What material would you recommend to use as the inner sweat band: leather or something else?

Some people do prefer leather…However I use a special vinyl produced by T.W. Bracher in Stockport, who have been making sweat bands (and many other bits and pieces for hats) for a century or two.  By using it in the hats that I wear myself I have discovered it has a slight elasticity so you can pull your hat further down over your head (especially useful on a windy day-see earlier post)…it doesn’t dry out, shrink, crack and so far after many years of wearing does not fall to bits…Unlike the leather sweat bands I have been asked to replace.  True the vinyl sticks to the skin (again better in the wind) but some people say they sweat too much hence their preference for real leather..We can make hats with either, so it’s down to personal preference.

Petersham ribbon, as used in special occasion hats, I do not recommend in a day wear hat..From personal experience I have found it to shrink when wet from perspiration and heat…that is of course if it is colour fast in the first place.


Can I wear my hat in the rain?

Well it all kind of depends….What was your hat made from?…Who made it?..Is it made up of  components/trimmings that might suffer in the rain or shrink?

Now of course…if your hatter actually wears a hat then they will realise what is required when your crowning glory also is not only going to make you stand out from the crowd but also protect you from the elements….and that helps.

I know that my hi-viz nylon hat works…My woven paper hats that have been then hand-painted and treated with an acrylic varnish work…Even my hat that has been covered with 36 beer bottle labels from the magic beer from “The Day of the Dead Brewery”..along with a PVA and polyurethane varnish works….But will a wool felt hat, bought from your High Street Store (and probably made in China) keep it’s shape after it has got wet…Tricky..

Wool is a hollow fibre and therefore will absorb moisture…When it does this it “compromises” the felting process and often goes to “mush”…If you pad out your hat with tissue paper and allow to dry in it’s correct shape (and not crushed) then your hat will probably become softer but will retain it’s shape….


Of course…if your hat is made from felted fur…then fur is a solid fibre and will not absorb the moisture…Your hat will get wet..Yes…But the felting will not suffer…Simply let your hat dry naturally in the correct shape…and voila…Your hat is like new…


I do suggest to those who regularly get their felt hats wet to give them a brush with a softish clothes brush, anti-clockwise,…I have been asked to renovate hats that have gone green with algi..

Hats that have been made with components that can shrink…or the dye can run when wet…whatever they are made from…well what can I say?…Petersham ribbon can do both…whether it is the outside trim or the inside sweat band…So watch out!!


How to keep a hat on in the wind..

Hi Chums…Often hear the statement, “But my will blow off when I am out in a storm..”

Well 40 knots plus a cross wind on a rib ride up the Thames and my hat didn’t fly off!!

If your hat fits comfortably and is not loose….then when it is really windy…keep your hat at the front position on your forehead (in that little crease just above your brow)..then pull the back of the hat back so the fitting slides beyond your “occiput” ( the occiput is the posterior part of the head capsule) and feels wedged over your skull…It helps if you don’t look up…but my hat stayed on…and the lads on the rib ride lost their bet…it didn’t fall off..


spiky bowlerHELLOOOOOO to all hat wearing chums.  I am often asked the same questions or regularly give advice on topics like: ‘how to maintain a hat’…’how to wear the hat properly’…’where does the elastic go’…’what will happen if I wear my hat in the rain’…

So I have created this little blog site, which hopefully people will find useful and share and will mean that they can have a better understanding of their hat(s)…appreciate them and the Hatter/Milliner that made created said master piece…and be able to maintain their hat so they can wear it all the time….With Pride and Confidence!!!

If you would like to see “Our World” in Luton, England, (historical centre of the British Hat Trade)…Then do have a look at the Youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXAPoSrmEXU.

Look forward to hearing from you and helping where I can…

Philip Wright, The Mad Hatter