Monday, 29 November 2010

Inspiration - 20s Cloche

This weekend I watched Changeling. A very moving film that had both Rich & I hooked the whole way through. Do watch it if you haven’t seen it.

But it wasn’t just the film itself that caught my eye. It’s set in the 20s and 30s and I was HOOKED by the hats! The shapes of the cloches are divine. They hug around the hairline then flare out into tiny brims that set Jolie’s face off beautifully. Here's an example:

As I blinked my way through the tears, eager to know what happened next, I was getting fidgety. I NEED one of these cloches. As the credits rolled, I was straight onto the computer and into my millinery library to find out one thing. How do I make a hat block? I haven’t wanted something so specific since the day I tried on Gina Foster’s Mitsouko hat [see here]. I found some information and started it off by blocking three layers of buckram onto Ermintrude.

I’m going to combine lots of things I found online and in books:

1. I’m blocking the basic shape of the crown in buckram. I’ll get the head-line right first

2. I’m going to wire this shape. Some of the books on suggest heavy wiring of buckram shapes so that seems a good starting point

3. I’m going to add the cute little brim in buckram & wire that. This will be done freehand I think

4. I’m going to fill the shape with expandable foam (the MOST fun DIY activity made more fun by being hatty) – check this link for where I got this one from

5. I’ll carve the remaining foam away to give myself a rolled brim to pin to

6. I’ll use polyfilla to build up the shape where it needs it (I think it will around the back as I’ve blocked on a polystyrene head rather than a block and it is more shaped than I want)

7. I’ll cover it to give a smooth finish. I’m not sure with (anyone who reads this and has done this before, please please give me tips.) I’m guessing papier mache or stretchy fabric. I don’t want to increase the size by much.

8. I’ll finish it and varnish it to make it waterproof

9. I’ll block a hat on it and call myself either a FOOL or a GENIUS!

So, not much work to this one then...I’ve struggled to find decent information on how to do this properly – if anyone reading this knows of good sources of information please let me know. Or if you have any experience you can add to save me messing this up entirely. I think this could be a long project so I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going.

I can’t wait for my cloche!!!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Happy St Catherine's Day

Well, it's St Catherine's Day again (has it really been a whole YEAR???)

For those unfamiliar with the day, custom in France would be for unmarried women who were 25 years of age to pray for husbands and to honour those who've passed that age who are not yet married (although I married at 24, I'm relieved things have changed - I consider myself a child bride - imagine being 'past it' by that age!)

The millinery angle is that friends and families of the "Catherinettes" (the girls praying for some hot tottie) would make them special hats and they'd parade to St Catherine's statue. Because of this, St Catherine's day is still celebrated by Milliner's across the world.

And as for me? I did NOT realise we were that far through the year already, but here's a great link for you to peruse at you leisure

St Catherine's day parade in Paris, 1934 (video)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Vogue 8465 - 2010's coat

Firstly, I'll admit that I still haven't put the buttons on my 2009 coat, but it looks so damned good with a belt! Don't think I've done a photo shoot of it yet either and I've been wearing it for a year!!! Well, here's the only decent photo I actually have of it!

And if you want to read about that one, blog posts are here and here.

This time, the pattern is Vogue 8465 - view C - the one in red.

I picked up some gorgeous fabric from down Goldhawk Road - black wool with silver spots on one side and silver with black on the other. Fantastically warm with a beautiful drape. As the main fabric was so soft and slinky, I decided on this beautiful taffeta to line it with the intention of giving it a little more body.

I got a roll-end of the lining so ended up getting a metre extra to match the silver to line the underside of the collar and a metre to line the sleeves (ok, so I didn't actually work out what I needed when I got the extra and had to get two lots because it didn't quite fit on a single metre!)

The coat itself, although it's taken me a month of evenings and weekends to do hasn't been overly difficult and the fit and shape are beautiful. I measured exactly to the pattern size 12 so didn't have to do any alterations. I made a toile of the bodice to check. Before putting the buttons and snappers on, I tried it by just pinning it where I thought it would go and it seemed very bulky round the waist. But once the internal support from the poppers was in place it actually fit really well. I'm now really glad I didn't make any changes to the waist line (I ended up chickening out)

There's some design features on this coat that I really love - the little loops for the buttons are brilliant, as are the buttons I found

But basically, I'm thrilled to bits with it. Rich took me out and we got some photos of it this evening.

And here's some pictures of the construction process. If you have any questions, just drop me a line - I'd really recommend this pattern.

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.
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