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Saturday, April 5, 2014

How Was It Made: Part Three: A Custom Made Beaver Felt Hat From Leon Drexler, Toronto, Canada

We arrived today at the final stages of finishing a custom made beaver felt fedora hat with Stephen Temkin of Leon Drexler hats in Toronto, Canada. In the final stages you will see the attaching of the binding, fitting that binding, tacking the edge, attaching the French silk ribbon and bow tie to the hat and finally the finishing of the lining. If you would like Stephen to make your next hat, contact him here: LEON DREXLER

17: Attaching the Binding to the Curl

The ribbon binding for the curl is carefully fitted, the two ends sewn together to form the rear seam, and then basted by hand to the inside of the curl before being securely stitched by machine. Here, the sewing is complete and the whip-stitched basting thread will now be removed. When the binding is turned out, the seam will be completely hidden on both sides.

18: The Fitted Binding

When turned out, the binding snugly conforms to the curl and an elegant piping effect trims the inside edge. Tension in the binding has also pulled up the curl as intended, especially on the sides. The hat will now go back to the steamer to make some adjustments to the overall shape of the brim.

19: Tacking the Binding's Edge

Next, the bottom edge of the binding is tacked by hand to the felt with a series of tiny discreet stitches just a few millimetres apart—somewhere around 150 stitches overall for a hat of this size. This takes pretty much forever, but the result is a stable, elegantly tailored binding with no visible stitch line.

20: Ribbon and Bow

The crown is now trimmed. For this hat, a wide, dark, rich blue ribbon was selected from Leon Drexler's substantial collection of decades-old French grosgrain. The band and bow are separate pieces, invisibly tacked to the crown with matching filament silk thread. For this hat, the bow is simple and classic. 

21: Making the Lining

Leon Drexler linings are made from high-quality silk duchesse and individually tailored for each hat. The dressy character of this hat will be complemented by the nifty detail of a pleated lining. In this photo, a piece of silk has been sewn with a pleated edge and is now being fitted to the inside of the crown. The oval template is used to size the upper crown portion of the lining; it will be cut from another piece of silk which is printed with the Drexler logo.

22: Lining Installed

Once the lining is sewn and the excess material trimmed away, it is secured to the inside of the crown with a line of basting stitches. Finally, a small silk bow is sewn to the back of the sweatband. Now, it's back to the steamer one last time for a final touch-up.

23: The Finished Hat

Et voila! A hat of classic style and construction is ready to meet the street.

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