Wow! I spent last week in London with the wonderful Rose Cory and about 6 or 7 other students soaking up millinery knowledge and enthusiasm. I’ve been raving about this course to anyone who cared to listen (and a few who didn’t I’m sure), but I haven’t felt so inspired in a long time, and I couldn’t believe how much I learned in just a week. I wished I could have stayed for longer, and I’m already plotting when I can go back for another hit. Anyway, here’s a bit of what I got up to…
draped felt hat and pillbox block
pink and black pillbox – and a cheeky snap of Rose (seated) and Meena, another student, in the background
The first thing Rose did was to ask what we wanted to learn. It meant that everyone was doing something slightly different at any one time, which sounds chaotic but was actually brilliant, because while each of us was doing our own thing, there was always something just across the room to be inspired by and look forward to doing. So I decided to learn to make my own block, make a draped felt hat, and then use my little pillbox block to make a small perched hat with a crushed velvet flower trim. All of these things were new to me so I got a lot out of it.
As well as the finished products, I thought I’d include some of the step-by-step too, as I haven’t done that in while! I hope this might be interesting to some of you, please feel free to comment/ask about any of it.
pattern pieces of buckram
forming sideband by interleaving buckram layers
attaching tip to sideband
damp buckram ‘bandage’ to cover join
wiring to stabilise and rope to allow pinning to the underside
final buckram tip piece is damped and pinned in place, then everything is pressed smooth with a very hot iron. done!
stayflex is wrapped and pressed over a canvas base on the block
finished hat base, ready to add outer materials
‘tube’ of silk velvet cut on the cross and pulled over the block
velvet is gathered to secure. this can be shown as a feature or covered with a trim
pink and black velvet are joined with grains aligned using Bondaweb, and 4 large and 4 small petals cut on the bias
each petal is steamed using a damp cloth and a very hot iron, then twisted at the base, unwound and stretched at either side and at the tip (along the biases) to create cupped petal shape
8 petals – dried and ready to go!
attaching petals to ‘stem’ – use very strong thread!
petals are added in opposing pairs
finished trim on pillbox, showing the two-tone petals
beige velours hood is steamed and stretched before blocking
starting to drape on the block – i struggled with this, it took a while to get a feel for how the felt behaves, where to pin it etc
steaming and shaping
starting to get a crown shape i like – easier once the hat was on a dolly block
wiring and brim ribbon all done, after the intermediate stage shown at the top of this post. i’ll be honest, Rose had to help me quite a lot to get the shape right – the real test will come when I have to do it by myself!
done! i may add a simple trim to the right hand side to finish it.
Thanks for having a look! If any of you feel like you might want to try making hats, or pick up new tips if you’re more experienced, I can’t recommend Rose’s course highly enough – if you are in London or can get there for a short stay, it is well worth it – more info here.