I had never heard the saying but my friend Google told me it meant 'If you can't do something, fake it' !!
Yes Mike I watched that programme too. Hadn't realised what a hazardous job it was. Not only was it hazardous because of machinery used (as were most factories of the time), but the use of mercury in the process of making hats (to produce felt?) was highly dangerous to workers health too. We might moan about H & S requirements these days, but you can see why these restrictions came about. Viv.