Monday, 21 June 2010

New Blocks

Following on from the success of the 2/3 size top hat, and several people saying ‘I love it, but I’d rather have a bowler – I prefer something a little smaller’ I have just ordered a matching bowler crown

and a downturned brim to see if that gives some interesting finishes.

They’re going to be about a month as the lovely people at are closed for a few days for a holiday, but I’m already excited about getting them and working with them. My head is full of ideas :D

And here as a special treat to you is Alice in her top hat last week - doesn't she look amazing!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A beautiful cream silk mini-boater

This hat is a commission for a friend of a friend. She wanted something in cream and sent me a few pictures of some styles she liked. It left a huge amount of the design up to me. This was very exciting and I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.

The hat has been formed by blocking a shape in Buckram, a stiff fabric which can be formed when wet and then dried to keep that shape. I didn't have any blocks in the shape I wanted so used a metal wine cooler that was the perfect size for the crown.

The two-part shape was stitched together and has been covered with a silk taffeta in a warm cream with a slight shot of gold. This method of forming a base and covering it is a traditional millinery method that dates back hundreds of years. The only modern touch was to do part of the stitching on my sewing machine. Most of the stitching has been done by hand. A head band has been used to finish the inside, and a band of millinery petersham (ribbon) has been used to give a professional finish to the silk hat itself.

The flowers are formed by cutting individual petals out of silk organza and then stitching them around a bud formed from millinery wire and cotton wool. Each petal is curled before attaching it, which is how the rose shape is created. Due to the size of the flowers on the hat, I stuck to two roses. They have been accentuated with curled goose feathers. The flowers were made using a tutorial from Prudence Millinery. Well worth the money if you fancy trying it - a beautifuly put together tutorial with hundreds of very clear photos.

Finally, the head band is made from millinery wire and bent to the shape of the head to give a really comfortable fit. Well here's some close ups of it for you to enjoy.

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