created a kind of dimple in the shape and elastic has been stitched inside to draw the sides together.

So once I had taken it back to its original shape I could decide what I wanted to do with it. I started by de-constructing; out came the petersham, the elastic and the anchor stitches that had created the dimples. I decided to stiffen the felt to help it take on a new shape. Then I stretched it over a dome block. The design was forming as I worked. I left it on the dome for a while to let the ideas mull – this often happens especially when I’m working with materials I really like and I don’t want to ruin them!

Over the days that followed, I started looking at 50s ‘half-hats’.This style of hat covers a portion of the crown like a kind cap – they don’t have a brim and they stop before they reach the neck so they work perfectly with loose vintage waves and pinned up fringes. This was the style I wanted to create for The Yellow Hat.

I used a freeform technique whereby you work with the material, sculpting the felt into shape.

And here it is, the finished article on sale at 7 Park St, Stockport where you can get a great coffee, a vintage jumper, free wi-fi and business advice!

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