Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Millinery Course - Week 3

Well, week three has been and gone and I've blocked the brim of my hat. Last night's lesson was a lot harder than the previous ones and I've got some concerns, but I can see where it's all going now.

Firstly, I bought a straw hood this week in red and some petersham ribbon for the felt hat. I've got the ribbon in black for the inside (to stop the hat stretching) and royal blue for the edge of the brim to go with this coat: http://www.karenmillen.com/pws/images/catalogue/product/011CG00806/mann_medium/011CG00806.jpg

I knew exactly which block I wanted, but someone else got there first so I had to have a rethink. I ended up with this one (which I might like even better...)

He'd said that we could have a bit of variation in the size block we used when compared to our head sizes. I'm a 22" head and used a 22.5" block for the brim and am now using a 21" block for the brim - it adds up to quite a difference. I've had to put a seam in the back of my brim because of it (to take out the extra felt) but really can't see how it's all going to go together with such a massive difference...

First job was to mark the cutting line on the crown and remove the brim. Very scary to make that first cut...

Blocking the brim was far harder than the crown. With my brim block (which looks like a very funky toilet seat and sounds like a toilet cleaner - oh I was having so much fun with the toilet jokes last night) you have to pin the middle bit first to keep it in shape, then stretch it out over the whole of the brim. I was really struggling to get the pins in due to the angle. Pushing pins into wood isn't easy in the first place and my fingers are really sore today from it!

But eventually it started to work. We removed most of the excess fabric and made a butted seam at the back. By the end of the session I'd blocked the brim and it was looking less toilet seat and more hat which was very satisfying. A lot of people didn't manage to get that finished and were feeling quite frustrated, and I can see why - it looks nothing like a hat then suddenly at the last minute it starts to make sense.

Next week we will put wire and ribbon round the brim to strengthen it, and start blocking the straw hood. Apparently that's quite a different process and gives very different results despite being done much the same way.

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