Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Felt Millinery Classes in Chicago--Flat Felt & Hoods

TLD Design Center, in Chicago, has been a long-time venue for my teaching. In fact, it was the very first place outside of Wilmington I taught classes. Because of the expanding interests of Chicago students (and those who flew and drove in from great distances) way back then (1999?) I continued to expand the list of skills I taught to these prospective milliners. I'm now up to about 13 different classes. Check out the list at Be sure to scroll to the very bottom to see the list.

BTW, the complete 2011 class schedule will be up before the end of the year. Maybe I'll be in a venue near you! And be sure to check out the classes I'll be teaching next October in FRANCE!

One of my favorite classes to teach is Retro Hats From Flat Felt Skirting. You may have seen pictures on this blog from other classes in flat felt. It is an old medium, one which isn't used much anymore, but I love the styles you can create from flat felt--no hoods, no capelines, just felt yardage. Here you see the class as they begin the process of discovering just what flat felt will do, how it will perform.

Mary and Mimi are well into the creation of their retro-inspired hats. Mary used a 100% winter white wool to create a draped style, plus her brown fur felt to make a patterned shape. Mimi used a burgandy fur felt to create her crescent patterned topper.

Close-up of Mary's two flat felt hats, still on the blocks of course. The brown one was created by making four crescent pieces then overlapping them to create the hat. A little steam rounded out the pieces so they'd lay flat against the block.

Monique chose to create her very dramatic style on the block by hand shaping. So very RETRO!

Another view of Monique's hat with just a few feathers added for interest. No need for much embellishment on these hats as the shape speaks for itself.

In the second class, blocking a felt hood, students spent a considerable amount of time just playing with the felts as they steamed them. I think it is important to find out exactly what the damp, pliable felt will do with steam and free-form styling with the hands. Limitless styles!
Here Sonja is working on a beautiful gold felt. Don't you love all the lines? I affectionately referred to her hat as an 'interstate stack' because it looks like layers and layers of loops on an interstate highway.

Mimi created the quintessential retro style when she pleated the front edge of the hood. Beautiful! And very becoming on her as well.

Final pictures of Mimi and Monique. So happy they loved their hats and new skills!

Sonja and Mary Kate show off their new free-form shaped hoods. Well done, ladies! You'll be stylish and warm all Winter.
So that is the last class of 2010! Looking forward to a little time to enjoy the holidays and then begin preparing for all that is to come in 2011. Stay tuned! And thanks for reading!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Autumn/Winter Hats 2010--Felt

Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are settling in for Winter. I'm not a cold weather girl, but I do love the seasonal changes like a crisp morning, changing of the leaves, comfy sweaters (jumpers), fires burning bright, and a beautiful, stylish, warm hat.

Below you will see three that I've recently created to send to TLD Design Center's annual hat show in Chicagoland. I've shown several angles on each so that you can see all the elements of the hats.

This one is probably my favorite of the three. Made from 100% wool felt, I've covered the crown in a mesh ultrasuede that changes tone and color balance as it expands and contracts over the hat. I love it!

I've free-form blocked the hood into a sort of abstract cloche. This is one of my favorite styles of hats and it is quite easy to fashion over the steamer.

Here you can see another angle showing the mesh. Note also that I've made 3 leather leaves as embellishment. The leather has a slightly metallic finish with swirls of subdued color in it. I used an awl to make a hole in the bottom of the leaves and secured them to the hat by sewing up through the hole, adding a bead, then back down to the underside of the hat.

Another cloche-styled hat of 100% wool, this time in chocolate brown. See how I've nipped into the edge to create a saw-toothed look, just for added interest.

Embellishment for this hat is a handmade felt button by my friend and fellow fiber-artist Louise Giordano at Scarf It Up. Be sure to check out her website if you are into knitting, crocheting, and felting.

Can you guess what the hatband is made from? Fish leather! Yes, fish leather. I believe this one is carp. I bought this piece several years ago while teaching at the International Millinery Forum in Australia. Fish leather is very strong and has a beautiful 'nap' to it, created by the scales.

Hot pink seems to be a habit with me...and I'm not really into pink that much. But when I look around the shop I see lots of hot pink things everywhere! Love pink and black together.
This one was blocked on a very old hatblock that a friend found for me in a second-hand shop.

I added black velvet tubing and a few black beads. This is an example of me letting the shape of the hat be the most important part. Minimalist embellishment.
Stay warm!