‘Wool and Silk, Infinite Fusion’
Differences between nuno felt hats and industrial felt ones. History and properties of silk, wool and felt. Creation process of a cloche style nuno felt hat in a very special fabric, soft to the touch, with raw silk fabrics incorporated.
‘Wool and Silk, Infinite Fusion’ is the title of the presentation Pepa Ramírez of Tocados de cabeza Pepa Ramírez -an excellent hatter- and I have given in the Costume Museum of Madrid, during the European Arts and Crafts Days within the ‘Interweaving Experiences’ textile techniques seminar organised by the ACTM (Association of Textile Creators of Madrid).
Pepa and I have created and presented two hats. The one I made is a 20s style nuno felt hat, and Pepa’s is a 40s style felt and mohair hat created with a pre-made felt cone, with nuno felt details made by me.
Below is the video of the whole presentation. The Video is in Spanish, but you can switch on the English Subtitles
In the video you will see a preliminary presentation of the history of silk, wool and felt and their properties, followed by an explanation of how we made the hats.
Pepa explains how she makes her hats and fascinators, by applying steam so that she can shape high quality industrially created felt hoods or capelines, and I explain how I have made my hat, how to make nuno felt with an open weave fabric -silk gauze in my case- combed or carded merino wool, warm water, soap, friction and a lot of patience!
At the end of the presentation, I answer questions from the public and I explain how I have made other nuno felt pieces I brought.
To create my hat I have used one of Pepa’s blocks, that I have covered with white silk gauze (chiffon 3.5). I have then placed various layers of undyed merino wool mixed with beige raw silk and white silk threads on top of the gauze.. The silk does not felt, but it gives the fabric an amazing texture. With water, soap and heat I have then felted the wool on top of the block little by little to make a ‘cap’. Then I have made the fabric for the brim on a flat surface and I have cut it and stitched it to the main body of the hat.
The result is a cloche style nuno felt hat made with a very special fabric that is really soft to the touch.
It was a great experience. The challenge was to adapt a light fabric such as nuno felt to hat making. Felt hats are usually made from felt capelines, which are much more compact and thicker than nuno felt, and that can be reshaped as much as necessary, and fabric hats are made with patterns. My hat, on the other hand, cannot be reshaped and the body is made in one piece.
Pepa Ramírez and I have shared techniques and experience. I have learnt how to make hats, what is a block and how to sew the internal tape. She has learnt what nuno felt is, how to make it, how to apply it to hat making and how to make craft felt.
Below are some of the pictures of the creation process of my hat.
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