Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kentucky Derby Styled Hat for Television Interview

First of all, I'd love for you to click over to one of my favorite blogs, one of my 'cool blogs' listed to the right over La Bricoleuse.  This is a fabulous blog with all kinds of very detailed information about all things in the 'theatrical craft artisan' world--wig making, armor building, garment dyeing--anything like that for the stage.  Rachel Pollack, the blogger, also happens to know quite a lot about millinery.  In fact, she teaches a theatrical millinery class at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, about 2.5 hours from me.  Her latest entry is an interview with me.  Hope you will pop over and then back here for a step-by-step tutorial on a hat I made during the scramble to make hats during my absolute busiest 6 weeks of the year. Click here for my interview.  Thanks, Rachel!

Oh!  You're back!  OK, let's get down to following the step-by-step pictures I made while creating this hat for a recent television interview about handmade hats...before Kentucky Derby.  Here's the finished product.  I call her Lilly P, a take-off on designer Lily Pulitzer and the colors she traditionally uses. Yes, I misspelled the name on purpose. Lots of LP worn during the big hat-wearing events here in town.

Gosh!  The television interview was to be held off and on, in 5 minute segments, from 5am--8am in the morning.  Yes, you read that right!  And I had to be at the shop at 4:30am so that the technician could run all the cables for camera, satellite, microphones, etc. for me and the hostess of the morning show. Good thing I'm an early riser...but not quite THAT early!

The hat I was to 'create' during this time was actually made from several capelines, showing them in varying degrees of completion.  No way I would be able to do real time blocking, drying, embellishment during the time we were on air.  This was live television!  So in the days ahead of the interview I created this hat in series.

Follow the series of pictures from the basic capeline to the finished product.

Lime green sisal, not the best straw in the world, but it was a color I knew would be popular with the audience.  Also, I happened to have two of them so that I could use them in sequence as I demonstrated the blocking/finishing process to the audience...over a 3 hour period. 

I chose one of my new brim blocks with a deep side dip.  Note that I've cinched in the straw with a blocking line.  I've following the line the blockmaker made for the 'edge' of the hat.  I've also used an elastic band to hold in the head size on a blocking collar that was attached to the hatblock.

Close-up of the cinch line and the dip.  All the excess straw, and the fullness of it, is pulled beheath the cinch line to make the brim smooth.

Skipping a step here in that I've sized the straw with several applications of stiffener.  I've also cut away the bottom bits that were below the cinch line, and I've cut the crown away from the brim...leaving the collar standing up.  I'll need something (the collar) with which to attach the newly blocked crown to the brim.

The blocked crown.  Just a simple gentle dome.  See that I've pinned the crown with the four bead-head pins right in the 'X' of the tip.  all pulled nice and tight.

Skipping another step to show you the crown and brim now attached.  I made sure my center front of the brim, and the center front of the crown, matched up perfectly.  I then pinned it together and back-stitched them together.  Back-stitching creates a strong bond between the two pieces. That raw edge you see in the dip, the frayed bit, will be carefully trimmed down.  The dip is the most fragile part f the edge at this point, and I didn't want to trim too much too soon.

I have also whip-stitched in the millinery wire--#18.  I had to bend it, of course, to make it take the shape of the blocked brim.  I'll be finishing the brim edge later.

Another view of the hat.  See where the big dip is on the side?  Remember seeing it on the block?

Since I had cut off a fair amount of the outside edge of the capeline after it was blocked, I decided to try and use that rounding as somewhat of a bias edging.  After all, straw is really woven on the bias if you think about it.  And so I doubled over one side of the rounding, as I would with bias edging, after having sewn it down with a back stitch.  Then I pulled the remainder of the rounding over to the other side and finished it off with a stab stitch.  I didn't have enough to double it, but since that edge had the original bound edge I didn't need to.  I then had a nice self edging that easily fit around my blocked brim.

I've placed my petersham ribbon at the headsize opening.  I chose to use the same color petersham as my embellishments would be on the outside.  I always think that is a nice, unexpected touch.

I usually pin the petersham in completely before I start to sew it in, but it fit so perfectly that I only needed about 4 pins to hold it in place.  My stitches on the inside of the hat should be almost invisible, but they will certainly show on the outside of the hat.  But don't worry, we'll be placing a hatband on the outside to cover those stitches up.

Here I've added the wide pink petersham hatband and have started attaching this incredible feather mount.

A bit of pale pink veiling and a variety of pink, yellow, and burgandy flowers set off the 'dip' in the brim.

And here she is again--Lilly P.  We got lots of good feedback from the television exposure.  I'm always pleased when the media want to talk HATS!

See you all right back here very soon!  Thanks for reading.  Hope you are a 'member' of this blog.  Right now we have 108 followers.  Thank you for choosing to find out about new posts asap.  For anyone else, there is a very easy little form to fill out just to the right over there. I'd love to increase the member numbers.  No spam, no annoying emails from us, just a good way to find out first about new posts.