Tag Archives: hats

The ‘Jeff’ – English flatcap, Vol I

This milliner is also a journalist – as you can imagine, the link between the two isn’t that obvious, so I needed a hat to bridge the gap between my two worlds. Also, I needed some fabric hat experience; the Guru advises that making a fabric hat is imperative for developing couture millinery skills.

Andy Capp

Inspired by one of the most popular newspaper cartoons (and a bit jealous of the man’s Barbour cap that is too big for me), I ventured to make a classic British flat cap.

First, the fabric; I am not a fan of cheque, unless it’s really chic. So I went for a 100% cotton velvet cord, in a lovely coutnryside forest green.

To get started, I was lucky that the Guru had the right block – she, too, is a classicist, so we went for the very basic gentleman’s flatcap shape with the block

Block chosen, it was swiftly put to one side, as the first steps of the flatcap making actually involve mainly the ‘cap’ part of the flatcap.

The cap is made very much like a couture headband. Using tarlatan, stayflex interfacing and millinery wire (medium, as it’s for the brim effectively).

First I cut out some fabric using a pattern, drawn out by roughly tracing around the cap part of the block.

Jeff: Cap, stage 1

Then, I ironed on the interfacing and tarlatan (allowing a 1-2cm seam allowance all round), and attached a wire to the brim and covered with the outside seam of the fabric, like so (stage 1).

In order to allow the curve of the cap to join to the rest of the hat, I cut 5mm indents into the inside part of the brim. I was careful to stitch a guide, so that the indents didn’t go too far in.

Jeff cap, stage 2

Finally, it was time to cover the inside of the cap with the matching fabric. Using the same pattern, I cut out another piece of the fabric and lined the inside with interfacing (ironing very carefully, as the fabric had a pile which could easily lose it’s shape). The result was then stitched to the rest of the cap, using an invisible stitch (stage 2).

Once both sides of the cap were covered, it was time to iron it using the special velvet board. The technique for this is as follows: instead of your traditional ironing by arm stroke, just softly place the iron onto the cap and lift every now and then, so as not to damage the fabric pile by sweeping the iron around. Any indents/creases in pile fabric are usually not fixable and, especially in this case, would be on the front and, therefore, most visible part of the hat.

Vintage velvet board

Et voila, Jeff’s cap finished! Stay tuned for Jeff, Vol II.

Jeff cap, final

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Pret-a-hat for winter

As promised, some beautiful hat trends in the shops to keep yourself a-head in winter millinery fashion (see what I did there? Terrible, I know).

Although we most often think of headwear in the context of pretty hats and fascinators for weddings and race days in the hotter months, hats are just as relevant if not more so in winter. Take a look at these everyday beauties.

La Cerise Sur Le Chapeau

Eugenia Kim

We’ll start with hats. This season’s take on the fedora goes back to its thirties origins. I particularly like this one by Eugenia Kim, brilliant for day and that bit of gold really helps warm things up.

A lighter weekend version is this beauty from La Cerise Sur Le Chapeau. These guys are particularly amazing as they provide a customize your own hat service, so maybe get it to complement the trusty winter coat? For those into a more fashion vibe, my absolute favourite is as follows, from American Brenda Lynn:

Brenday Lynn, Autumn Winter 2010

Another must-have in winter (and summer and any time really) is the trilby. What a versatile bit of millinery that, you can basically make a trilby to suit any occasion. I can’t wait for First Hat to be finished so that I can embark on a First Trilby project, soooo exciting! Here is one by Anthony Peto with a bit of leopard print to make it more exciting.

Continuing in the thirties theme is unlikely source Stella McCartney with her stunning cloche.

And let’s not forget the best of hair pieces for Autumn/Winter, the added benefit being that these can be work ALL THE TIME, indoors and out, day and night, casual and smart, etc etc etc! LOVE. But you’ll have to wait for the next post.

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Filed under Autumn/Winter 2010, Inspiration, Shopping

To be a milliner

Ooooh, so after months of dilly-dallying, endless internet surfing, and scenes of Coco Chanel trimming hats in Coco avant Chanel running through my mind over and over again, I finally… FINALLY decided to book my first millinery class.

And not just any millinery class. Not for me the local community classes, no.

Daunted by the number of classes offered at local fashion colleges, I had to really think about what I aim to achieve. And I know it’s not making ‘fascinating fascinators’. No, I want to learn couture.

Haute couture is about skill and craftsmanship; creating art using the best of everything – expert skills and the highest quality of materials. You wouldn’t attempt a couture gown in an afternoon sewing session, so how could a traditional art like millinery be any different? No, I decided to learn from the best and here I will describe my experience on the way to being a couture milliner (fingers crossed), detailing every blistered finger, wonky brim, disappointing trim along the way.

As an art, millinery is very secretive. I’d love it if you participated on this blog, shared your own information if you are or aspire to be a milliner, or if you asked your own questions on the field that I’ll do my best to answer.

Enjoy. x

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Filed under Background info, Ramblings