Sunday, 31 January 2010

2nd Millinery Course - Week 16

Another week into things and my design is really progressing. As mentioned last week, this is my design so far (yes, I still haven’t worked out a brim).

I really didn’t like the sinamay test piece so this week’s test was to try with felt. My first rip test caused the felt to stretch so there’s no way I’m going to be able to rip it after it’s blocked. So I ripped it first. A great big rip through the middle. That was scary to do, but it blocked really well and looks JUST LIKE THE PICTURE I DREW!!! The only issue I have with it is that the block is unimaginably HUGE and I’d really like to make the hat on a more, erm, human scale. I’ll have to see next week if there’s anything else I can use.

As that dried, I started to block another hat. This is with a patterned hood I bought in milliner warehouse almost a year ago. It was one of those things you never use because it’s too pretty and too expensive. Well, it was the only one I had left and there was a block in the cupboard at college that had been singing “use me” over and over to me for weeks. The rest, as they say, is history and I’m really really pleased with the effect so far. I’ll take it off the block next week. The underside is really smart, with the felt reducing nicely where it rolls under. The best I’ve ever done. I’m not sure if that’s the quality of the felt or that I’m getting better though.

And that’s pretty much where I’m up to. I need to update on some of the hats I’ve taken home to work on as they’ve come along beautifully and I think a photo shoot of what I’ve created so far is a must.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Productive day - and helping a friend

I have been sewing ALL DAY!!! I got up early and got started on my mum's hat, which I've finally finished (well, I want to add a button or something to the middle of it to hide where the feathers join, but mum's gone out to get that today.) It looks fantastic on her and really goes with her outfit. I'll get a picture of it all together next weekend at the wedding :D

Next job is something I really really want to tell you about, but it's a big secret, also for the wedding next we'll all just have to wait...

Whilst working on my hat for the wedding, the felt and sinamay one, a friend called and asked if I could help her make a top for a burns night party tomorrow. She'd bought a metre of tartan fabric and had no idea where to start.

I really enjoyed helping her out creating this. We took a dress pattern and shortened it to make a long top. I especially like how we added a bias strip round the bottom, which gives it a really funky look. I really enjoyed working with someone - I normally sew alone. And she did a fantastic job of it, especially as she'd never done anything like it before.

Friday, 22 January 2010

2nd Millinery Course - Week 15

Well, new term and back to the millinery course. I missed two lessons while I was in India, one of which was the drawing lesson, the other was starting to build the designs we’ve put together.

My design is developing nicely. You may remember I was basing it around a mirror I saw in a hotel – the white surround and the gothic style. I’ve done lots of background research on the style with mirrors, interior design and in fashion and have developed this sketch:

There were a few things I wanted to get through in the design:
· Seeing through things – a mirror may be a solid surface, but the image appears behind it, at a distance. I wanted to get the impression of looking through something so the design has part of the hat missing and replaced by a wire frame. This allows you to see into the hat as well as through it, so I’ve made sure it’s lined.
· At the edge, where you go from the felt to the frame, the hat is frayed and damaged-looking. This ‘deconstructed’ look jumped out at me a lot in my research and I like the way it fits in with the frame.
· The general shape is based around a top hat. This classic shape gives an elegance, and the fact that it’s ‘old fashioned’ fits with the idea that it has been damaged over time to lead to the part of it being missing.
· The lining is very luxurious – it’s going to be a silk I picked up in India – very detailed and beautiful bold colours. It’s a sort of paisley pattern that again I feel fits with the idea that this is a very old hat.
· Size-wise, I haven’t fully decided if I want this to be a full size topper or a percher yet. I need to have a play with how it fits with the design.
· And colour-wise I’m not yet sure if I want to go for a classic black so that it feels like a very traditional hat with lots of stuff going on, or if I should pull out the blue from the lining. For this second option I think there may be too much going on so I’m leaning towards black.
· Materials – I’m pushing towards felt, but not sure how the edge would look – felt cuts very cleanly and the blocked felt is designed so it doesn’t rip under pressure. Sinamay would fray well, but I don’t know if it would look ‘right’
· And finally to bring the mirror thing in, and another inspiration from India I’m going to decorate little teeny craft mirrors like the original mirror and suspend them in the hat. Hopefully this will make it sparkly and reflect the lining out.

So, this week’s course was used for experimentation. I started by blocking some sinamay on a crown so that I could have a play with fraying it. I also had a play with some scraps of felt, but hadn’t had the chance to pick up a cheap hood so couldn’t do any proper investigation there. With the scraps I got some quite nice edges, but the felt stretched when I ripped it which may cause problems. Next week I’m going to try blocking a felt then ripping it, and ripping a hood and then blocking it to see if either works. I’m also going to have a play with ways to get an effect on the edge of the felt – I’ll get the tool box out.

I had some time and some sinamay left over so I blocked a tiny little pillbox crown with three layers of polkadots. I love the way the dots don’t quite line up. It makes them look 3D and like they’ve got shadows.

Photos to follow – it’s a bit of a manic week…

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

I'm in love!!!

Last night at my millinery course, Gina Foster brought in some of her hats to show us. They are beautiful and a real inspiration. What she wanted to show us is that you don't need expensive trimmings to do something fabulous and she definitely proved that.

There was one in particular that I didn't want to take off (ever - it was the most beautiful thing my head has ever had the honour to model) which is here: - 3rd row down, second from the right, named Mitsouko. It's a relatively simple shape blocked in felt with the detailing made from pleated Petersham, but the overall effect is amazing. It's got a fantastic weight to it and fits the head perfectly.

I am completely inspired by it.

And currently dreaming of finding £327 down the back of the sofa!!!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Marfy 2010

I must admit that I haven't been overly impressed with the new patterns I've seen so far this year. That is of course until I checked out the freebies with the new Marfy catalogue.

If that's the starting point, I can't wait to see what else is in there! I love all of it except the cape (just not my style, as a cape it's pretty damned good). The three dresses are especially spectacular. I have a feeling I'll be making the lot!
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