Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Millinery Course - Week 6

Right, Alion's weekly update part...erm...6 I think...

Arrived tired, grumpy and with shaky hands from the exhaustion of stressful work and not giving myself any down-time. Got my brim out and carried on (very slowly due to the shaky hands) sewing the blue petersham ribbon around it. Quickly relaxed and the troubles of the world (and financial year end with a project with everything going wrong) disappeared away from that little work room with us making our hats. Got the petersham sewed on in fits and spurts throughout the night (to be told by the teacher that it was "pretty much perfect" which made me grow ten feet). Once it's on though, you wipe a damp cloth along it and it shrinks to perfectly mould round the hat - so now it's doubly perfect!!! Sadly no picture as the battery ran out on my camera, but I'll show you some of that complete next week.

Next stage with that hat was to sew some petersham to make a head fitting. I got started (sewed the seam in the back to make it the same size as my head), but no further.

Onto the straw hat. I found a brim (OK I've been coveting it for most the course and it wasn't in use this week) which matches the rakish angle of the crown I chose. Here's the two of them together:

I then totally unpinned the brim, decided that I was happy with the shape even though it hadn't kept as well as I'd wanted (see last week) and chopped off the brim...

Blocking the brim was far easier than the felt one (possibly as the pins went in easier) and with the experience of blocking the straw crown I was really starting to understand how it was working (less of a pull and a stretch, more of an ease and a shape). Sorry no photos here, but it looks grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat

Finally, it was time to take the beige cloche off the block. You may remember that I struggled to get it on, to get the hood to stretch around the block, well it was just as hard to get it back off again! The teacher did it for me in the end as I was so worried about stretching it. It did stretch a bit, but apparently we can ease it back into shape. I bought this one home as I'm keen to embroider on it (the felt's a dream to sew on) and my husband got a gorgeous picture of me in it (his photography being key of course - something to do with focussing on the eye so everything else is soft)

And finally, hat number 4. I had this image of a black hat with a spiral down it in white, with the hood cut and resewn to get the shape. Not sure if it'll work, but I've got a hood sitting here at home so I can try it...


Thursday, 19 February 2009

Millinery Course - Week 5

Ok, week 5 was the BEST YET - they're really starting to come together...

First of all, I blocked the pale hood (one of these, forgot to take a picture of it before I blocked it)

I really struggled at first to stretch it enough to get it round the bottom of the block, but kept steaming it and pulling it until it finally stretched. As with the straw hat I had to make a strip to pull it into shape. But boy what a shape!

It's got a rolled edge and the head fitting is actually on the inside so all that stretched felt had to be steamed and fitted to the decreasing size on the inside...to show you, here's how I did it first time:

and here's how I did it after some tutoring and practice:

I'm not really sure how to describe the technique, but you just steam it till it's too hot to handle and pull it into position where you want it. Then you can go back and tidy it up until you're happy with it.

Right, so that one's sitting in the drier and it's on to check how the straw one's coming along. While that's dried, the fantastic "dent" in the top has stretched back out. Didn't do anything with it, but think I'm going to re-block it as it did look far better before. It's all a learning experience...

Unsure at the time what to do with that, and with fingers all crinkled from steam I got down to the brim of my other felt hat. First it had to be trimmed and suddenly it looks like part of a hat

Then it had to be tried on to check the fit. This was a little small, but they've got special equipment (hot sticks on a vice as far as I can tell) for making things bigger and it soon fit just fine

I was really pleased with this as I had been worried how the brim in a size smaller than my head and the crown a size bigger were ever going to fit together.

Next job is to reinforce the brim. Using the block as a guide, we had to bend some wire into the shape of the edge of the brim and then sew it onto the brim itself. At this point, we used the hat bands we'd made in previous weeks to support the hat itself.

And finally (and yes I have noticed that my weekly reports are getting longer) we started to sew the petersham ribbon on over the wire. This was far easier than I expected (and sewing the felt of the hats is just dream-like). The aim is to make the stitching on the ribbon invisible and I really couldnt' see mine. I was so proud!

So the final photos are of that - a prize if you can spot the stitches

Next week we should be sewing the two together. I should be able to block the brim of my straw hat and maybe even decorating the black one (if I can find what I'm looking for)

I just can't wait till Monday!


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Millinery Course - Week 4 Take 2

Well, after a week off (time to be caught up at the end of the course so no worries there) spent wishing I could be there I had another lesson.Seriously, I'm 4 weeks in now - surely I should be SLIGHTLY less excited week by week, but every night all I want is to be there!So, what did we do this week?Firstly I finished my hat band, which is good as the hats get worked on off the blocks next week

Then it was on to the straw hat. You may remember that I stiffened it last time, well I think I used a little too much stiffener and it's rock solid! So I decided that instead of a summery hat I'd make a much more structured smaller hat. I loved this block (oops didn't get a a photo of that) with a "dent" round the top and slightly asymmetrical. Here's how it looks with the top of the hat blocked:

and here when I'd blocked the whole thing:

I'm loving how the colour's looking with the shape. I think I'm going to do an asymmetrical brim.

Next job was the seam in the back of my felt hat. You may remember it looked like this last time:

Well, it got trimmed, stitched and ironed and now it looks like this:

Ready to cut along the brim and work on making that strong.Lastly, I want to make a cloche in a sort of camel colour and embroider it with an autumn leaf (my major inspiration - you should have seen our wedding!) and I've picked out this block, which someone has already used and has come out like this (without any extra work done to it yet to help it keep the shape):

I'm so excited by it all - and it's wonderful to come on here and write all that excitement down. Next step involves wire and ribbon - stay tuned

Monday, 2 February 2009

Millinery Course - Week 4

Hoping the course is on tonight and that I can get there...London seems to be inaccessible by any means this morning!

Update: Nope - snow stops milliners - I miss it already and I wouldn't even be there yet!!!
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