Thursday, September 30, 2010

Leather and Wool Hat

I have been working on Fall/Winter hats for about 6 weeks now. Mostly wool felts, with a few fur felts thrown in. Also a few pattern hats, which I don't usually do. I'm just no good with patterns. Although they did turn out better than expected.

Below you see a hat that more or less just 'happened' in the studio this week. I had a very supple leather, laminated in tiny, tiny shiny circles. Can you see them in the picture below?

I have been wanting to work in some leather for awhile. I've got a couple of ideas in the works, but this was my first attempt. I used a vintage buckram frame, one I've had for several years and have loved. It probably was a bridal frame at one time, but no bride of mine wears this style anymore.

So. I cut a piece of the leather in the shape of the tip of this frame and glued (yes, my munchkins) it to the buckram frame with a gem-tack glue. I very carefully did this because a lot of moisture would ruin the buckram frame, causing it to collapse or a least misshape. After that bit dried I used wool coating to cover the sides. This is a heavy woolen, almost felt, but not quite. I got it in Chicago on one of my teaching trips. I love the colors!

Above you see the inside of the buckram form after I've added the leather and woolen parts.

I've created a lining to place inside the form. You can see it to the right of the hat. See the leather tip?

Here's the hat after it has been completed. I tried numerous embellishments on its tiny frame, but all looked too overpowering or like I was trying too hard to put something on the hat. I have a hard time with too frilly or too much embellishment on hats. I like for the form of the hat to be front and foremost. I think I've mentioned that in a previous post. Anyway I decided on NO embellishment at all.

Here's the hat on a poupee. I love the almost 1940's military influence of the style. Looks like something a WAC would have worn. I may keep this one for myself.
What are your leather experiences in making hats?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Millinery Classes Just Added--Chicago, Washington DC and France

Start saving your pennies! I've just announced a couple of classes--one very soon, one in the mid-term, and another over a year away. A year away? Yes, check it out below. Start saving your pennies! Further information, including class descriptions, can be found at my Classes webpage, .

November 13, 2010: Retro Hats From Flat Felt Skirting; Chicago, Illinois
November 14, 2010: Blocking a Wool Hood; Chicago, Illinois
Both classes being held at TLD Design Center in Westmont.

January 8-9, 2011: Sensational Sinamay (Straw)-- Two Techniques; Alexandria, Virginia (Washington, DC)
Class held at The Torpedo Factory, The Art League School.

October 1-8, 2011: Fabric Frolic on a Buckram Base...and Feathers!; St. Quentin La Poterie, near Uzes, in the South of France
October 14-16, 2011: Retro Hats From Flat Felt Skirting; St. Quentin La Poterie, France
Classes held at Lucy Till Hats.

Please contact the venues for information on Registration, as they will handle that.

I'll be adding more classes to the 2011 roster as they are finalized, but wanted these to go up now!

Hoping to see you in class!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wired for Fashion: Wire Frame Hats--Atlanta, GA

OK, all you readers out there. You are going to have to bear with me on this post. LOTS of pictures from last weekend's classes in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Spruill Center for the Arts. There were so many people interested in constructing wire frame hats that we had to add another class.

I've divided these pictures into two sections: Saturday/Sunday class, and Monday/Tuesday class. Each one diverse and exciting in the work they did! Scroll down to see!!!

Firstly, the picture above is by one of the four costumers we had in the Sat/Sun class. Wendy, from Savannah, Georgia, created these frames from black millinery wire. The piece on the left was the first piece she made. Everyone started with a simple headband to get the feel of how to cut wire, bind wire, bend wire and design with wire. Not as simple as it sounds. After they got the hang of that we moved to a more complex piece. Wendy choose to create this great hat of circle pieces. Isn't it wonderful?

Jean, from Austin, Texas, working on her headband. She chose to add some curved bracing wires to her piece.

Here you see Jean's hat frame for the second piece--a modified madhatter. The fabric you see is what she will use to cover the frame.

Randi, from Asheville, North Carolina, another of our costumers, was making a traditional Edwardian frame to use in her costumes for SASS, an organization of people who love to shoot vintage firearms...while in vintage costume! She had everyone excited about what she does and the organization she represented. Later in this blog you'll meet another member of SASS. SASS stands for Single Action Shooter's Society--a worldwide organization. Fascinating!

Another shot as the piece began to take on a final form. To the left you see Kenna, another of our costumers. She's creating a crownless hat.

Here's the beginning of Kenna's crownless hat. I always love to have costumers in a class. They know soooo many secrets to sewing...and vendors.

Kenna's finished frame, right before she began covering it with a lovely sheer fabric.

A couple of other frames from students in class, before they are covered.

Carole, from Nashville, Tennessee, in her eyelash covered frame. She chose not to cover the whole frame, just the wires themselves.
More info: Students took an incredible amount of time creating these frames and then, in most cases, covered the wires with either ribbon or fabric. They could then chose to cover the entire frame with sheer fabrics. Due to the time it took just to do the first two skills, I don't have any pictures of finished product. But I hope some of the students will send finished photos to me so that I can upload them to a future blog entry. (HINT!)

Carole with her completed headband hat. She purchased some vintage leaves, flowers, and ribbon roses to cover the frame. She came into class on Sunday with this hat on and I truly believed she had a vintage hat on her head! She worked hard the night before finishing this piece.

Sandra, another of our costumers (actually a wigmaker!), with her second wired piece. She is wearing this to a Black and Orange Ball (Halloween). The frame will incorporate a skeleton on that curvy piece you see. Sandra, please send a picture of the finished piece!

Bethany with her second wired piece. She planned to crochet around the wire. Neat, huh?

Below you see the Monday/Tuesday class, minus one, who's taking the picture. A few of the frames can be seen in this shot. That's me on the far right, with my wacky madhatter wire hat.

Some of you readers (especially you Facebook readers) know Andre Baxter of Christine Designs by Andre. Andre is a long-time student who has worked with me before with my hat fashion shows. Here he's working on a frame to be used later in the week for a Haute Atlanta show, part of Atlanta Fashion Week.

Close-up of Andre's frame. He was covering it in lavendar organza!

Meet Jeanette, from Albemarle, North Carolina, another costumer, and member of SASS, as described above. Her wire frame was to be an abstract flower with a bee embedded in the center. This is the beginning of the work.

Here you see Jeanette's finished frame. Lots of time-consuming, hard work to get this far!

Another long-time student, Diane Shaggot, of Hats to Di For, who does complex, beautiful work. She, also, was very helpful to me in last year's hat fashion show here in Wilmington. Sent some beautiful hats!

Diane's inspiration for her hat is a rose with a VERY large leaf. Note the raised round section
to the far left. That is the base for her rose...eventually. Love, love, love the leaf. She's beginning to cover the wire with green ribbon and green pipe cleaners in this picture.

Is this cool or what?! Diane, you are sending a picture of the finished product, right???

Maggie was really into Steampunk and was making this piece for a costume she was creating. Yes, another of our costumers!

Couple of headbands by this class. On the left you see Paula's piece and on the right, Shirley's. Shirley used velvet tubing, in the true vintage style, to cover the wire.

And another two headbands. On the left is Rebecca's and on the right another of Shirley's pieces.
I was very, very happy with the creativity and sheer amount of work these classes demonstrated. Wire work is something that is rarely taught, not understood my many, but a large part of the history of hats. I think you will agree that whether the hats you see above were historical or contemporary, they were very creative. I can assure you of the huge amount of planning and work involved.
Thanks Spruill, for hosting these two classes! Always a pleasure!!!