How to Make a Hat Base
Soft hats and caps are well and good for casualwear and baseball teams. A really stylish chapeau, however, calls for structure, a shape that supports lovely extravagances from bows to veils.
Traditional millinery techniques require costly equipment, such as hat blocks and steamers, in order to create stiff, shaped hats. I've found an alternative means to make hats. It's done with inexpensive materials and doesn't require much fabric. The supplies are readily available, with the exception of heavyweight buckram, milliner's wire, and wire joiner, all of which can be ordered online. My method is so simple-you don't even need to measure your head.
Here, I share my technique to make the "pod," a brimless oval contoured to fit the head. A hat in its own right, the pod is also the foundation piece for brimmed styles. To see more detail on these styles, see the full article in Threads #153, and don't miss other fundamental techniques like this one by purchasing a print subscription of Threads Magazine.
Form a hat base from buckram
The stiff, slightly cupped "pod" is an oval of heavyweight buckram. Lapped darts shape the pod, and lining covers the underside.
Shape the buckram
1. Cut the pod pattern from heavyweight buckram. Download the template. Trace the pattern on the buckram, and cut out the pod shape. Make seven cuts, each 1-3/4 inches long, from the pod's edge toward the center.
Click image below to download template.