Thursday, 23 August 2012

Harvey Nichols

Passing Harvey Nichols window is always a treat, the changing displays are always a source of inspiration and it's easy to end up nearly walking into the path of a picture being taken.
It was much the same when I took these pictures, people nearly walking through but since I was concentrating on the heads, it does make it less likely for them to interrupt my picture.
This first picture is that of a mermaid, her hair or headress, it is rather hard to tell which, seems like it has actually grown on top of the head rather than been placed there.The carefully placed shells really add to the effect, hence my inability to determine wither it be hat or hair.
The second image makes me want to just eat the fruit it looks so good, though I have one question is it sugared or not ( I like sugared fruit you see), either way I would like to eat it anyway. The way the fruit has been arranged with the hair, is masterful. It's one thing to buy a hat to match a outfit, but if it doesn't work with the hair, it just doesn't work with the outfit.
 The last is hard to spot in the display, but once you find her you will always know where to look for her. The ring of flowers helps her blend in and makes me think of the easter bonnets I had to make at school, though we didn't have as much in the way of flowers. Perfectly innocent and childlike, the little sprite in the garden.

Fringe festival hats!

Working in Edinburgh means being at the heart of its biggest events of the year. While out and about I caught these two in Princes street. I just love these felt hats, very crazy and eye catching, something you could certainly attach a memory of a brilliant fringe too.
It is a shame that you can't see the left hat very well because of the light, using a new phone can cause so much trouble for the first few shops and to actually take a picture on one of the few days to have sun.
The left hat is very simple in shape, just a overly large cone with a brim, the colours ( what you can't see :( ) ) is really what what catches the eyes.
The right hat, has got me thinking about how I could do something similar with a future hat design, with little orange strands.
I'm hoping these pair enjoy the Fringe!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Blogger mobile!

Been so busy but now I've got a better job so that I can fund myself making hats. Also now that I have blogger on my iPhone I can take pictures of hats that I see in the streets and blog. Them to you all! Far better, no? I've seen so many hats in the past and no camera to take pictures to share( last camera phone was naff). Well let's see how this goes.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Don't dare say Baseball caps are dull.

Reading through the pages of articles on Departures magazine's website, I found one on artistic baseball caps and I just love them!

I am certainly inspired by this one to make a very very heavy glass titled hat, perhaps a corset or dress, maybe both... but I just love it!

The Japanese lover in me adores this hat and could see my brother Jamie wearing it.
Clearly this one is not going to function as a hat... so does this one actually function as a type writer?

Check the Departures link and have a look at the awesome baseball caps.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Fun, weird and funky!

When I was reading up on some of my favourite Japanese things I was looking at Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and I saw the art work for her new album, this one is for her limited edition version. I have to say I love the hat! I love how fun and how it breaks up the the very bubbly, pastle and sweet with the terror that only a shark brings.
 Her head though looks so dwarfed, but then that just helps the appeal of the cute appearence.
 According to a interview in NEO Magazine, she designs her clothes herself with the help of her stylist. I wonder if that includes the hat? I can see why she likes Katy Perry, it's something I could see her wear as well and why she gets compared to Lady GaGa.
 There is a potentinal for fun toy hats, though I suspect if I touch any of my little brother's toys I would be six foot under for even considering it.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Hat goes for a walk, work in progress

Well yesterday I decided to take my steampunk hat out for a walk... complete with outfit.that I made.. it could do with more but I'll just have to work to add more to it all.
 Of course it did generate some stares and laughs, some people even asked about it. Sweetest thing was the little boy who asked be about it and then said he thought it was ugly, I pretended to be offened and asked him what would make it prettier he then changed his mind, said it was pretty.
 One person asked if I was going to a wedding, another was impressed that I was bold enough to go out as I choose to go.
My brother took the photographs, at my request he really enjoys photgraphy and I mislaid my camera at the time.

The waistcoat is actually made from the recycled leather from our old couch, but given my recent work outs I need to take it in again. I added a length of fabric around the bottom of the waist coat to give a drape across the back, it was reconised in the shop I bought it from when I went in.
Which is why I went out in the first place, now that I've blocked the new hat for my friend ( for another friend) and this time it worked out far better! This time I choose red wine instead of chocolate brown, fushia pink petersham ribbon and on the crown I have added some embordiered stitch ( my fingers still hurt from pushing the needle through)

To finish the decoration on the crown, I've attached a snake of green glass beads I bought at Bufty's beads years ago in London.

What I still had to get was a inner headband ribbon, lining and a ribbon  for the outerhead band.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Grazia next top Milliner... Should I?

Grazia launches tis competetion to find the next big milliner in the UK, where two of the judges are none other than Philp Treacy and Stephen Jones!

Part of me wants to go and book a ticket for London, grab my steampunk hat and give it a go... but at the same time I think I need another year before to build up some experience and neerve to even face doing something as big a deal as this.The rub is... what if there isn't one next year?
It does go to show how big millinery is coming to be though, if a magazine like Grazia is putting on a competition like this.
There is a lot of fear in presenting my work to the countries top... and I  just realised that I can't go even if I wanted to go! Prior legal commitments that will not see me going to a millinery competition as a valid reason to go!

Bugger... but what do you think? If I entered this hat do you think I would have had a shot? Or perhaps maybe I would be better of if I just making a new one that I have the actual blocks for... encase I need to make another one.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Ack! Learning curve...

