Category Archive: Hats

The Start of a New Hat

J. Matthew Phipps | November 23, 2014 | COMMENTS:No Comments »

Started a new hat. I’m going to follow with a post each step of the way.  This one has a special purpose that I’ll reveal later. This hat will also have a name. But, for now, check this one.

The New Special Hat

Category: Hats TAG: , ,

Hat Blocks for Sale

J. Matthew Phipps | October 5, 2014 | COMMENTS:No Comments »

We’ve started selling our hat blocks. I’ve been spending free time cleaning and cataloging the Houston shipment of blocks. At this point, I’m about 20% through. We have some wonderful pieces, mostly domes and brims of various sizes and shapes. We spent yesterday at the Longbranch Improvement Club’s Fiber Arts Fair. There was a lot of interest in the hat blocks. They are very tactile and people couldn’t help but touch them.

The blocks and brim flanges will be SHOW priced between $50 to $100, depending upon shape and quality, with a break for buying a combo of crown and brim. Contact me at

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Category: Blocks, Equipment/Tools, Hats TAG: ,

3 Day Felt & Straw Blocking Workshop

J. Matthew Phipps | May 27, 2014 | COMMENTS:No Comments »
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Just finished 3 days of a seminar with Wayne Wichern ( in Seattle. It was a fantastic weekend. Learned an incredible amount that has already boosted our skills.

I ended up blocking a really nice straw cloche, that was for Mary, and a military/stewardess inspired women’s hat, and finally a bowler out of fur felt for me.

I’m going to post pictures shortly.

I did get raves on the Hillbilly.

Category: Creativity, Hats TAG: , , ,

Finished Hillbilly

J. Matthew Phipps | May 10, 2014 | COMMENTS:No Comments »
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The Hillbilly is finished. I had a good amount of burlap that I purchased to experiment with and settled on that for the hat band instead of a ribbon or leather.

The crown is lightly stiffened, and the brim edge has been needle felted back on itself to form a welt and add structure. The brim is stiffened only a little and left purposely floppy.

I’m in love with the colors and pattern that emerged from the wool.

Hillbill Finished II

Hillbill Finished III

Hillbill Finished I

I was toying with the idea of making a hat liner out of the burlap, but decided against it. I did add in a leather sweat band.

Head over to Hats Off to You to order your own custom made Hillbilly.

Category: Fedora, Hats TAG:

Hillbilly Cut

J. Matthew Phipps | May 5, 2014 | COMMENTS:1 Comment »
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The Hillbilly has been shaped, rinsed, and now the brim has been trimmed.
Hillbilly First Cut
I’m loving the pattern that has shown up.
Hillbilly First Cut II
And, now for the inside of the hat. The outside was laid out with a zig-zag, the inside was laid out with a straight line.
Hillbilly First Cut III
The hat has interest inside and out.

Category: Fedora, Felting, Hats TAG: ,

Hillbilly Drying

J. Matthew Phipps | May 3, 2014 | COMMENTS:No Comments »
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The hat is up for drying after a shrink to about 1/3 of the starting size. The variegation is really coming through. Once it is dry and lightens up, it should really show up.

Hillbilly Drying I

Hillbilly Drying II

Category: Fedora, Felting, Hats TAG: ,

Hillbilly Beginnings

J. Matthew Phipps | | COMMENTS:No Comments »
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This is the start of layout for my next hat project. My vision is for a floppy backwoods hillbilly hat.

I’m using this super rich sandalwood merino roving.

Sandalwood Merino

Laying the wool out on the resist, it’s almost ready for prefelt.

Layout Begins

Stay tuned as this comes together.

Category: Creativity, Felting, Hats TAG: , , ,

Bowler Hat

J. Matthew Phipps | January 31, 2014 | COMMENTS:No Comments »

I made this bowler for my father. He’s always wanted one. This took a little work. It has a leather sweatband, lining, and hand laid felt.




Category: Bowler, Felting, Hats TAG: , , , ,

DIY Felt Rolling Machine

J. Matthew Phipps | October 23, 2013 | COMMENTS:No Comments »
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I needed a felt rolling machine but didn’t want to spend a lot of money. The professional machines were either too big and too expensive or two small and too expensive. In future posts, I’ll detail how I built it, but for now, I’ll post some pictures and the more creative of you can deduce how it was done. Of course, I’ll be more than happy to discuss details.

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Category: Felting, Tools TAG: , ,