Saturday, 11 April 2015

The Trials & Tribulations Of Making A Top Hat: Part 2

For part 1 click here.

So this is where we left off with my top hat:

So I had the actual hat it was now just a case of covering it.

I dug around and found the black felt I had... and the sticky back black felt I also had.

First I decided to cover the top of the top hat. For this I decided to use the stick back felt as I felt it would be easier.

I used the template from my prototype (that I used to cut out the cardboard for the top of the top hat) and cut the felt a little bit bigger than the area I was covering so that I could.fold it over the edge like this:

That's probably the easiest bit of covering this hat... and not just because I used sticky back felt.

Next I decided to cover the underside of the brim, again using the template I used to cut out the cardboard.

This time I cut the brim slightly bigger both inside and out so again I could fold over the edges.

And I think I used the sticky back felt for this bit as well... but I can't quite remember.

But anyway, like so...

I discovered whilst covering this hat that you are better off cutting the pieces slightly bigger than you think you are going to need - there were a couple of places where there was very little to fold over on the outside of the brim.

So anyway on to the top of the brim. This is done in the same way as the lower brim apart from you won't be folding the outer edge under. Cut it slightly bigger by all means but you will need to trim it down as close as you can once it's glued on. The felt on top of the brim will cover the bit you folded over from underneath brim. However you won't have anything to hide the upper brim if you fold that under... if that makes any kind of sense...

I used my glue gun for this... I thought it would be easier to use non sticky felt so it wouldn't catch on the hat as I put it on. So you can cut the felt so it goes up on to the trunk (?) of the hat and then I slowly went round and used my glue gun to stick the fabric down a bit at a time. Don't rush - if you do it might go spectacularly wrong.

And naturally I forgot to photograph this particular step in making the hat.

So once that is done this is the point that you trim the edge and glue any unruly bits in place.

When it came to cutting the felt for the trunk (there's that word again!) of the hat I put the template round the cardboard hat to check the size. It's a good thing I did as I discovered that due to the cardboard the template was no longer fit. So to compensate for that I temporarily stuck the template to the hat and then used tape to fill in the gap.
Yes this photo is sideways

Then cut the template off again and it will now be the required size.

Again to stick this piece of fabric on I used a glue gun and went slowly, a line of glue at a time.

So it goes like this - line of glue, stick down, line of glue stick down.

This way your glue won't dry before you stick your fabric on and you can move the fabric slightly to fit better. (Be careful as you push the fabric down around the edges... if the glue seeps out it will be quite hot still... trust me I know)

Then I used a bit of sticky back felt to line half of the inside.

This is where I noticed that the hat was a bit tight... but I think it is to do with the hat being more solid that the prototype rather than because there was a layer of felt inside.
Lining - blogger preferred this photo sideways

So as I mentioned in part 1 if I made it again I would increase the circumference slightly.

So once the hat is complete you can decorate in anyway you want.

I opted to add a ribbon... which is where more problems occurred.

I'm led to believe that when you add ribbon/trim to a real top hat you can use hot water or steam to shape the ribbon on to the hat. However given that my hat is made of cardboard and the ribbon I had chosen had a wire edge I decided against that (and I've removed wire from wire edge ribbon before... it's not particularly fun).

So what I did was twist the ribbon over (on both sides of the hat) to make it fit the curve.

I used my glue gun again for this but only in strategic spots.

I wasn't sure if the glue would show through if I put it all over the ribbon. I lined the seam of my ribbon up with the seam of my felt... that's probably an obvious thing but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Here is a close up of how I twisted the ribbon on the sides of the hat.

It is at this point that you can moan as you sit and pick all the long strands of hot glue off your hat that have been left behind from using your glue gun :)

I hope this was useful to all you budding hat makers... or anybody who wants to cover cardboard with felt :)

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