How to Restore Felt Hats

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Restoring felt hats can take an old piece and make it look as good as new. Restore felt hats with help from a fashion professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Felt Hats
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Eric Watson at Watson's Hat Shop in historical Cave Creek, Arizona. Here at Watson's Hat Shop we make fine tailored custom hats built to any style. Today I'm going to show you how a felt hat is restored. The first thing we do, as you can see, we have a customer come in, they would bring hats in like this that are pretty dirty and have been worn. This actually came from a rancher. So this is an actual working hat. What we're going to do is the first step is we're going to clean this hat, get the dirt out of it, just restore the finish of the hat and then from there we're actually going to remove the old leather sweat band on the inside. You can see here that it's tore. You can just see like it's just kind of dry rotted, the thread and what not. So we're actually going to remove that. The next thing that we'll do is we're actually going to re-block the hat. By re-blocking the hat we actually use an open crown hat block and by doing that we stick it in here like this. We would heat this all up, warm the felt up and we also would then take this and use what's called a foot tolliker and we get this all pushed down exactly level on the board and we just press into that and get a perfect break in between the brim and the crown of the hat. From there we use what's called a banding block. The banding block is actually what sets the band area between the crown and the brim of the hat. There's actually a hat here that we're working on and you can see that this is an open crown block and based on the height of the crown and style of the hat is dependent on the exact shape of the open crown that we would block the hat into. So if you actually see here this perfect break where the foot tolliker was that is actually where the band block comes into play with the foot tolliker. From there we want to make sure that's perfectly just lined up and you've got a perfect break there and we actually are going to take a leather sweat band. And we have a really high grade of goat hide leather sweat band, we line that up in the back of the hat. We put a mark there and then we cut it to exact dimensions of the hat that we're working on and from there we stitch the back part of the leather sweat band together by hand. We then have a 1930's singer sewing machine that we would actually put this into the sewing machine, line this hat up when it's all ready and clean and put the new leather sweat band into the hat. From there we'll set the shape into the hat, that's desired, by using steam and heat and pressure and we also have such tools that actually set the creases in the top of the hat and some of this is done by hand as well. Then from there we'll put a final finish on the hat and pretty much that's how you restore a felt hat. So I'm Eric Watson, and come on down to Watson's Hat Shop and we'll help you out. Have a good day.


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