Beginning Millinery & Haberdashery: The Blocked Felt Hat
Minnesota’s history is interwoven with the history of hat-making. Europe’s hunger for beaver-felt top hats drove the voyageurs into the heart of fur country. Most of the fur traded at Grand Portage eventually became felt hats. There is no softer, warmer, or more pliant fiber than fur-felt. We will use millinery fur-felt hat blanks to create hats using the same methods used by milliners since the 1300s (minus the infamous mercury), but our creations will reflect the character and personality of each student—perhaps a 19th-century top hat, a ’20s cloche, Belle époque feather salad, a ’40s fedora (good hats aren’t just for women) or something made with a distinctly 2020 vision. The student will use mysterious and magical sounding materials—melousine, ferrule, puzzle blocks and petersham—to make a couture quality felt hat entirely by hand. Some sewing experience is helpful but not necessary.