Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Playing Catchup: My Fourth Place Contest Win; My Latest Millinery Sewing Machine Rescue

For those that don't follow me on FaceBook and/or are not a member of my Hatstruck Couture Millinery Group there, I thought I'd share a few things with you.  One, I placed fourth in the Mad Hatters Society's millinery contest on FaceBook; and two, I rescued another millinery sewing machine.

Regarding the contest, I submitted two hats, the Many Faces of a Mad Hatter, for which I won fourth place; and a second hat, Mad and Hungry, which didn't place, but it was my favorite submission.  My winning hat was actually a four-in-one-hat that could be worn four different ways.  It could be worn brim only, crown only, brim and crown together, or brim with an origami fan attached.  The fan fits under the crown when not in use.

Finally, I rescued another millinery sewing machine.  It's funny how some pass up diamonds in the rough.  Or pass up something or someone because of a description or outside appearance.  Well once again I picked up another millinery sewing machine for cheap, !cheap!.  One of my straw braid sewing machines cost under $70, and this, my latest machine, a brim edge binding machine, cost lest than $80, both not including postage.  When the painted machines come up for auction, some don't even have a braid foot, but sell for hundreds. 

Anyway, along with this machine came a metal lift that lifts the machine up and off a table to accommodate the depth and size of a hat.  Now I use a bowl on my treadle sewing machine table to lift my straw machine up.  So this lift will come in handy for my other machines.

Well, I cleaned my newly rescued gem up, and I made some minor adjustments to her, after which she sewed like a trooper.  I've added these photos to show before and after the preliminary cleanup.  After she was cleaned and a few adjustments made, she produced beautiful stitches.  I'll make other adjustments and even may replace the foot and even interchange the binders since I have a number of binders that came from the auction I won.

Please note that I'm not a sewing machine expert, but I can read and these are mechanical machines.  Therefore, you will be able to do most fixes if you really want to, and if you take a little time to learn a little general (mechanical) sewing machine information. 

Here is a little advice for those interested in purchasing one of these machines and refurbishing it.  When considering a purchase, study the machine or machine images and try to determine what is missing from it.  If something is missing, try to determine if the missing part is something that does not impact the usability of the machine.  For example, a little less than half of the base of this machine was missing, but the seller pointed out that it could be mounted onto it's lift by showing an image of the machine screwed into it.  Additionally, this was a straw braid machine originally, and I noticed that the spring wire was missing from the tipper.  Since it was not being used as a braid machine, this was not important to me.  In the images of the straw braid machine that I first mentioned above, there was a broken part on the front of the machine.  Again this would not impact the machine's usability.  However, since I had bid on and won an auction containing hundreds of attachments and parts for these machines, I had that particular part and I replaced it.  Lastly, these machines, if used often are, or at least should be, oiled daily.  This means that if not in use for a long time, the wheel will lock up (I guess this is the cause) from dirt and oil.  Usually, I'd ask if the wheel was locked on the machine, but because I've been successful at unlocking them, this is of no big concern to me any longer.

What's sad is when people purchase machines that are strictly parts machines because they have mot taken the time to research them, or the seller is unfamiliar with the machine and describes it as being complete.  I have a Pinterest board that has images of these machines.  So take a look and be informed.  You may also want to visit the Smithsonian Museum online.  They have a sewing machine section that has better images, and they also have parts manuals.  For the domestic versions, the Smithsonian caries users' manuals, including manuals for other antique sewing machines--free.

#millinery #couturemillinery #hatstruck #LeeDuncan

Monday, September 22, 2014

And the Winners Are! Official Hatstruck Competition Winners and Award of Prizes

1st & Judge's Choice--Mar Balmón Montiel
2nd--Zorza Goodman
By now most of you have probably gotten word of the winners of the The Hatstruck Millinery Competition--Elegant, Fun Couture Hats, 2014.  The competition, at least in my eyes was more than a success, with a few surprises on the side.

The winners are: First in Competition--Mar Balmón Montiel, Madrid Spain.  Mar also won in the categories of Design, Color, Presentation, Theme, and Innovation.

Second in Competion--Zorza Goodman, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Workmanship and Judge's Choice--Jill Cavanagh, Perth, Western Australia

Wearability--Татьяна Иванова

Workmanship--Jill Cavanagh
Judge's Choice--Cécile Hammache
Wearability--Татьяна Иванова,  Moscow, Russia.
Originality--Ron Shelton

 Originality--Ron Shelton, Lakewood, Ohio, of Res Hats.

There were four Judge's Choices (one for each judge), two of which have been acknowledged in winning categories.  The two remaining are:

Mark Anthony Garvie--Dublin, Ireland; and Cécile Hammache (Au couvre-amour) Saint Antoine l'Abbaye, France.

