Hattin’ Around Rye & Hastings, UK

It was suppose to be about camping, but for me it was about hats. A girls weekend away included a visit to Rye, Hastings and a camp out in the woods. 

Saturday on the way to the Wood, we stopped in Rye, an old town in South East England for a few hours.  Rye is one of the Cinque Ports and has a lovely old town center.

With lots of historic character, vintage shops and best of all the hat shop, Hearld & Heart.  You may recall the name Hearld & Heart from my interview with Jane Smith, they did the amazing hat that Andie McDowell wore in Four Weddings and a Funeral (94).

A few hats and thimbles in a small local museum, not the museum in the tower as they were hanging the closed sign as we approached the gate. 🙁  The Harlequin, a secondhand book shop, had two darling pink vintage hats.

I have not yet been able to embrace the loads of floppy petals, but I am trying.

I love that there is something different happening on each side of this dusty rose hat with velvet trim. It looks like Pinokpok to me, but I think it is actually parabuntal. If anyone knows for sure, please let me know.

I adore living in London, but a night out of the city is a welcome change. I love sleeping under the stars with a canopy of leaves overhead. Even being awoken with a cacophony of bird song at morning light is needed every once in a while.

Day two, we packed up and were off to Hastings.  The town known from the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  It is a fishing & port town, popular for holiday getaways.

Wardrobe Clothes Agency had loads of vintage hats, every piece distinctly different. A white with black lace pillbox, a red and pink feather cocktail hat,  and a sheer brim on a wire frame with pearl details. 

I am completely enamored with the wire framed cocktail half hat. I will be teaching a workshop on this style of hat. Please sign up for the Hattin’ Around Newsletter  for the announcement of workshop dates.

The white silk with black stitching was my favorite. OMG look at all that stitching! The design is also very clever.

Wardrobe Clothes Agency (teal turban with bow) and Voodoo Sirens (black trilby with large ribbon bow), both are Edward Mann hats.  I really must do some research on him, as his nautilus hat was a huge inspiration for me.

It was my good fortune to be in Hasting when there was a Steam Punk event. Steam Punk folks do amazing costume.   A velvet top hat with goggles and feathers, a voodoo hat with a skeleton and crow, a red vinyl captains hat and a pith helmet with goggles are just a few of the hats on show. However, I saved the best for last. His nickname is Moose and he trimmed his own hat.  I believe he said there are 82 brass rivets. The craftsmanship was superb.

Thank you to Hatz and Thingz, for the tickets to the Steam Punk event. It was late in the day, he had three tickets available, and there were three of us with a little bit of time remaining before we needed to head back to London.  Hatz and Thingz is a new shop, offering both men’s and women’s hats and various vintage items and steam punk accessories.

The longest hatpin I’ve ever seen, ±33cm (13″) and a few hatpin holders.  Hatpins are another of my hat related fascinations.  Please sign up for the Hattin’ Around Newsletter,  a hatpins workshop will be coming soon as well. 

I hope you have enjoyed my few hatting highlights from Hastings and Rye.

New Old Bowler Hat Block Repair

I acquired an vintage hat block this week at Victoria Grant‘s millinery supply sale. She was having a bit of a clear out.

image2 I spotted a lovely old hat block, a modified bowler and I was hooked. However there was tape along the front. I ran my finger over the edge, to see if I could feel any chips. The outside edge felt sound, so I decided to take a chance. All the way home I was envisioning hats I could make with this new block.

However once I got it home and took the tape off, I realized just what bad shape it was in. A chunk of the front brim fell off. Not only that but there was a hole clear through at the transition point between the crown and the brim where the wood was fairly thin. It had obviously been used extensively.

image1

I looked online for some repair tips and was encouraged by Judith M.’s repairing vintage blocks blog post.

I made a 1 minute movie of the process. See show notes below.

I started by dusting the piece off and removing the loose fragments of wood. Then I glued the large piece on with Evo-Stik Wood Adhesive. I held it in place until the glue set.image4

image3

Once the glue dried I used Ronseal Multipurpose Wood Filler to fill the hole. Several smaller layers is better than one really thick globby one.

image5

The wood filler did not expand, I just managed to push it through the hole, and finally just figured I would sand off the excess.

image6

Here are my supplies.

image7

This is after the second layer of wood filler. But before the first rough sanding. The wood was so pin marked and splintery that I decided that the filler may help give it some support as well as smooth out the rough wood surface.

image8

Then I sanded took a break, and sanded some more.

image9

It looks dramatically better. It is not perfect, but I am hoping that it will at least be useful.

image1

At least there is no longer a hole and the broken piece is attached.

image10

I have never tried to repair a hat block before. At least nothing beyond, wiping them down and putting on a bit of oil for the wood. I am pleased with the results and since I just finished the repairs a couple hours ago, I will let it set a bit longer before putting it to work.

Have you ever repaired a vintage hat block? What tools and materials did you use and was it successful?

And remember, interesting people wear hats.