This is the original vintage hat (by Sally Victor - photo is from a 1945 McCall's magazine) that I was trying to recreate:
This is my very first blocked felt hat!! Obviously, I did not have the original hat block for it, nor could I find or afford one. But, the thrift store just got in this lovely wooden salad bowl that worked PERFECTLY (best $2.50 I ever spent)! So, here is a teaser of the finished hat with the salad bowl block.
The Lady Amherst center tail pheasant feathers were curled at the base (just like the original vintage hat) via shaving/notching/steaming. I found a vintage ~1950s $2 steamer at the thrift store that works PERFECTLY in place of one of those fancy (and expensive!) steamers. The feathers are curled at their bases, which was difficult to do given the thickness of the quill and the fact that the Lady Amherst feathers tend to curl backwards on either side of the quill (making shaving them with a razor very tricky). The feathers are tacked onto the lip of the brim, and then the ends trail down onto the sides of the hat.
*Please note that the Sally Victor hat, and many other vintage-inspired ones, will be for sale as custom orders on Etsy very soon!