Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Foundations for My Cocktail/Fascinator Hats: Part II, Including Blocking Suede and Other Millinery Materials

I have a nasty habit of giving things away.  I picked this up from my grandparents, two extremely generous people.  I guess this is a good thing, after all I've gotten back more than I've ever given away.  You see, back in February of 2010, I brought you Foundations for My Cocktail/Fascinator Hats and promised, I think, to post a followup showing how to put the lining in the hat.  Well, someone wanted the hat even before I finished it, so I gave it to them.  Since that time I've received a number of emails asking me how to put a lining in a fascinator.

Since I haven't had any sleep in over 24 hours, I'm asking you to forgive me in advance for my more than usual number of typos.   Please read over Foundations for My Cocktail/Fascinator Hats and I'll start where I left off, almost.  Rather than working with a stretch material I will be covering this hat with two layers of suede, one of which will have to be blocked before it is sewn to the buckram foundation.  I will also block the lining.  

I'm growing tired of wining about seeing millinery fabrics that don't hug the frames they cover.  So, I can either stop wining or do something about it.  I have to tell you that every time I see fabric that does not fit a frame correctly, I have an internal tantrum, especially when I see it in a high fashion magazine!  I'm working on this.  If you ever want to cure yourself of something like this just listen to someone else complain about something similar without helping or offering a solution.  Not so cute is it?

When I started taking millinery classes we had to steam and block everything.  We had to block the buckram, the lining, and all fabrics that were not stretch fabrics.  To your right is an image that shows suede that has not been blocked.  This does not look professional at all.

To block suede or leather, mist the inside of the fabric with water.  I use a very fine mister.  Stretch the fabric over a hat block and let it dry.  To stretch fabric that has a bias, stretch the fabric on the bias over a block and steam it, readjusting the fabric re-pinning as you steam.  It's just that simple.  See lining, below right.  I don't steam buckram anymore.  I prefer to mist it or do a very fast dip in water and work the moisture three the fabric in my hands.  This way the buckram appears to dry harder than it was originally (same as steaming it).

Using a glover's needle (leather needle) sew the suede to the frame catching only the crinoline.  The second layer of suede, the black mesh, did not have to be blocked because it automatically hugged the frame.  However, I blocked the lining.  

Note:  If you are adding trim to your hat, sew the trim on before the lining is attached, if possible.  Use your best judgement.

After the lining has dried, lay it into the crown and pin it to the suede using fine quilting pins or millinery pins (fine quilting pins are easier for suede and leather).  Stitch the lining to the suede about  1/4 th inch down from the edge of the hat.  Trim the lining; it is not necessary to turn the lining under. 
  Note:  Every layer of fabric, including hat band, diminishes or adds to the inner or outer  side of a hat.  Although turning the lining under does not affect this type of hat, it will affect a full crown hat. Remember, by turning the fabric under you will have an additional layer of fabric.   I prefer to trim the lining down rather than turn it under no matter what type of hat I'm working with.
Swirl your  grosgrain ribbon (petersham in some places, sawtooth to some), pin it to the suede (remember that the lining is 1/4 th inch down).  stich it into place.  

Additional Images

Adding support wire for feather:  Added feet to the wire and stitched them under the black suede mesh.

Feather Trim:  Feather curled in opposite direction of curve, using  my thumb's nail to pinch the spine approximately every 1/4 th of an inch.

Lining Fabric:

Lining Fabric:  Design created using my logo in graphics software and printing the fabric on my Epson printer  (fabric will have to be attached to paper before printing).

O.K., the label is a bit overkill!

Final Notes:  Please take advantage of the free online resources in the sidebar of this blog.  Also, purchase a reference book.  My first millinery book was "From the Neck Up." You can find it on the author's site, on Amazon, Ebay, etc.  I didn't go into detail as far as stitches, etc., are concerned because I really feel that if you are new to millinery, you should do some exploration and experimentation on your own.  If possible, take a class.  

If you do not have a block, purchase a wooden bowl of similar shape and block and make frames using the bowl.  

