My Week with Rose

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.


9 responses to “My Week with Rose

  1. Towera, that looks amazing, two new hats in five days! You’ve sold the course to me…I’m currently working on an idea to make silk covered buckram based small hats for next year….Rose’s course could save alot of trial and error perfecting it….btw, your petals look ace!

    • Hey Joanne, thanks for having a look and for all your comments. I think you’d love Rose’s course – I’d actually thought of it just after I’d seen your lovely hats at the craft fair then forgot to message you! It was so fun and I think you’ll find it really useful especially if you already have ideas in mind. I definitely want to go back šŸ™‚

  2. Pingback: A Hat for Rasha | Towera Ridley | millinery, prints, textiles·

  3. I’ve just returned from a few days with Rose too, she is amazing. I love what you have made and keen to try at home. Is your felt hat just made free form? By that I mean did you just use the dolly so you had the head shape rather than blocks?

    • Hi, thank you! I really like your post and all the materials you have gathered – millinery is strangely addictive isn’t it? So yes, for the felt hat we used the dolly head shape, so it just gave a guide for the draping. I will admit that Rose helped me a lot with that one, I would need much more practice to do it myself. Before starting, we stretched and steamed the hood using the steam iron, and then pinned it to the dolly and worked it into shape bit by bit using the steamer. Hope that helps, look forward to seeing more of your creations!

  4. That’s really helpful, thank you. How did you shape the bottom of the brim? Did you cut the felt first and the draw into the beautiful shape or shape then cut?

    • I just went back to my photos to make sure I remembered correctly… The felt wasn’t actually cut or even trimmed at all, that was just the shape that the hood sort of formed naturally through steaming and shaping with my fingers. I think there was a bit of felt stiffener applied in the crown portion of the hat, but not as far out as the brim. The wiring stabilised the shape once it had dried. So happy you like it! I gave it to my Grandma as a present so I should probably try to make myself another one šŸ™‚

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