Hat Blocking ABC

How to choose a hat block

Sometimes choosing a hat block can seem quite a challenging task especially if you are new to millinery and just starting to build your hat block collection. In this blog article we will discuss some of the basic questions you should ask yourself when choosing your first hat blocks.

One of the first questions to think about is – are you looking for a smaller shape like pillbox of fascinator hat blocks or a set for making full size hats

Pillbox hat blocks – for beginners and master milliners as well

Pillbox is one of the best options if you are just starting out in millinery and looking forward to making your first headpiece. Milliners love pillbox hat blocks and there are a number of good reasons why also you should consider choosing a pillbox hat block.

1.Pillbox hat blocks come in a great variety or shapes and sizes. You can order lovely button hat blocks with round sides, classic pillboxes with straight sides and also porkpie style hat blocks. Porkpie style hat blocks have a groove on the top surface. In the beginning it can be a bit tricky to block this groove neatly, but with a little bit of practice you can master it.

2. Pillbox hat blocks are easy to use thus making it perfect for beginners. We would say that this is a great shape to use for making your first headpiece. We also have a great step-by-step tutorial that will guide you through the process of making a pillbox hat from sinamay straw.

3. Another reason why pillbox hat blocks are so loved is because this is a timeless shape that does not loose it’s popularity and it can be trimmed in a million ways. Change the trimming and you can surprise your customers with new hat designs every season.

4. And last but not least – pillbox hat blocks is one of the cheapest hat block options. This is especially important when you are just starting you millinery business or want to pursue hat making as a hobby.

Hat blocks for full size hats – must-have for every milliner

Another great way to start building your hat block collection is to choose a set for making full size hats, e.g. cloche hats or wide brim hats. Here are some good reasons for choosing a full size hat block set:

  • While pillbox hats are perfect for creating special occasion hats, full size hat blocks can be used for both – creating special occasion hats as well as casual hats – like wool felt hats for winter or wide brim straw hats for summer. Create a hat for yourself and enjoy wearing it every day.
  • Start with the basic set and then enlarge your hat block collection. Our basic hat block sets mostly consist of 3 parts – tip, extension and brim block. As long as you order the same size (head circumference) and outline (round or oval) you can mix and match the hat block pieces, order new pieces like tips or brim blocks when you are ready.
  • Hat block size will be one of the questions you will have to think about when ordering full size hat blocks. While 22.5” (57cm) is one of the most popular options, we recommend that you think about the people/ customers you will make hats for. Measure your head size, measure their head size and then make the decision. You can also check our hat block size guide. Most of our hat blocks come in sizes 21”-23”, but we can make also custom size hat blocks – small ones for kids and babies or larger ones for XXL size heads. Just contact us and tell what you need.

Advantages of choosing a hat block set

Now once you are clear about what kind of blocks – pillbox hat blocks or full size hat blocks – you would like, you can have a look also at our collection of hat block sets. Purchasing multiple hat blocks at once has some advantages:

  1. Purchasing a hat block set is cheaper than purchasing each of the hat blocks separately. You can also save on shipping costs.
  2. Ordering a set of hat blocks gives you more options for creating different styles of hats and headpieces. You can combine the hat blocks in different combinations and give your customers the ability to choose from different sizes or shapes of hats.

Do you need a hat block stand?

A hat block stand is one great helper for every hat maker. You may work around living without it in the beginning but in the long run every millinery workshop has a number of these “helpers”. Firstly, it is much more comfortable to block a hat or fascinator when the hat block is elevated from the work-surface and stays stable. Secondly, hat block stand can also be used for displaying your creations.

We offer hat blocks with two different length shafts – 14cm (5.5″) and 25cm (9.8″). There is no general rule which one to use. We would recommend the shorter shaft for blocking pillbox style hats and the longer one for both making full size cloche style hats and pillbox hats. But this is individual choice depending on your height, work-surface, other personal preferences etc. All our pillbox hat block sets come with the smaller shaft stand, cloche hat blocks come with the taller shaft. When placing an order for a separate hat block stand please leave us a note at checkout which size you would like.

NOTE – there is one remark that we would like to make using our hat block stands. They will combine nicely with our pillbox / small fascinator hat block shapes as well as cloche hat blocks, boaters and flip brim block sets. However we would not recommend using them with the larger diameter hat blocks like our wide brim block (cartwheel) sets or saucer hat blocks as the base is too small for holding such large and heavy hat blocks stable.

How did you choose your first hat blocks? Do you have some experience to share? Leave a comment below, we and other fellow milliners would love to hear your story.