Have fun!!

Hatstruck "Make Your Own Art" Millinery Supplies Contest Images

As you all know, LilDevilGrl was the winner of the Make Your Own Art" millinery supplies contest.  I finally got around to sending the package off last Saturday, and she should have received her cute little box on Monday. Click on images below to enlarge.

LilDevilGrl requested trim, more specifically lace, for her special request.  I have to admit that I don't collect lace, but I hope she will be happy with what I sent her.  The extras I sent along were ribbon, vintage veiling, a beautiful black fur felt hood, extra wire joiners, hat elastics, veiling pins, rhinestones, extra blocking cords, and some extra feathers.  See Make Your Own Art for other gifts she received which included jinsin, straw hat body, wire joiners, cobweb, blocking cords, millinery wire, grosgrain ribbon, feathers, and vintage chenille.  


Friday, August 5, 2011

The Winner of "Make Your Own Art" Millinery Supplies Contest!

I would like to thank everyone for participating in the" Make Your Own Art" millinery supplies contest.  I noticed that some of you joined just for the sake of joining; thank you for your support.  This has been so much fun for me, I'll do it again, but next time it will be even exciting.  I'm trying to figure out a creative way of rewarding all of my members for their extra effort.  It's early in the morning here, and I wanted to figure out who won the contest before I hit the bed.  The random number generator made this easy to do.  For those that have emailed me for various reasons, forgive me for my tardiness; I will answer you in a day or so.

THE WINNER IS LilDevilGrl!!!!  Congratulations!

Please contact me at to claim your prize.  Remember you have one special supply request from my personal stash of supplies.  Let me know what you want or need (trim, felt, straw, etc.).  Just ask; chances are I have what you need.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One of Several Fair Projects Submitted, No. 6--The Fedora

Finally, I get to  my last 2011 Los Angeles County Fair millinery submissions.  Before I start, I want to remind you that I'm conducting a "Make Your Own Art" millinery supplies contest and giveaway.  The deadline to enter is August 4.  So if you are considering entering the contest, you only have one more day to do so!

Fur Felt, Trimmed in Soft Leather:  Would you be surprised if I told you that my favorite hat is the fedora?  I thought you would be.  Many Southern women of color talk about their mothers wearing hats when they were growing up, but that wasn't the case deep in the rural area I grew up in.   Although women put on their Sunday best, it was always about the hair.  My grandmother and I would take the Greyhound Bus some 38 miles to the city each month where we would have our hair done  for the first Sunday.  We attended church every Sunday and Wednesday--Sundays for Sunday school and Wednesdays for prayer meetings--but it was the first Sunday that was special.  This was the Sunday that our pastor would preach at our church.  Back in those days, in some rural areas, preachers usually serviced several churches a month.  Although this was an era when men's and women's hats were popular, the wearing of women's hats in my area was almost nonexistent.  My interest in women's hats would develop many years later.

My love for the fedora came from my grandfather.  He had his everyday fedoras, and he had his Sunday fedoras.  He dressed in a suit and tie on Sundays, and if it was cold, he would ware a long trench coat over his suit.  His Stacy Adams (shoes) were polished, and they always looked new.  The heels of the shoes were lowered, yes lowered,  so that their toes tilted slightly upwards.  Yes, my grandfather was a spiffy dresser!.  He would take me to the Juneteenth (June 19) baseball (softball?) games each year.  I wore my frilly cute dress and he wore his fedora, suit and tie, and Stacy Adams.  Now that I think about it, it was summertime. You will have no trouble figuring out my age.

Well, I could go on and on about the good old days when Sears and Roebuck would send our baby chickens through the U.S. mail.  I could talk about phone party lines and when good customer service existed.  If you're a young person, you wouldn't have a clue as to what I'm talking about.  So I'll stop now.

Oh, about the fedora, I was extremely disappointed with it.  I couldn't find the blade to my brim cutter; I didn't have time to add all of the details I had planned, such as a lining, etc.  Next year I'll do better.  Oops!  I said that last year.

Thanks; we made it through this!