Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cav hat progress and the blue beaver

SO - A productive hat morning!

I got to size five hats today, some of which are of particular interest. I've got one of the custom Cavalier hat orders pulled, sized, and wired, and it's working so well that I went ahead and ordered the rest of the blanks in the other requested colors. Though they were not the cheapest blanks out there, this particular company does several steps for me (blanks are indivudulaly made to order with the crown/brim break right where you ask for it to be, and you can specify a nice small starting headsize, which means no chance of having to shrink a head opening) AND seems to produce a thick, luxurious product. They are sturdy and lovely to work with, and I'll be proud of the end result. I call that a win! Here's the first custom order-in progress, in chocolate brown fur felt.

Here is a prototype of a similar in-progress hat, out of a rusty brown velour fur felt. It's coming together nicely, but these blanks can only be used on the larger headsize hats, or on this particular curvy topped block, which uses up the height of the crown that is naturally in the blanks. With these - one size is all they offer, and it's more like a 23 for starters.  It's coming together very nicely, and will look gorgeous all finished up. The color is sortof like russet velvet. 
 Now, in order to use these velour blanks,  I CAN cut the brim and the crown apart, pull and stiffen them separately, and reattach them. I've got two black cav hat prototypes that are going this way right now, and are working fine. Sadly, that technique adds about 50% more time and isn't as clean looking as all-in-one.

Also, I am finally using a one-of-a-kind blank I was given by a friend back in Ontario. It's a long-haired blank, very probably beaver fur. It's also screaming blue, and dyed the whole bathroom when I pulled it.

I have to say it has really exceeded my expectations. It looked like a hairy, nasty mass, till I got it stretched on the blocks, and then brushed in the direction of the fur. (Which I learned back in grad school to most professionally refer to as "with the kitty.") Now it looks all gleaming ad well-groomed and silky.
Still electric blue :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feathers, blanks, and two finished Cav hats!

Finally got some pictures of the lovely new feathers and blanks that came in!

Grey, white, chocolate brown, olive, gold, and black. Loving those green ones in particular, as you will see.

Below are the hat blank samples that I just got yesterday! There are two brown ones with wide enough brims for me to make the pre-ordered brown Cav hat (GS - this means you! Do you want me to try for the bronzey chocolate one in the center, or the slightly tanner but still definitely brown one on the left? The so-called "emerald green" one on the right is more like "screaming kelly green",
which is not what I think you were interested in, but let me know.)

So - OK cavalier hat folks. I've made a few cav hats, to see how it works. Below are the results of my initial experiments. Two hats are currently finished and available, neither of which were part of the pre-orders. Here's the first one, a VERY sweet, sueded fur felt hat, size 22, with a smallish brim (for a cav hat.) I have some more of these blanks, but this is the widest possible brim I can get out of them. It's perfect for someone who wants shade and style,
but who is a little less flamboyant.
 Looks great on ME. :)

Here's the second one. A large (size 24, I think?) very WIDE brimmed wool felt cav hat with those yummy olive green feathers and matching green band. Came out lovely and clean, and I've got a call in to the supplier of those blanks to see what colors I can get them in. This blank was a dream to work with.

Second shot of same hat, with kitten, cause I'm just kinda like that. 

And - that's all for today!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cavalier hat spa therapy

The 12 yr old Cavalier hat reblock and repair project is DONE and mailed off! and looks just almost like a squeaky brand new hat. Here's a before picture, with kind permission from the man himself:

He's looking pretty spiff, but the hat looks like it could use a vacation. Below is the same hat after its visit to the TrulyHats Spa:

I'm thrilled with the way it came out. It got a bath, a steam, a brim press and re-sizing, a new wire on the edge and a new ribbon. It also got a new decorative hatband and a fabulous new gold feather to match.

Yay hat-spa! It's all mailed off. I hope he loves it.

New Hatblog - first post!

Yay new hatblog!   Not too much here yet, but I'm hopeful that I can keep the hat news flowing. Here is where I hope to add photos of hat progress and what I'm interested in and working on.  I figured out how to link this blog to the website (which turned out to be stupid simple), so I'm feeling all techno-pleased with myself.

This last weekend, I worked on several hat orders and finished two preliminary Cavalier hats. (watch for them in the Store to get a preview.) I'm generally happy with them - especially the little camel suede colored one. She's so sweet I may just need to keep her. Wait, who am I kidding - I almost never KEEP them, especially after I decide to. The first hat I sell is usually whatever hat I'm wearing.

I added a few Links, too, but it's still pretty skimpy there. Now that all this is up and running, I'll try to make that more robust as well. Lots to do!

I'm thrilled to have ordered hat blank samples from my both usual place and a whole new supplier (to me) out of Tenessee! I'm really excited to receive those in the mail and try them out. I have one more place to order samples from, and then it's try-them-all-and-decide time.
I've also got four new brim blocks coming from ebay. In short - I'm in TOTAL HAT MODE!