Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tutorial- Kind of a felt hat

Picture from acedia's Tracon V files, 2010.

For Joxter's headwear I needed to do a cone hat. For me the obvious material was wool. I don't see artificial materials existing at Moomin Valley. I didn't have the luxury of space nor did I feel like using a day or more for water plays with felting, so I took a bypath. I thought about using readymade felt, but the hat would have required huge sheets. Also I didn't want seams to be visible. Instead of regular felting or felt I chose to use needle felting, which doesn't really require much skill. You can do it while watching TV and it really can't go wrong. And it's not expensive, even if you don't have materials from old projects which you could use.

For Joxter's type of a hat I made a base from fiber fabric or fiber textile, I don't know what the real word is. The material is typically used in upholstery. It's white, almost more like light cardboard than fabric and the fibers are quite visible. If there are creases on it, you can straighten it when the fabric is damp and let it dry. Cardboard or chicken wire could be used as a skeleton, but there should be some defining shape underneath the cover, because it's really limp as its own. I discovered soon that fiber fabric was a great choice, because it can be sown. No glue needed.

For the cover you obviously need wool and a felting needle and some type of a base. When you needle felt it's required. Otherwise it would be almost impossible. Piece of foam plastic is my favorite. Then you need something to felt on. I used sheet cotton I had lying around. It would be wise, if the middle layer and the wool were the same color. Minor errors would not be visible. I needed to do some patching up with my hat, because there where few white spots here and there. I don't really know how to measure the felt. I didn't weight it, but I had two plastic bags, approximately one liter capacity. Small amount were left unused.

And then felting needles of course. They can be found from craft or fabric stores. If you like to pimp them up there are "handles" to put them in, making them more comfortable to use and also safer. For some you can stick multiple needles, so the process speeds up.

And the usual: glues, yarns, regular needles and possibly some band aid. If you would like to coat the inside of the hat, any fabric will do. I had some tricot lying around, so I used that.

First you need to prepare the skeleton for the hat. I had more than enough materials, so I didn't pay too much attention to this phase. You could make patterns from paper, trying out different methods. My pattern was pretty much about circles. First I drew a circle on fiber fabric. The radius was about the preferred height of the hat. Then I started to take slices out until, in cone shape, the circuit was sized to fit in my head.

Then I made another circle. I measured the width of the rim for the outer edge of the circle and added about a centimeter extra for seam allowance. Then I chopped off few blocks from it to make it curve slightly down. It's possible to take a piece off from one place, but I wanted the rim to look wavy and uneven so I took parts out from three different spot.

At this point I also cut the base cotton. You need two similar rim pieces as in your skeleton and one cone piece.

I just need to add, that you can calculate and base the pattern on numbers. That is what Yoki would have done, but not me. I'm experimenter.

Then it's time to assemble the skeleton. I sew the cone part by hand and attach the rim to the cone with zigzag. I also cut the peak of the cone off, because Joxter's hat is little ruffed up, not pointy.

Then it's time to felt. Take the platform, the "base" and wool and start needling. There is no right way to do it, but more you stick the lasting the result is. And be careful, felting needles are sharp even if they don't look like it. They also might break few times, so buy some extras while you are at it.

After felting I put the whole thing together. I started the inside coating. I cut the fabric roughly, but it could be cut while everything else. Just make it little bigger than the cone part. Then I glued it to place.

Next was the inside of the rim. While I waited the glue to dry I felted the upper rim to the cone. At this point I trimmed the fiber fabric rim edges so that there was only felt and cotton sheet on the edges. Then I glued the top part to the skeleton.

I pushed the peak inside of the hat and after it was dry I felted the two layers together on the rim. The structure was rather thick, so I sew around the edge to flatten it. I also made some stiches all over the rim in case of failing glue.

Right side finished.


  1. Kiitoksia tästä : D (oon nolo ja kirjotan suomeksi) sitä mie vielä vaan, että osaatko selittää mitä tuo mystinen valkonen juttu tossa siis on? (tarkotan tota tukevaa hässäkkää joka tulee huopakankaan väliin), että mistä olet löytänyt? (:

    1. Olkaatten hyvä! :) Mystinen valkoinen tukirakenne on koviketta, jota käytetään tavallisesti huonekalujen verhoilussa. Kangaskaupasta löytyy yleensä tukikankaiden lähettyviltä. Olemassa on myös huopamaista koviketta, mutta tähän käytin sellaista liimatonta kuitukankaista, joka on enemmänkin kartonkimaista. Omani ostin Eurokankaasta. Kannattaa rohkeasti tiedustella myyjiltä. :)