Wellema Hat Co.

Jun 4, 2017

“Each hat starts with me.”

So says Cody Wellema of Wellema Hat Company, which has just celebrated its one-year anniversary on East Mariposa Street in Altadena.

Wellema writes about “a glorious Creator” who created mankind in His image. Cody believes that we are all “designed” to create, whether it be in making an instrument by hand, writing a novel, cutting hair, welding, farming, or even tattooing.

His “art” is making hats by hand and he’s proud to continue what he calls a dying trade, but timeless art.


Photography by @mrmukatsuku.



All photos sourced from Wellema Hat Company.


Photography by @mrmukatsuku.


Photography by @mrmukatsuku.




New Wellema inspired by the early 20th century.


Every Wellema hat is completely made by hand.… Personality and character is added with every pinch, stitch, and crease. The hat’s personality is carried out by you. The life story of the hat is told by the rips and scuffs that mark your individual charm.

Some hats will show the dirt from working out in the field, or sticky fingers from your daughter playfully taking it off your head. Others show the burns from dropping your cigar, or the sweat from touring the world. It is deeply gratifying knowing that 50 years from now, one of my hats will be worn by a child whose mother or father of whom the hat was originally made for.
—Cody Wellema


Block wall handmade by Spaulding for Wellema Hat Company.


Cody says the tools he uses are from the turn of the century—as in the early 1900s—and using his hands allows him to feel and “know” the material more than any machine could. This is such a hands-on endeavor that the only electricity needed in his shop are for the lights, his iron, and power for his record player. His collection of tools includes dozens of wooden hat blocks, brim cutters, millinery thread, an old leather thimble, and sweatband stamps (just to name a few).


A formillion, circa 1870, for creating the best fit.




Blocking felts.


Hat flanges, circa 1930s.





At the end of the day, I know this may not be the best way to make money or the most efficient way to produce hats, but this is something I truly believe in and something I intend to carry out the rest of my life.
—Cody Wellema




Photography by @photoby217.





“Our signature coin pins are quite special. They come from my grandfathers coin collection, now gifted to us.” Wellema Hat Co.


“Vintage 1940’s woven brocade detail in the trim work on this forest green period piece!” Wellema Hat Co.


The Fellowship of Christian Athletes commissioned a group of hats, replicating the one worn by Tom Landry, coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Instead of handing out a trophy for the Tom Landry Award, Wellema handmade hats were given.


Wellema uses American-sourced materials including “one of the last standing felt companies in the United States.” Two different weight ratios are used: Dress Weight of 4.5 ounces, which is lighter, softer, and more malleable, and Western Weight of 7.5 ounces, which is more dense and durable.

Next, fur felt particulars. Customers have a choice of European hare, pure beaver fur, 50/50 blend (rabbit and beaver fur felt), and limited mink and belly beaver blends.

Colors can come in pecan, whiskey, silver mist, and granite. Want to make a bit more of a color splash? Choose from black cherry, kelly green, turquoise, red, orange, or gold.


“One off piece of green flecked fur felt. Telescope crown with sand colored trim.” Wellema Hat Co.


“Silverbelly beaver with felt matching trim. Finished with a vintage wind-trolley!” Wellema Hat Co.



“A western Wellema! Brown beaver with brown trim. Cattleman crease with a 4″ brim.” Wellema Hat Co.


“Charcoal pure beaver, tear drop fedora with black trim. Back drop is an issue of the Pasadena Star News from 1933.” Wellema Hat Co.


“Gold colored hare felt in a diamond creased pork-pie. Light olive trim with a shark gill bow and a touch of rust. Complimented with dark olive, hand stitch edge binding. A true Wellema custom.” Wellema Hat Co.


“Navy pork pie crown with a wide flat brim. Beige trim with an exaggerated bow complimented with a redwood colored edge binding.” Wellema Hat Co.


A bare minimum European hare hat runs $300 while a mink and beaver belly blended hat runs $700. That is before any extras desired, such as a long-hair brush finish ($50), bound edges ($75), or a 4”+ brim ($50). Add a 1920s or 1930s Buffalo nickel pin or a early 20th century Indian head penny pin for twenty-five dollars. If the thought of dirt and scratches on your custom hat fills you with alarm, invest in a Wellema hat box for $65.


Photography by @mrmukatsuku.


Photo by @mrmukatsuku.


Wellema Hat Co., 837 E. Mariposa St., Altadena. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; open Mondays by appointment. Ph: 1.626.720.4132. Email: Find Wellema Hat Co. on Facebook here.


“My name is Cody Wellema, and I am a hat maker.”


Photography by @mrmukatsuku.




Wellema Hat Company Grand Opening, June 3, 2016; photo by @mrmukatsuku.






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