Sunday, March 22, 2009

Genesis of My Millinery Blog

OK, so I guess I'm finally getting on the band wagon and starting a blog. I've been meaning to do this for awhile, but several things have happened lately that have made me realize it is a 'must do.' So I'm doing!

Since this is my first post I'll tell you a little about who I am, what I do, and maybe a millinery tidbit to entice you back for another visit!

I've been a milliner since 1995. Or rather, I studied millinery in Australia in 1995 and have been at it ever since. Guess I wasn't a 'real' milliner at that point, but it was something I really, really loved doing. I started teaching after about 3 years of making hats, taking vintage hats apart and putting them back together, and learning who I was as a milliner.

I now have a shop, aMuse: artisanal finery, in Wilmington, North Carolina, where I make custom hats for clients. I also have a range of hats in the shop, but most of the hats I sell are custom--to fit, to match an outfit, to embellish as you want. aMuse also carries a HUGE array of vintage costume jewelry--from the 1880's thru the 1980's. Ya gotta see the beauties I have!! I also carry some wearable art like handmade felt scarves/bags/neck wraps, and a few fiber and bead artists from this area. aMuse is definitely an accessories shop with a heavy concentration on all things HAT!!

I started teaching because I kept getting emails for folks looking for places they could learn. And I thought, well, I don't know everything about making hats, but what I do know I know well. I started by teaching Straw and Felt Blocking. I was overwhelmed by the numbers of people who signed up for that first class...and knew I was on to something.

I've been teaching millinery workshops now for all those years and have expanded not only where I teach but what I teach. I now teach classes in wire construction, making your own hatblock, sewn straw braid, blocked and free-style sinamay, covering buckram shapes, making your own buckram shapes, something I call big buckram brims (church lady hats), surface designed fabrics with millinery, working with Wonderflex and Fosshape, French Flowermaking, featherwork, flat felt skirting (yardage) and a new one I'm currently working on called Unexpected Millinery--making hats out of materials not traditional to hatmaking.

And I now teach all over the United States and from time to time out of the country. I was asked to teach at the International Millinery Forum in Australia and returned from that amazing one week forum in January. I'll be posting some pictures soon of some of the incredible hats that came out of those workshops.

Check my website, , for an updated list of where I'll be teaching this year. Sometimes classes get added at the last minute so always check.

So now you know a little about me. I hope to post to this blog 2-3 times a week. Hope to see you here again soon!

TIP: You need to know your headsize when making a hat, or what I call a 'fitting' hat. No need to know if for a 'sitting' hat. Place a tape measure halfway between your eyebrow and your hairline, about 1/2" over your ears, across the biggest part of the back of your head, and keep your finger inside the tape to keep it from being too tight on your head. Your headsize will probably be somewhere between 21"-23", but could be larger or smaller. Average is 22--22.5" which is what the store brands usually are. If you have trouble with store bought hats being too large or too small for your head, that's why! Learn to make hats for your headsize!

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