Judge's Choice--Mark Anthony Garvie
Honorable Mention--María Patata Fría
An Honorable Mention was extended to María Patata Fría for her high score, No Residence Given.

The Prizes--Top Prize! besides the prize I'm awarding the First in Competition, Anya Caliendo is also awarding a session with her in New York next year, 2015, valued at $1,750!
 First in Competition, Mar Balmón Montiel, will choose her prize first; followed by Second in Competition, Zorza Goodman.  After they have chosen their prizes, the remaining winners will be randomly given a number and that number matched with the number on the gift, including the Judge's Choices.
I have to thank my wonderful judges for the wonderful job that they did in picking a wonderful and deserving group of winners.  Besides yours truly, my judges were, in alphabetical order Anya Caliendo, Essie Edwards, and snd Shurie Southcott.

 Anya is world known for her sophisticated avant-garde millinery creations, bursting with color and her works having a unique style that sets her apart from other milliners.   Not only is Anya a milliner, she is, from what I've heard, an outstanding millinery instructor.  Anya is published in books and magazines.  She has a wonderful blog and keeping with the aesthetics of her beautiful, colorful millinery creations, brings her wit and color into word and images there.

Mrs. Essie Edwards just had to be one of my judges, over 60 years as a milliner and teacher and seamstress, and one of my millinery instructors, she is still a very stylish lady.  She makes almost every stitch of clothing she wears and her work is impeccable to this day.  Going into her second year of retirement, Mrs. Edwards is now a volunteer teacher to her  former students.

Shurie Southcott, milliner and instructor, makes the most wonder hats that are fun and topnotch.  Shurie specializes in Victorian-era hats and accessories.

 Thanks to all of my judges; you too will receive a gift for your services.  I thought I had that figured out, but for one of you, I have to go back to the drawing board. 

Again, thank all of you, even down to those that offered to help with postage.  Fortunately, I guessed exactly who would most likely be participating in this competition, and having sold on Ebay before, I had already set aside for that expense. 

Thank you for participating in my dream.  I hope all winners can find some use for all of the junk I'm awarding.  

Winner, please message me on the Hatstruck Couture Millinery Facebook Group page to leave your mailing information.


    #Millinery, #Hatstruck, #LeeDuncan

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another Little Competition Deadline Poke; Competition Prize Package Peak; More Buckram Form Discussion

Straw Millinery Supplies and Hat StretcherThis evening I thought I would continue the discussion from last evening:  competition deadline; continued work on my buckram top hat form for the competition I will be entering; and finally, give you a peak at another prize for this competition..

There's not too much I have to say about the competition deadline, except to remind everyone to read the rules and regulations.  My last blog post will lead you to other posts and all will keep you up to speed.  I wish all of you well.

You've seen two prizes I plan to award, a five-section hat block (the one I don't like), and a strange, vintage department store hat display. Well, here is another prize: eight capeline (cartwheel--wide brim) straws, one vintage straw hood, cello straw braid, and a hat stretcher.

Why the Hat Stretcher? 

Headsize Collars/Lifts
Headsize Collars/lifts
When we measure our head size (headsize) and get a measure of,  let's say 22 1/2 inches (baby size compared to my headsize), for the purpose of making a hat, upon completion of the hat we will have added material(s), sewing thread, sweatband, etc.  Well everything we added to the inside of that hat, even the thread or a knot, takes away from the headsize of the hat.  So, the hat stretcher serves two purposes:  (1) to return the hat back to it's intended size; and (2) to render a perfect sweatband. 

What I've noticed is that when some sweatbands are sewn in, there is rippling in the band; the hat stretcher will eliminate this rippling.  So, what if you have a small, say cocktail hat that you've blocked over a form and you are having sweatband issues?  Force the hat back onto the block, and let it set for a while.  Sometimes you may want to add a little steam to the area, but this is not necessary most of the time.  What do you do if you've made a flat pattern hat and you are having issues.  Make a head size lift (collar); the lift will also work if you don't have a stretcher for a regular size hat, just force the hat over the appropriate lift size.  So it's always a good idea to have various sizes of headsize lifts in your millinery tool box.  Remember to pay attention to small details, such as a rippling sweatband, etc., in order that your hat is seen as a professional piece.

A Little More Work on My Top Hat

Remember last evening that I was draping damp buckram bias strips over a candle holder that I was using as a makeshift hat block for my top hat form.  Well  after it dried I gave it a nice hot dry ironing, and it came out almost perfect. What the dry (without steam) ironing did was to remove some of the bumpiness from the frame.  I will still mull (pad) it with another material in order to give the finished hat a richer appearance. 

The importance of the bias draping without pinning is that this process opens up an opportunity to use any object that you come across to use as a hat block, no matter what its shape is.  Please view my post on the Vase Hat to see how I completed the vase form.  I've refined the method more since this post, and I no longer remove the entire top of the form.

Anyway, once again good luck on the competition!