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How to Wet-Felt a Double Brimmed Top Hat

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials and techniques are as individual as she is—unique, experimental and always interesting.

A Double Brimmed Wet-Felted Top Hat

A double brimmed wet-felted top hat made using a vintage Moët and Chandon top hat- shaped ice bucket.

A double brimmed wet-felted top hat made using a vintage Moët and Chandon top hat- shaped ice bucket.

Vintage Moët & Chandon Top Hat Ice Bucket

A vintage Moët and Chandon top hat ice bucket provided the inspiration for this wet-felting tutorial. The ice bucket was purchased from a local car boot sale for £10, but yours could be bought from e-Bay for as little as £20. This is a far cheaper alternative to vintage millinery hat blocks, which can command high prices, often in the region of £150. Top hats blocks are rare and even more expensive.

Hat blocks come in various shapes and sizes but it is not often that one finds an ice bucket with a gorgeous shape that can be utilized in hat-making!

The double hat band, though not planned, simply evolved during the felt-making process. The end result surpassed all expectations.

Moët and Chandon Top Hat Ice Bucket

A vintage Moët and Chandon top hat ice bucket, upside-down.

A vintage Moët and Chandon top hat ice bucket, upside-down.

The underside of the ice bucket.

The underside of the ice bucket.

What You'll Need

  • Vintage top hat-shaped Moët and Chandon ice bucket.
  • Nuno felted hat band
  • Inner hatband made from an offcut of felt left over from a previous project
  • 250 grams Merino wool roving: In colors of your own choice
  • Pencil roving or silk embellishment for embellishment if desired.
  • A heavy-duty bamboo blind
  • An old towel
  • Warm, soapy water
  • Bubble wrap
  • A length of elastic or a heavy-duty elastic band
  • A sheet of foam underfloor layment on which the template can be drawn. Underfloor layment is the perfect choice for this template because it can be re-used many times over.
  • Scissors: Make sure you have a sharp pair!
  • Felt-tip pen: This is for drawing the template. Use a damp cloth to remove any traces of ink left behind from the felt tip pen so that it does not bleed into the wool.
A selection of complimentary Merino Wool Roving and Pencil Roving for Embellishment.

A selection of complimentary Merino Wool Roving and Pencil Roving for Embellishment.

1. Draw the Template

  • Draw and cut out the Template as shown below onto a sheet of underfloor Layment using a felt-tip pen.
  • Use a damp cloth to remove any felt-tip markings on the template so that these do not bleed into the wool.

2. Prepare the Working Surface

  • Place an old towel down onto a waterproof surface.
  • Put a large heavy duty bamboo blind down onto the towel.
  • Put the prepared template down onto the heavy duty bamboo blind
Hat Template made from underfloor Layment.

Hat Template made from underfloor Layment.

3. Side 1 of Layer 1

  • Put down an even layer of Merino Wool fibers as shown on the template below.
Merino Wool being added to the Template

Merino Wool being added to the Template

The template covered with an even layer of Merino Wool Fibers.

The template covered with an even layer of Merino Wool Fibers.

4. Wet With Warm Soapy Water

  • Sprinkle the project using warm soapy water in a squeeze bottle.
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