I put the fleece on a hat form after I have worked the fleece on the washboard for enough time to reduce the band down to a workable size and felt the rest of the hat. Then I apply a piece of seran wrap to the area I will be working on and start applying pressure and rubbing the fleece into the hat form. You probably see a hat forming now but there is still much more work to do. As you work around the hat, move the seran wrap over the area you are working on.
You can see that the band needs smoothing out and tightening up, so I took it off the form and worked some more to shrink the band with the washboard, that will help to tighten it up. Then it was put back on the form and more rubbing hand work was used to shape it up.
Sample Photo 4
It is well shaped now and should be removed from the form because it needs to have all the soap rinsed out of it with cold water. this is a good time to rinse off your form. Once the hat has been rinsed thouroughly, get a bowl and put about 2 quarts of water in it and 1 Tbs. white vinegar. Soak about 15 minutes and rinse in cold water again.
Sample Photo 6
I just fold it over and rinse until clear water is seen. Squeeze out as much water as you can. Take a towel and cover the folded over hat and roll it up tightly. Put the rolled hat on the floor and stand on each part of the towel at least once. Remove hat from towel and put back on the form. It will be smaller than when it came off, so you will have to work it back to the former shape.
Now the brim can be shaped to your liking and the hat can be left on the form to dry. During the summer, I put the hat outside in the sun. During the winter it may sit by the fireplace or be left to dry overnight.
Stetson style shaping. There may be some place or places on your hat brim that are bumpy or not as smooth as you might like for the shape of the brim. I will take a needle felting tool and work on that spot to try to make it a smooth curve along the brim. If the place is an outside bump, take the needle and push it into the hat while using a piece of foam as a support for the other side where the needle will come through. If it is a divot type where it curves in, I take the same tool and use one needle to pull some of the fleece out to fill the divot.
Once the hat is dry, I take a pair of tweezers and pluck out the straw and grass that didn't come out during the processing of the fleece. Depending on how particular you are, this could take some time. I take out Paladins red straight hairs that he grows along with his beautiful black fleece.
A horse hair adjustable band will complete this hat. You can use whatever band you want to finish this hat to you liking.
I was able to finally get a picture showing the true color of this black fleece.
If you have used this information to felt a hat or want to try it and have any questions or even suggestions that could improve these instructions, please feel free to communicate with me on the contact page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank You