A Step by Step Guide to Making a Felt Cloche Hat

Felt cloche with side swept brimStep 1: Select the blocks you are going to use to shape the fabric and cover them in plastic. Make up a water-based stiffening solution (8:1 for felt). Soak the felt hood in this stiffening solution.

Step 2: Stretch the felt hood and pull the base of the hood over the brim block. Pin the hood roughly in place (North, South, East, West) to hold in place.

stretch the hood over the block

Step 3: Pin the bottom of the brim onto the block working in opposite directions until the hood sits flat.

pin hood in place

Step 4: Add a pin line to mark the top of the brim block edge, as above. Cut the hood top off just above the pin line.

cut top off hood

Step 5: Remove the top pin line. Pin the top of block brim (N, S, E, W) to hold the felt in position. Pin (block) the top of the brim out until its smooth.

Pin top edge of brim

Step 6: Stretch the hood top over the dome (crown). Pin in 4 places (N,S, E, W) then work around the base of the felt hood until it lies flat against the block.

block top of hood over dome

Step 7: Once dry, mark the centre front and back of the brim and remove the blocking pins. Trim the brim and crown into shape using a piece of chalk to draw in the cutting line. I’m making a cloche brim that slopes to one side over the eye.

trimmed crown and brim felt cloche

Step 8: Sew the Petersham ribbon headband inside the brim.

Petersham head ribbon

Step 9: Secure millinery wire to the edge of the brim with blanket stitch.


secure millinery wire to edge of brim

Step 10: Cover the edge of the wired brim with Petersham ribbon or other bias strip. I’ve used Petersham ribbon folded back on itself for a really neat finish. Remember to join the ends of the ribbon before you secure it to the brim – a straight seam for Petersham.

adding petersham to cover wire edge

Petersham brim trim

Step 11: Join the crown and brim.

Join brim and crown

Step 12: Add a trim. I’ve folded 1 inch Petersham in half and added a bow.

adding trim

Viola! One finished felt cloche shaped hat with a side swept brim!

Felt cloche with side swept brim


5 thoughts on “A Step by Step Guide to Making a Felt Cloche Hat

  1. I’m having a hard time acquiring these wooden “blocks” that you start with. Do you know of a place in the States (I live in Charleston, South Carolina) where I could get them? There’s zero interest in millinery here– even an address in the UK would do.

    • In the Uk there are 3 block makers I’ve used so far – they all ship internationally. They are Boon and Lane, Guy Morse Brown and Hat Blocks Direct. I’ve also brought a few from eBay and they do come up on Etsy, so both are worth a look. X

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