creating a custom hat design

how-to guide


Herbert Johnson Hatters are delighted to offer our clients a fully bespoke design service. Our hatters will work with you to create something unique and special to your preferences.

Please follow our Guide below revealing and explaing in stages, the various elements and decisions involved in creating a despoke design.

We use only the very finest quality materials for our hats, brought to life through the finest traditional handcrafting skills of our hatters to produce beautiful headwear to enjoy and last you a lifetime.



The first step to acquiring the perfect hat is to know what size you require.  All brands vary in their sizing and an individuals head size can fluctuate over time and due to hairstyle changes, so it is always advisable to have your head fitting measured prior to placing an order to get the best possible fit.  Our London shop team are always available in store to measure you for one of our hats and assist you with creating your order.  You can also follow our comprehensive How-To-Guide to accurately measuring your hat size at home here.

Head shape can also be a factor in how your hat fits and behaves when worn. Most clients will require a standard fitting but we can accomodate clients that require a more rounded or long-oval head-fitting by request. Please read our Measuring Guide for more information or contact us for advice.



All our fur felt hats are blocked by hand using wooden hat blocks.  We primarily use our sets of 'Poet' or 'Casual' open crown blocks to produce the majority of our styles which are then shaped by hand after blocking.  We offer a wide range of block shapes but our 'Poet' or 'Casual' are our most versatile and popular.

Our 'Poets' are a set of straight sided graduated blocks scaled up and down proportionally from an average open crown height of 5 1/2 inches at a size 59cm.  These blocks are sometimes referred to as a stove-pipe shape and have very little taper with an almost flat top to them.

Our 'Casuals' are also a set of straight sided graduated blocks scaled up and down proportionally from an average open crown height of 5 1/2 inches at a size 59cm.  These blocks however have a gradual taper and more rounded top shape to our Poets.

Using graduated blocks ensures that no matter what size you order, the proportions of the hat remain in balance.



The chosen shape or 'bash' of a hat can play perhaps the most major role in the final look and how the proportions of the hat balance with the features of the wearer, so it's important to choose what is ideal for you and your style.  You may have a favourite bash style but for those who may be new to hat wearing or would like to try something different, we suggest familiarising yourself with the wide array of choices on offer.  Try our ranges in store including the classic bash of centre crease, front pinch and side dents or maybe something in a hand-shaped or telescopic Pork-pie, a diamond crease, teardrop crease or perhaps a Tres-deux.  There are a wide range of choices and options within each so you may wish to discuss your preferences with our hatter or shop team.



Once you know what shape crown you would like for your hat, the next step is to pair it with a suitable brim shape.  Most hats come with an Even-Brim where the width from the crown is even on all sides, but you could opt for a Dimensional-Brim where the brim sides are made slightly narrower than the width at the front and back as in our Raiders models.  Once this is established you can decide whether you are happy with the classic flanged snap-brim style or whether you would prefer a flat-ironed brim or upturned brim.  The width of the brim is also a factor whether you prefer our Classic-brim (2.5"-2.75"), Stingy-brim (<2") or Wide-brim (>3"), and whether you would like your hats brim to be raw-edge or bound-edged.



Please consider if you wish the brim edge to remain simple and 'raw edged' or if you wish to have a handsewn ribbon bound-edge (a range of colour/width options available). Perhaps a pencil-curl to the edge is more your style? You can choose to have an even width brim or something dimensional or even asymmetric.

A wide choice of options are available.



We primarily choose to work with 100% rabbit or 100% beaver fur felt here at Herbert Johnson Hatters.  These stock felts are made to our exacting specifications and are very high quality.  Please be aware that the choices you have made for crown height, shape and brim style will have a bearing on the felts we can offer that will be suitable for those preferences.  Some felt options we have may not for example accommodate a tall crown or a wide brim but our hatters can advise you on all the possibilities we have available in stock or through our special order suppliers that will work for your preferences.  Our special order suppliers can offer a wider range of colours, felt-textures, weights and fur-blends but as these are ordered in on a single-hood basis, please be aware that these choices will effect the hats price significantly.



Style is a very individual thing as it should be, we are very happy to work with you through your ideas or put forward suggestions for colour combinations for your hat.  You may have an outfit in mind andour hatter would be happy to design something foryou to coordinate perfectly. 



We have a wide range of ribbons, trimmings, embellishments and hat-band options available.  We can also source and special order some items which we may not ordinarily hold in stock.  



The vast majority of our hat styles will come with a handsewn branded fine leather sweatband, sweatband bow and high quality handmade white branded liner inside.  However, we do offer other options on some styles which may benefit from a more flexible head-fitting or omitting a liner such as a panama style. 

We also offer a growing range of branded liner options in addition to our classic white, we now also offer 'Regal', 'Olive' and 'Champagne' liner options.  Some styles are offered with Limited Edition handmade custom liners on occasion.

In addition, we have a variety of leather sweatband colours to choose from as well as a choice of silver (standard) or gold foil options for the branding on the sweatband. Custom choices of sweatband bow and back stitching colour are also available.

step 10


We offer a custom embossing service on most of our hat styles that include a leather sweatband. We use the debossing method whereby the letters are recessed into the material using the application of heat under pressure.

Embossing is currently offered in upper case letters only in a single font (Times New Roman). Please choose a maximum of 4 letters with additionally up to 3 dots and/or a dash (alternative embossing requests outside of these stipulations will be considered and approved wherever possible). We offer a choice of Silver foil, Gold foil or 'blind' embossing (where no foil is used and letters are simply debossed into the leather) by request.

step 11

get a quote

Once all the style choices for your hat have been agreed, we will put together a quotation for the final hat price based on all the components and work involved to create your bespoke hat.

Please also decide whether you would like to collect your hat from our London shop or have it shipped directly to you. All required shipping charges will be calculated and added to your quote as applicable.

step 12

place your order

Once your preferences and quote have all been finalised and agreed, you can place your order.  Bespoke Custom Orders can be placed via our London shop or by emailing our hatting workshop directly via  We will then create a custom order for you manually in our system and email the invoice link to you to complete the payment process securely in our website.  Once your order payment has been received, we will process your order and add it to our production queue.  Lead times are variable for all order depending on the length of our current production queue.  Once your order reaches the head of the queue, work will commence on your order and you will receive your tracking information as soon as your order is completed and made ready to ship.  Adjustments to your order can be requested by the client at any time up until production begins.  Updates can be provided by email request throughout the process.