Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd.
Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd.

How to Make Stiff Felt Fedora Hats - Ultimate Guide!

Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd. Updated Jun. 30,2022

Felt Fedora hats are ideal for keeping you protected from summer heatwaves and chilly autumn breeze. These stiff felt hats are lightweight and usually made of cotton or wool, and sometimes are made using a blend of cotton, wool, and polyester. The best felt hats for women keep your hair intact without messing with your look, regardless of outside weather. They can also transform your outfit and give your look the edge you have been looking for.

Whether you are a hat enthusiast or a novice looking for the ideal hat with a wide brim,  this article would definitely be where to start. We provide you with many useful knowledge about fedora hats, and provide a guide to DIY your own FEDORA!! Read to find out!!

Felt Fedora Hats

Photo by on Unsplash

Felt hats fashion trend

So, what is a felt fedora hat? When was the felt hat invented? What is felt commonly used for?

First let’s get to know felt. Felt is a textile material that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers.

Felt is, it seems, one of the oldest man-made materials! Fur felt hats date back to at least the 16th century. During that period, shiploads of beaver pelts were exported to England from the American colonies to be used in coats, trim for collars and cuffs and, of course, felt hats. Then in the early part of the 20th century, cloth felt hats, such as fedoras gradually grew in popular.

As for its usage, felt is widely used in the hat industry. It is also used to make slippers and as a novelty fabric for garments and drapery. Felt padding is employed in both apparel and furniture. Industrial applications include insulation, packaging, and polishing materials.

A little reminder about felt: it is a material resulting from the amalgamation of non-woven fibres.

Felt Fedora Hats

Photo by Ekaterina Grosheva on Unsplash

Procedure for DIY a felt fedora hat

1. Choosing Fabric: The hat needs to be made from an unstructured felt rather than a felted woven fabric as it has to be permanently stretched.

2. Marking up: The fedora hat starts out as a cone shape. You need to mark a quarter circle cut. Measure round your head just above the eyebrows and use this measurement (A-B) to mark out an arc from one corner.

3. Sewing: Pin the straight edges of the cone together, overlapping the straight edges rather than making an edge to edge seam. Sew by hand using a loose running stitch. If you're doubling up, make sure the smaller cone is inside.

4. Stretching to shape: Thoroughly wet the felt then press out the excess water with a towel (don't wring!).

5. Now you start to stretch the brim, working from the very edge and going around and around working inwards. Pull from side to side, stretching along the edge of the brim, NOT outwards from the crown. Start gently and you'll end up with a brim that curves gently into the crown rather than sharply.

6. Finishing: Leave the fedora hat to dry until very slightly damp. While it's still very slightly damp press the brim with a hot iron to fix the shape. Leave to dry completely.

Felt Fedora Hats

Felt Fedora Hats

Photo by YurView DIY - How to Make a Fedora Hat with Laura Hubka Millinery

Things you'll need for making your own felt

It is precisely because the felting process is so difficult and labor intensive that making your own felt fedora can be a rewarding experience and a topic of conversation.

Fedoras are a readily recognizable type of hat that, due in part to iconic movie heroes favoring them, give the wearer an air of adventure and sophistication. Unlike other cloth hats, however, the felt for a fedora is made in the very complex process. The extra labor required will reward you with a streamlined appearance and an incredibly sturdy end result.

DIY FELT: prefelting

Felt Fedora Hats

Photo by YurView DIY - How to Make a Fedora Hat with Laura Hubka Millinery

Felt Fedora Hats

Photo by YurView DIY - How to Make a Fedora Hat with Laura Hubka Millinery

Step 1> Portion out the wool batt. 6 ounces is a good starting point for a first attempt. Peel apart the wool batt layer by layer and set aside.

Step 2> Prepare the felting surface by laying down the two pieces of bubble wrap, smooth side up, next to each other. Place the wool layers on one of the pieces of bubble wrap, one layer on top of the other, arranging the fibers in a crisscross pattern. Create a circle that is 26 inches in diameter using this process.

