250_dirty_champie_233 250_ellsworth_209How to make a Great Character Hat

Now that you’ve seen our great hats we’re sure you’ll want your own Custom Hat – so what are you going to do with your old one? It’d be a pity to relegate it to the trash.

Our solution is to rotate it out and make a great Character Hat. First you want to make sure it’s at least a 5X fur-felt – or know for certain it’s weatherproof – because if it isn’t you’ll end up with a blob that used to be a hat.

Tom Mix

Tom Mix lived the cowboy way, serving as Town Marshal in Dewey, Oklahoma in 1912, and later performed in Wild West shows.

The Ellsworth is our re-worked character hat, fashioned from the Dirty Champie by following the suggestions of Tom Mix – the first true movie star and one time performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

Years ago I read a story about how Tom Mix used to crease and work all his custom hats himself in the shower. So I decided to take his advice and am more than pleased with the results. The amount of time it takes is up to you. I had the Ellsworth fashioned in less than 5 minutes – then a further half hour fine tuning the look. The steps I went through are pretty simple.

  • Find a picture of how you want the hat to look and print it. Make sure your hat lends itself to the picture of your character hat. You’ll never make an old Boss of the Plains design look like an upcurled cavalry trooper. Study the picture and make sure you know how you want the creases and brim shape to look.
  • Make sure the hat you’re doing this on is weatherproof BEFORE you start.
  • Take off the hat band – it’s only held on by a little glue or a stitch or two. Or if it’s too tough to remove, or just a satin cloth with bow then leave it on.
  • Start your shower – put the hat close at hand, but not in the shower.
  • Grab your hat and away from the water and put your hat on. This is done so the inside lining stays as dry as possible. Step under the shower head and let the warm water completely soak the crown and brim – when water starts to soak thru the underside it’s wet enough.
  • At this point all I did was step to the back of the shower and work the hat with my hands. This is what I did.
  • Crown: Widened and shortened the centre crease, and made the pinch deeper on the sides. Put a deep pinch on the back of the crown.
  • Brim: Curled the front and upturned the rest of the brim slightly.
  • When I was satisfied with my handy work I tossed the soaked hat in the sink and finished my shower. After getting out I fiddled with the look and left it to dry in the garage. Twenty-four hours later it was dry and ready to wear.
  • Supplied as information only – your common sense should always be followed.
Old West Character Hat

Longfellow wearing his old west character hat, posing with Spokane Cody at the End of Trails festival in Cody Wyoming, 2006