Hat Block Resource

Understanding Hat Blocks

Vintage Hat Repair & Restoration

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I recently completed repairs and restoration on two charming vintage hats. While the hats are indeed precious, the repairs were needed to restore the hats to functional and wearable condition not museum conservation condition. These hats are used for fashion shows by the Seattle Children’s Hospital Charitable Organization and are part of their historic and vintage collection.


Straw Braid Cloche – #1920 E – Pale blue/grey straw braid cloche with pink silk underbrim, ribbon work details and hand painted cork millinery flower.

The original pink silk underbrim was badly deteriorated. I cut a five inch wide bias of dupioni silk and sewed a narrow casing at edge of the bias. A nylon brim wire was inserted into the casing and hand stitched to the existing straw braid brim to float the new underbrim and which would additionally support the existing straw braid brim for the future. Then the bias was gathered and pleated down into the headsize of the cloche crown. An adjustable headsize ribbon sewn in to provide for variable headsizes.

The lining with its lovely details of the original Seattle milliner was in serviceable condition and reused for historic interest. The delicate hand painted cork millinery flower was repaired with a millinery glue to secure cracked and broken petals. I used permanent dye to stain and mask the white cotton backing on a few petals where the thin cork was broken and had flaked away.

Written by Wayne Wichern

April 18, 2020 at 10:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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