Corset stays in hat making?

Corset Stay in hat making

When are corset stays used in hat making?

It could be hard to make the connection if you have never tried to take a blocked crown or brim off a hat block after stiffening and drying!

A corset stay (the type which looks like a flattened wire spring) is ideal for removing blocked hats off their blocks. They have smooth ends hammered onto them which will not damage the hat fabric. Such stays bend in all directions yet remain stiff. Firstly insert the corset stay between the cling film covering the block and the hat fabric. Then, move it up and down to loosen the material and enable you to take your blocked shape off without damaging it. Very helpful indeed!

Here is a corset stay in use with a felt cloche hat. Notice the corset stay pushing up beyond the ‘waist’ of the felt cloche. Work your way around the block, pushing the corset stay up as high as it can go.

Corset Stays used in hat making

Here is a corset stay in use with a sinamay crown. You can see the corset stay through the sinamay. Push it up and down around the sides of the crown, preparatory to pulling the crown off the block.

Corset Stay used in millinery.

Blocking your fabric onto the block makes it as close to the block as possible. The cling film between the fabric and your wooden block prevents it from being stuck permanently to the block! When you insert the end of the corset stay between the hat fabric and the cling film, you will loosen the hold created by the blocking and stiffening.

We’ll be answering more of your questions soon, in the meantime if you’re looking for inspiration and millinery projects why not head over to HATalk? With this code GMB20 claim 20% off a new HATalk Subscription.

If you’re hoping to delve deeper and improve your skills then check out Hatcourses.com – which houses a list of millinery and hat making courses around the world and available teachers.

CS1 – Millinery Knife/Corset Stay

£6.99

A corset stay – the type which looks like a flattened wire spring – is ideal for taking a blocked crown or brim off a hat block after stiffening and drying! They have smooth ends, which will not damage the hat fabric. Corset stays bend in all directions yet remain stiff. This means that they can be inserted between the cling film covering the block and the hat fabric and moved up and down to loosen it and enable you to take your blocked shape off without damaging it. (Approximate length 30cm). Very helpful indeed!

Ex VAT £5.83

If you are not ordering blocks as well, this product can be purchased by clicking “add to cart”. Otherwise, please click “add to quote” to add it to your block quote.

 

What are Dolly Heads for? Are they like Poupees?

I am often asked what are Dolly Heads for? A dolly head is a wooden version of the stylized canvas-covered papier-mache poupee. Typically you can use a dolly head to create draped forms. This is because it imitates the human head shape. It is a great tool for the milliner. Used in almost every process of hat and headpiece making, it is essential for the positioning of headpiece construction as well as for trimming and fitting veils.

Essentially a milliner designs, drapes and blocks on the dolly head with felt, straw, and foundation materials. Sometimes known as utility blocks they are great for blocking cloches, turbans, fascinator bases in all materials, lacework, supporting a hat or fascinator during trimming, adjusting size, and even for display purposes.

As mentioned a Dolly Head is great for hand draping felt cloche hats and you can see a full tutorial from HATalk on this here.

You can also find a step-by-step HATalk project showing you how to create a retro bridal veil as pictured below:

In our workshop, we make them from lime and balsa wood. Lime will last longer but Balsa is sometimes the preferred alternative because of its self-healing properties. However, heavy use over time will mean its shelf life is shorter than that of its lime version.

Simple Dolly Head

Our simplest Dolly Head is the DH2 this block gives you the basic human head shape and the eyes are marked for placement purposes.

Dolly Head DH2
Dolly Head DH2

Featureless Dolly Head

DH4 (Lime) and DH5 (Balsa) have a featureless face but a sloping forehead and a rounded back and good nape of the neck, great for close-fitting cloche hats.

Dolly Head DH4
Dolly Head DH4 (Lime)
Dolly Head DH5 (Balsa)
Dolly Head DH5 (Balsa)

Fully Featured Dolly Head

The DH3 is a fully-featured version with eyebrows, nose and chin.

DH3 - Dolly Head
Dolly Head DH3

 

Which size Dolly Head should I buy?

We make Dolly heads to fit specific head sizes. If you’re looking for an average female head size then we would recommend 22.5″ / 57cm. With all the different options available, choose which features are important to you. Then decide which material you would prefer to work with (lime or balsa).

We’ll be answering more of your questions soon, in the meantime if you’re looking for inspiration and millinery projects why not head over to HATalk? With this code GMB20 claim 20% off a new HATalk Subscription.

If you’re hoping to delve deeper and improve your skills then check out Hatcourses.com – which houses a list of millinery and hat-making courses around the world and available teachers.

 

If you live outside the UK please check what import charges / customs duties you can expect to pay on the value of your order before buying.