Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Downtown Fashion Walk

I had a great time at the Downtown Fashion Walk.  Participating in the event gave me an opportunity to see what others were creating.  I flaked on the cocktail hats; I just couldn't get into them at the last minute.  I finally made these three hats instead.  A really big Thank You goes out to Carol Cirillo Stanley for taking these lovely images.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Los Angeles Downtown Fashion Walk

If you are in the Los Angeles, California, area on February 18th, you must take the Downtown Fashion Walk tour.  There will be plenty to see! Pick up a couple of hats in the Spring Arts Tower Building at 453 South Spring Street (NW corner of 5th and Spring, building entrance located on 5th Street side).  Stop in at the Downtown LA site for more information.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Foundations for My Cocktail/Fascinator Hats

Within a few weeks I need to make quite a few hats  for the Downtown Fashion Walk this month.  The only way that I could possibly make the number of hats I will need is to make smaller hats; thus, I will be concentrating on cocktail hats.  I always have something sitting in the corner that needs to be completed.  In this case I had blocked a buckram frame that I was going to use for a draped hat.  Well I decided to make cocktail hat foundations from the frame instead.

Before I get started, I promised you more free on-line millinery book sources.  One of the most extensive collections of free on-line millinery books that I'm aware off is the University of Wisconsin's Digital Collection, The human Ecology Collection.  I have created a search for you located here.  I suggest that you read as many of these books as possible, take as many millinery classes from as many instructors as possible (even the bad ones), and finally practice, practice, and experiment, experiment.  Oh, don't let anyone tell you that something has to be done a particular way...but please don't use a glue gun!

Using a compass, I drew circles on the frame.  Because the utility block has nice curves, these curves would be realized in the small frames that I cut from my original blocked frame. I could have drawn a teardrop, a headband, or any irregular shape onto the buckram.

After cutting my little frames out I wired them using a buttonhole stitch.  To show how the wires could be finished off, I overlapped the wire of one frame and sewed it into place.  I used a millinery wire joiner on the other frame, crimped the joiner to the wire using a jewelry bead crimper.  Before I discovered this little tool I used wire cutters to crimp and secure the joiners to the wire.

Next I covered the millinery wire with a bias strip of crinoline, attaching it with a running stitch.  It's important to attach crinoline to the frame for two reasons--
 to cover the wire and to provide an anchor  for attaching the fabric.  I then covered the upper frame with wadding (not shown, see the Vase Hat post).

My next step was to cover the prepared frame with fabric.  I pinned the fabric to the frame by first pinning the right side, then the left, then the bottom, then the top.  In other words 1/2s, 1/4s, 1/8s, etc.  This causes the fabric to fit the frame better--an even pull.  Notice the curved needle at the bottom of the images at left and bottom.  I use a curved needle when I have a difficult time retrieving the needle from the fabric.

When a curved needle is used the needle exits the fabric in a curve, thus making it easier to pull the needle out of the fabric.  You could also save your bent millinery needles and use them for this purpose.  I  used the whip stitch to attach the fabric and the feather trim to the frame.

I'm such a plain Jane when it comes to trimming a hat.  I prefer very little if any trim, but I realize that many prefer a little bling.  So, I'll add some trim, put in a lining and headband, and finally add a hat elastic.  I'll post pictures after I trim this little hat.