Step 3> Using a stove heat water in a pot until it is near boiling. Mix in a small amount of dish soap, just enough to make the water slightly sudsy.

Step 4> Pour the still-hot soapy water over the netting until the fibers are saturated. Using the window screen oress down on the fibers to remove air bubbles, and then rub the fibers through the screen in a circular motion. Add additional hot soapy water as necessary to keep it wet. Once the fibers start to work through the screen, carefully remove it and continue rubbing the wool directly with your hands.

Step 5> Slide your hands underneath the bubble wrap and flip the fibers over onto the second piece of bubble wrap. Cover the fibers with the window screen, and add more hot soapy water. Press down again to remove any new air bubbles, then begin rubbing this side with the same circular motions and pounding action as with the first side. Remove the screen once it appears fibers are working their way through. Continue to rub and pound with your hands on this side until it holds together as well. The fibers are now at the soft felt stage and you are ready to begin shaping the felt.

DIY FELT: Felting in Earnest

Felt Fedora Hats

Photo by YurView DIY - How to Make a Fedora Hat with Laura Hubka Millinery

Step 1> Transfer the soft felt to an upside-down lipless bowl that is slightly larger than the desired interior of the final product. Add additional hot soapy water if necessary. Resume rubbing and pounding the felt until it takes the shape of the bowl and can maintain that shape once removed.

Step 2> Remove the felt from the bowl, fold it brim to brim and place it back on the bubble wrap or a hard textured surface. Roll the felt from brim to crown several times using a textured roller. Alternate this with beating the felt with a meat tenderizer, also from brim to crown.

Step 3> Unfold the felt, turn it 90 degrees and refold it. Roll and beat felt repeating step 2.

Step 4> Unfold the felt, turn it inside out and refold it. Continue to roll and beat felt repeating step 2. Unfold it, turn it 90 degrees, refold it and roll and beat felt repeating step 2.. Continue this process until the felt becomes pliable and retains its shape. It will be slightly clay-like in feel at this point.

Step 5>Rinse the felt thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap.

DIY FELT: shaping the fedora

Felt Fedora Hats

Photo by YurView DIY - How to Make a Fedora Hat with Laura Hubka Millinery

Felt Fedora Hats

Step 1> Place the felt, best side up, on a hat shaper designed for fedoras. Apply steam to the crown using an iron and then alternate between beating the crown with a meat mallet and rolling it with a small textured roller until the crown is firm. Apply steam often during this process.

Step 2> Steam the brim with an iron. Alternate between beating it with a meat mallet and rolling it with the small textured roller. Steam often. Continue until the brim is stiff.

Step 3> Lightly press the hat with the iron itself, paying particular attention to both the front creases and top indentation.

Step 4> Remove the hat from the shaper and trip the brim to the desired shape using fabric sheers. Let the product sit, cool and dry until the next day.

Step 5> Measure and cut the ribbon so that it will wrap around the hat where the brim joins with the crown. Using the thread and needle, sew the two ends of the ribbon together and slide it over the top of the hat. The hat is now ready to be worn.

Felting is not a simple process and the result can vary depending on your technique. If this is your first time felting, plan on having enough excess wool so that you can test the process first, before working on the hat itself.

Since felt can be itchy, you may wish to make a lining out of a smoother fabric to sew on the inside of the hat.

Felt Fedora Hats

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

A DIY hat doesn't always require precise cuts and advanced sewing skills. In fact, some of the most memorable hat tutorials involve upgrading existing hats with personalized details or making a hat out of something unexpected.

We hope you’ve loved our DIY guide through the process of creating a felt hat! If you don’t have a sewing machine, some of the fabric options can be stitched by hand. And you can get great results using paper, tissue or even plastic bags too.

We hope you enjoy this project. And hopefully you had a lot of fun in the process. Good luck and have a happy and wonderful day!!

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