The Making of a Trilby Hat – Isabella Josie

If you would like to see how I made this felt trilby hat, click on the image  – it should take you through to my millinery site. 🙂

Several people have been asking me how a handmade hat is created – so I’ve created a short video to show. Hope you enjoy!


via The Making of a Trilby Hat — Isabella Josie


Opening an Etsy Shop – Part 1

Over the next few weeks I am going to be writing about my experience of setting up an Etsy Shop. If you haven’t heard of Etsy, its basically an online e-commerce site that specialises in handmade and vintage items. Here’s a link to my shop page if you want to see what an open shop looks like

The search bar allows you to look for items in other shops, take a look around. As you will see each ‘shop’ looks slightly different as the seller is able to customise the appearance of their ‘shop’ using a series of templates.

Ok, there are some initial things I would suggest you do before you get get started on Etsy.

  1. Check out the Etsy site to see how items are listed and if this is the sort of selling platform you have in mind.
  2. If you are making or sourcing your products, check you have several that you are proud of and would appeal to a buyer. It helps if your products in your shop have some coherence. In my shop I focus on selling hats and fascinators, however, if I were to sell a hat, a handmade card and a vintage teapot all though the same ‘shop’ this may appear rather random to the buyer (unless it was one of your unique selling points!).
  3. Insurance* – check you have appropriate insurance for your products for the countries you are intending to ship too. This information will inform how you set up the shipping area of your ‘shop’.
  4. Contact your local tax office* (in the UK it’s HMRC) to find out when you would need to complete any required paperwork by.

*I’m aware this post will be read by people from across the world so I won’t be able to give specific here).

If you like what you see, and are interested in trying your hand at Etsy selling then the next step is to set up an Etsy shop account.

If you want to earn yourself some free listings (a listing is an item for sale in your shop) as  you do this, please click. By doing this you will not only gain 40 free listings from Etsy yourself, but I’ll also earn 40 at the same time. If you would rather not use the link, that’s absolutely fine, just sign up with Etsy via the front page of the website The recommendation will only work is you haven’t already begun setting up an Etsy Shop.

When setting up a Etsy account you will initially be asked to create a user name, password and for your email address. Your username will need to be a unique name (no-one else can use it)  and can consist of up to 20 characters. Once you have registered your username it cannot be changed. However, you will also have the opportunity to add your full name which will help people find you, if completed this will replace your username in your Etsy shop profile.

Next, click on the ‘Sell on Etsy’ tab which is in the top right hand corner of the page.

You will then come to the Shop Preference screen  – a screen shot of mine is shown below. This is where you choose the language your shop content will be written in along with currency for pricing your products and the county where your shop is  based. Once you have completed this section click save and continue and you will be taken to the ‘name your shop’ section.


The grey bar at the top of the page is very useful – the dark grey circle shows where you are in the shop opening process and the sections that you still need to complete. As you will see I took this screen shot when I was at the ‘stocking my shop’ part of the process.

The next step in the Etsy Process is Naming your Shop – this is something I became rather (needlessly) obsessed by when I found out the shop name I wanted ‘Isabella Josie’ was not available. Again, you are limited to a maximum of 20 characheters so I couldn’t have ‘IsabellaJosieMillinery’ either. However, Etsy is pretty good at suggesting some alternatives options. You can play with your name options as much as you like.


In the end I settled for IsabellaJMillinery as it kept with my hat branding. As you can’t included spaces in your shop name it can help to start each new word with a capital letter to make it easier to read. You can change your shop name as many times as you want before your open your shop. Once your shop is open you can change it once easily, subsequent requests will need to be sent through to the Etsy team.screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-15-45-55

If you aren’t able to use your ideal shop name try not to worry. There are ways around this. I have included my preferred name in my shop icon (you could even put it in your larger banner if you wanted to as well ) to brand your shop as this will be what your customers will see. You can also add your own shop title which is where I have used my preferred ‘Isabella Josie Millinery’ wording. Can you see mine below?Isabella Josie Millinery screen shop Etsy

I hope you have found this post helpful, I am by no means an Etsy expert and still have a great deal to learn. Any advice you have to offer would be great to hear, please send me your comments!

I’ll be back with Part 2 soon which will focus on listing your products and provide information on costs of running your Etsy shop.

Note: The views I have expressed in this post are my own, and this article isn’t run or sponsored by Etsy. The reason I choose Etsy, rather than one of the other online market places (for example Folksy, Missi etc), is because of a) it’s global selling opportunity and b) shop set up support was being offered through a closed Facebook group for UK sellers as part of the ‘Etsy Resolution 2017’. Although this post is focusing in Etsy, hopefully some of this may be of use to others too.

Open for Business – Isabella Josie Millinery

I am so excited!

Isabella Josie Millinery is ‘Open for Business’.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you may remember that I have dreamt of selling my makes for quite some time. Way back in 2013 I was writing posts about my business thoughts and it sort of went on a ‘back-burner’ until I fell in love with hats.

I’m delighted to say that I have two pieces of excellent business news to share.

I have just opened my first ever online Etsy based shop to sell hats, fascinators & headpieces. It’s called IsabellaJMillinery which was as close as I could get with Etsys 20 characters shop name limit. Please click on the link and have a look around. I’m still working on my online shop but feel like it’s at a point I can officially say ‘I’m open’!

I’m keen to help others get started on their own online shop and I have contacted Etsy to see if I can get permission to use some behind the scene screenshots so I can write some ‘step-by-step’ opening an Etsy shop guides. Fingers crossed they will get back to me soon.

My second piece of news is that a range of my Isabella Josie hats are proudly on display in the real world in a local beauty salon called Marina Beauty Box at Port Solent Marina near Portsmouth, England. Port Solent is a great place to look around so if you live in the local area please do pop in and have a look. For readers who live further afield here are a few pictures so you get the idea.Isabella Josie Millinery @ Marina Beauty Box at Port Solent, Hampshire

Can you see my hats? There they are, very proudly displayed at the front door. If you look inside the shop you will capture a glimpse of a few more on the right hand side – Voila! Isabella Josie Millinery Hats on display Marina Beauty Box, Port Solent, Hampshire

Millinery Tips and Techniques

All Milliners have their own techniques and ‘tricks of the trade’ and to help me in my learning, I’m keeping a record of these here – some many be useful, others not, if you have any suggestions or tips of your own please share them via the comment box. 

Blocking Tips:

  • Some Milliners prefer not to soak Sinamay to soften it, some spray their fabric to make it damp for blocking and then paint the stiffening solution onto the fabric once blocked into shape.soak sinamay in water
  • If blocking felt hoods using steam, spray a fine mist of water inside the hood to dampen it before steaming.
  • Cover blocks in cling film, plain plastic bags or foil to protect them before use.
  • If blocking velour hoods or black fabric pop some scrap fabric over the covered form before blocking.
  • Increase the size of a crown block by blocking over an old felt hood (covered in plastic). A 1/16th inch thick hood roughly adds 1cm to the head size.
  • Don’t soak fur pile hoods in water based stiffeners – block by steaming.
  • Lay rope on top of Petersham ribbon (or cling film) for shaping grooves or defining shapes in blocks.

Continue reading

A Step by Step Guide to Making a Felt Cloche Hat

Felt cloche with side swept brimStep 1: Select the blocks you are going to use to shape the fabric and cover them in plastic. Make up a water-based stiffening solution (8:1 for felt). Soak the felt hood in this stiffening solution.

Step 2: Stretch the felt hood and pull the base of the hood over the brim block. Pin the hood roughly in place (North, South, East, West) to hold in place. Continue reading