Monday, November 29, 2010

Accessories: Couture Millinery and Bejeweled Stockings Go Together Perfectly!

(click image to start video in separate window)

 Back when I started taking millinery classes, summer classes were always fun because that was when we would make everything--hats, jewelry, purses, gloves, etc.   Well, we made almost everything.  Unless this was something done before my time, we didn't bejewel stockings.  So when I saw this video showing stockings being decorated with rhinestones, I thought, PROJECT!  I know that stockings like these are sold today, but they're not accessible to all of us--location, etc.  So select your secrete sauce (adhesive) of choice, purchase some stockings (experiment on old ones first), and find some rhinestones at your local craft, fabric, or WalMart store, and have fun.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving World!

It Does Not Matter Where You Are....

Wishing All a Wonderful Thanksgiving Day

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Millinery Inspiration From Our Natural Environment: The Pomegranate Hat Project

In her Pomgranate Hat post mon bibi stated, "Wouldn't it be lovely to have a hat as nice as a pomegranate?" So I commented saying, more or less, yes, lets make one--a pomegranate hat.  Well she was working on another project but gave me the OK to pursue this fun task.

When I took silver jewelry making classes some years ago, I purchased a jewelry making text book, including a Dover Publications reprint jewelry making book that I believe was first published in the 1920s.  Both of these books gave examples of jewelry designs from our natural environment, from the literal to the abstract.  I used what I learned (the thought process) from these two books to assist me in creating the two hats shown in the fruit bowl above.  I must add here that I also have a very vivid imagination.

The blue hat was my first attempt at making the pomegranate hat.  I was practicing on  my straw braid sewing machine, and I was extremely excited about how easy it was to shape the Toyo straw while sewing it.  I imagined that the pomegranate had exploded, filling the black bowl with delicious, beautiful, sparkling seeds--really, really I did imagine this.  This theme was also carried on to the red hat in the bowl.  Here, rather than adding yellow stamens in the center, I added seeds (rhinestones).

The Process

Blue Hat:  The blue hat was sewn on my straw braid sewing machine.  A vintage black straw braid bowl and a piece of blue braid was sewn to side of the hat.  Rhinestones were added to the bowl using tacky glue, a sweat band was sewn in, and finally a hat elastic added to hold the hat on the head.  I hope to put together a basic straw braid tutorial soon; stay tuned.  

Red Hat The red hat consists of three layers (leather, buckram, and suede).  First I prepared my hat block by carving a Styrofoam bump to attached to my tomato pin cushion, using stick pins; I covered this with plastic.  Next, the suede was dampened (on the wrong side) and laid over my tomato hat block and pined while I pulled the fabric on the bias.  Each layer was done in the same manner (leather dampened on wrong side also).  

When the layers were dry, the blocked hat was removed from the block; the bump on the top was slit into sections with a razor blade; and finally, the slits were flared out by hand.  The hat was set aside and a separate bump was blocked on the same block, but only suede was used.  This time, only a small amount of fabric was blocked over the bump, with a small amount extending beyond it.  After the bump had dried, I cut around it leaving a little of the extended fabric.  I attached rhinestones to the bump using tacky glue (this is one time I do use glue).  I also put glue around the extended section of fabric around the bump and pushed this bump, covered with rhinestones, up into the center of the hat.  I did this because I did not want stitches to show on my leather.  

A note here, the edge of the hat was wired and crinoline attached over the wire as shown in my post Foundations for my Cocktail/Fascinator Hats.  However, I had to pull the suede and leather layers back from the buckram, cut some of the buckram back, and proceed as usual.  Finally, a sweat band was put into the hat, followed by a hat elastic to hold the hat on the head.

I had so much fun making these hats.  Sorry I didn't add pictures for each step, and I did this for a purpose.  Sometimes we look for things in books (blogs) and they are not there and never will be there.  People figure out how to do something, and then someone writes a book, and then this becomes the written word, and then "it has to be done that way."  So, when I want to do something that's out of the ordinary, I visualize the process before I even start it; some sketch.  What is important is that the end result is neat and lite. For those  new to couture millinery, learn hand stitching and basic millinery.  I have added links to hand stitch videos and free online books in the upper right hand side of this blog under Speedy Resource Access.  Finally, practice, practice, and practice to make it yours.


If you have to use a glue on buckram, use rubber cement (mucilage?); it will not buckle the buckram.  I used tacky glue on the rhinestones because the amount I used would not penetrate the suede, and if it did it would not compromise this design.

Some of my couture millinery teachers would not have agreed with blocking three fabrics together, but I wanted to achieve a certain look and feel, and it was achieved by using this method. It was said that cheap hats were made this way.  Well, some of those famous designers/milliners didn't get the message, especially those making hats in the fifties, sixties, seventies, etc.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Little Hat Fun With Rodney Dangerfield

I have to admit two things: 1)  I love hatting as much as I love millinery; and 2) I love comedies as much as I love mysteries.  Rodney Dangerfield is one of my favorite comedians; so, when I saw this clip I just had to share it.  In addition, it reminded me of when my children were very young and one of our family friends would visit us--an elderly lady that has since passed away.  My kids simply loved this lady.  She wore her hats high atop her large wig.  In other words, she really looked quite funny.  So, upon seeing her, the kids would run up to her, hug her very warmly, and then run away laughing. Our friend was really happy they loved her so much that I don't believe she ever noticed they were so amused with her wig/hat combination.  What is so cute about this story is that it is one we can warmly laugh about today.

Here is a clearer, longer un-embeddable version of the clip (opens in another window).  I hope you enjoy this clip while I'm busy working on hats for my next post.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Millinery Inspiration From Our Built Environment

Sometimes it appears that everyone is interested in becoming a milliner or hatter, and that's a good thing.  But I also feel that those new to hat making only take inspiration from that that already exists (I'm also guilty), thus many of their designs look the same or very similar to existing designs.  So, after viewing this video I thought that, just maybe, inspiration from another source would inspire more creative designs from those new to millinery and hatting.

How many of us actually stop and look around at our physical and built environments when we leave our homes.  I mean really look around, take a deep breath, and take in our surrounding environment.  Check out this video; I hope it will inspire you to look at environmental sources for some of your design inspiration.  Enjoy!

Click on image; video opens in separate window.