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Posts Tagged ‘millinery’

Happy new year, internet world! The last few weeks have been wonderful with lots of festive fun and travels. Now that the new year has begun, I have started working hard on a few hats that will be the perfect accompaniment to this lovely hot summer we are having.

The hat I made today was supposed to be a cute little narrow brimmed casual hat from a 1930s pattern. What I loved about it was the fact that you tie it up for your headsize and the ties also act as a lovely trim. Here’s the original pattern pic:

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One thing I knew straight away was that I’d have to change the brim completely if this hat were to offer any actual sun protection. What I didn’t count on was the fact that it’s a very shallow crown (or potentially a child size pattern..?) so it really doesn’t fit over the whole head. You can see on my hat block that it sits sort of at the back if the head. It would never survive a windy day!

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Not to worry! I set about redesigning the shape and size of the crown piece to accommodate my (tiny) adult cranium, and potentially up to about 24″ headsize (yet to be tested on a larger head!); a part-maths-part-intuition exercise. The results were fabulous! So much so that I decided to line the second toile and keep it as is! The crown is much deeper and sits quite securely on the head when the ties have been adjusted to the appropriate size. And I think the bow looks pretty ace.

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Anyway, I was so pleased with this bad boy that I decided to reward the effort with a trip to the beach! The new hat passed the test: the brim I made is wide enough to keep the sun outta my face and the hat doesn’t fly off in the wind. I wish I had made this before my sunny trip to Asia.. It was well needed and would have fit so easily in my luggage. And now for the gratuitous beach photos!

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Well I’m still crazily obsessed with my hat mission. I’m currently experimenting with drafting a calico “helmet” style hat. Something that fits the head really perfectly. It’s challenging! Here’s a little collage of recent creations:

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In the meantime, I thought I’d post a sneak preview of a saucer style hat I’ve been working on for my friend’s birthday. It’s been so great to put my millinery skills to use with this one. Lots of meticulous hand sewing!

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And on that note, I really should go to sleep now.

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Dear Cyberverse,

It’s been a long time since we’ve hung out. But like any old friend, why don’t we just take it from where we left off? Like I saw you just yesterday… Done.

My brain has been swimming in hats! I’ve started designing like crazy and finding inspiration everywhere. I’ve been experimenting with pattern based and free-form draped hats and have been finding it a fun and wonderful experience!

The draping process is like careful, meticulous sculpture work: folding and refolding every pleat until it frames the face perfectly. Not easy to do with my rudimentary supplies blockwise (I own one veeeeeerrry old hat block; tiny tiny headsize; which was covered in plaster and netting, and which I re-covered in foil to keep it from literally falling to pieces). But with lots of trying on and re-pinning I’m getting there.

I started the draping work as an answer to my gigantic piles of fabric off-cuts from years of sewing garments. Although not all fabrics work equally as well (for example, they may need a lot of steaming after getting squashed from flat storage), I do feel that I’ve finally stumbled on a creative “green” solution to my fabric-off-cut-hoarding-problem. And no toiling is needed because the draped hat is both the experiment and the final output. It’s much more time consuming but also more satisfying creatively.
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The pattern-based hats are quite straight forward in terms of process because I can follow a series of obvious steps to get to the finished hat. Changing the structure of the hat is also more systematic (though no less fiddly at times). I must say, though it helps to have studied millinery to have the right techniques on hand in order to deal with curves and pressing and easing and linings… The most time consuming part is toiling with these hats. Especially because I’m only using reclaimed materials, so each hat has the very real potential to be different from its sister. Today’s toile had a Hellraiser vibe about it:

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I shall dutifully post pictures of the completed creations once they are complete!

Good night, old friend. Nice to be back.

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