It’s been a while….

It’s been nearly a year since my last post – I hope you have kept well and had lots of happy adventures in this time. My life (on the crafting front) has become overtaken by hats and I’ve immersed myself in all things millinery to learn as much as I can.

Over the winter it was all about felt cloches and 1970’s style floppy hats with their shallow crowns.

Red Wool Felt Cloche with Black Trim Isabella JoiseGrey wool felt cloche with side sweep Isabella JosieCamel wool felt 70's style floppy hat Isabella Josie12919586_1206147316069739_218316324_o-3

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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.

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How to make a Buckram Hat Block

As a Milliner on a tight start-up budget, I’ve recently made some buckram brim blocks. They are basically moulds of more expensive wooden forms which you ‘block the fabric’ on to give the hat its shape.

Are you ready to see how they are made? 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

A Step by Step Guide to making a Sinamay Hat with an up turned brim

sinamay hat from frontI have recently been to London to learn about traditional Millinery techniques from the great Rose Cory. Rose is often referred to as the “Milliners Milliner” and during her forty year career and has made fabulous hats for many celebrities including the late Queen Mum.

I’m writing this post as a personal record / memory jogger of how I made my Sinamay Hat under Rose’s guidance. What has become apparent over the last few months is that there is no right or wrong way to make a hat, every millinery has their own preference, tips and techniques. If you have any of your own, please send me your comment – I would love to know. Continue reading