Brimming

I want to talk about blocking hats with brims. Now there’s every chance you have already found a way to block hats with brims that you’re happy with, in which case you can totally go entertain yourself elsewhere.  But it took me an alarming number of tries to find something I was truly happy with, so I figure there’s got to be someone else out there wondering how the heck to do this.

Of course the easy option is just to block it with the brim down and cuff it when you put it on.  Now I’m sure you can probably do this with grace and panache.  I?  I can’t ever seem to feel confident the fold is actually straight, and then I spend all day fiddling with it.  It’s a character flaw I’m sure, but I like to know my straight lines are straight.

So I’d rather fold the brim up while it’s wet (and I can be super picky about it) and let it dry that way.  But that means I have to hold it in place while it dries, because it will totally shift about if I don’t secure it.

My first thought was a safety pins.  That works fine at first, but when I came back to check on the hat a bit later, the weight of the wet wool made it slump down and put the fold in the wrong place.  I probably could have fiddled with it and found just the right position to put the pins in, but it felt too unpredictable to me.  I tried my favorite tiny safety pins next, but had the same problem (click to see the pictures bigger if you want more detail).

safety pinsNext I tried T-pins.  I figured if having the pins in there vertically was letting the hat slump, I’d try putting them in horizontally.  Alas, that made the fabric bunch out (because the head form is curved, and the pin isn’t).  If I used them vertically, the brim still bunched up, just the other way.

t-pinsThen (cough, finally, cough) I realized that the trick was going to be to both put the pin in just the right place and to bend it a bit.  So first I grabbed my handy dandy pliers and worked a nice bend up by the head of the pin.

brim block 1Then I fed the pin in through both layers of the brim and out through the very bottom edge (right on the fold).

brim block 2That totally did the trick.  The fabric stays flat.  The head of the pin is bent forward so it doesn’t make a dent in the fabric.  It doesn’t slip down while it dries, and I can be as exacting as I want when I fold it up and pin it.  I use about 12 pins, evenly spaced around the hat, and it works perfectly.

And I really don’t feel bad about modifying the pins.  I get cartons and cartons of these, and they come 100 to a box, so bending a dozen of them doesn’t leave me short for other projects (as always, amazon links are affiliate links).  If I could find 3-inch ones, I’d get those, but I haven’t been able to find those yet.

No doubt that’s way too obsessive and there’s something to be said for embracing a bit more chaos.  But, on the off chance anyone else out there is snarling at the brim of their hat, this totally worked for me.  Now, someone tell me I’m not crazy and that you obsess over blocking too.  I can’t be the only one!