Mistake: Choosing to make my first hat on my blocks in two parts and not playing around with fitting the hat blocks together properly... i.e with screws. Also stretching the crown to try and fit the crown... that should have been the first indication something was wrong My excuse though I did have the cold and wasn't thinking straight.

Result: Mis-shaped and a hat far to large for my head,let alone the friend that I had intended it to be for.

Learned: Using my blocks it would be better to block the hats all in one, using the screws they came with to hold them together first and stop when things are going wrong!

Next: Well I've ordered another piece of felt to make a new hat with and I'm going to recycle the failed one for parts. That I think is one of the brilliance of hat making... even if I do make a mistake I can just recycle the mistake and move on. This time though the hat will be perfection, because I will not accept any less!

I'm sure I'm not the only one to have made a disaster piece, would anyone else like to share ?
Nobody ever gets anything right first time, trial and error. I've studied clothing design and the advantage was that then I could make a toile(practice piece) to make sure my patterns were right, to get the fit right but with hats you don't have that luxury. It gets made there and then and if it's a disaster send it to the scraps bin!
So what about my readers? Have you tried to make a hat or dress go wrong? Or did your cooking go askew? I've shared why don't you? :D

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Let's get blocking!

Finally they are here! My very first hat block set and they are so beautiful! I just love them and the wood smells lovely! I may have a bit of a cold but I don't care I just want to get blocking my first hat on them! 
Smells good!

 I did imagine them to be a lot bigger but then pictures are not always great ways of giving you an accurate idea of what they look like... still though I have pictures like I promised!

The range as it stands

Cloche front view

Cloche side view

A-symeteric tip side view

A-symetetric tip front view

Dipped A-symeteric tip front view

Dipped A-symeteric tip side view

Flat topped tip with filler side view

Flat tip with filler front view

Beautiful aren't they? Though you may have noticed I have only got one brim block but I can work some creations out of it. The pictures illustrate what kind of basic shapes I can make with the blocks, but with the different tips I can make pill boxes as well.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Nude Catwalk? I like the idea of a teaparty.

Robyn Coles
Reading about welsh Milliner Robyn Coles rather bold choices to display his work, I have to admit I'm not sure I would be as gutsys as him to make the choice and as the models to do so!
 Though the actual star of the show wasn't him or his hats but the 7 month pregnant former Miss Wales, Sophia Cahill, who produly showed off her bump as she strutted the cat walk during London Fashion Week. She was choosen by the milliner to help make the big statement at Fashion Week, given that there dozens upon dozens of
Sophia Cahill
 shows 1999 Miss Wales, struting herself in only a hat has certainly had the effect desired.
Myself... I don't know if I would ever do something so daring? My cup of tea would be in fact a tea party, a far more social occassion and perfect to show them for what they are designed for. At least some of them anyway, the funky kind of designs I think perhaps I should have something else in mind for a collection.
  It's an idea anyway, I can have a think about it... it's a while before I will be making a collection.

On that note though my hat blocks will be here next week!
 I will be showing pictures as I make a very special hat, the first hat at home!

Just looking for some pictures to add and realised to fit in with the image I want to project but I should have two different tea parties one the traditional English teaparty and the second a Hatters Tea Party.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Plucked For Fashion

There are always new things to learn and not always about new techniques I can use in my designs, but history behind some relate items can be facinating, such as pluming. It's actually rare for me to get anything on Millinery from my google alerts but I did get sent a link for a book called " The Plume Hunter" by RenĂ©e Thompson. It's a novel based around pluming, killing brids simply for their feathers, a practise that was done in the 1800's and1900's. These days though the poultry industry produces feathers as a by-product, along with the fact that it is no longer the fashion to have whole bodies of brids. One Smithsonian article states that in1886 ornatholigist Frank Chapan counted on 3 quatrters  of 700 women's hats, whole or part birds! From approximately 40 different types of birds.
 Though actually find many articles online about the subject is rather hard, typing Pluming into google and it keeps suggesting that I might be wanting a plummer? I actually had to type in feathers in the hope that might give me something, not much as you can see.
 But what I am glad (and relived) that the feathers used now in hats are not from birds killed just for them. Though with the growth of China, there are fewer feathers coming from Europe has dropped in the last 60 years.
Apparently it isn't just milliners are known to go to fishing shops but in America the trend for feathers in the hair has brought people in, though they complain alot about us doing it because feathers are hard to come by, frustrating fishermen. Lumping heaps of the blame on to Steven Tyler from American Idol.
 In the Seattle Times, one article from last June ecplains about the process used in America. The feathers used there are ones from birds bred for the sole purpose of being used for feathers, additionally though they do also add that the bird is euthanised first before plucking to spare it from suffering.
 As I've said before though it isn't easy to get hold of them other than the little craft stores, but then the range isn't great. Some fishing shops might have them, the first one I went to for my feather pad, didn't have any. According to the owner not enough people are making their own flys for fishing.Thankfully he was kind enough to allow me the use of his phone and call the fishing stop in Cowdenbeath, only to find out they had plenty. It did take me a while to choose which ones I wanted, eventually I settled on the black.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Let's get started!

Trying to keep the steam going once you've made the decision isn't easy. Getting everything organized and sorted can be bambozling which is why I'm glad that I already knew about Business Gateway. I went along to a introduction, which gave the basics and a lot to think about.
Then because I'm only 24, my name was passed on to the Princes Business Youth Trust and with them I now can apply for a Test Grant to help me try out my business idea, it's perfect because with that my millinery idea can be tested by creating a small range of hats that will be available for rent or for sale, which ever someone wants.
My lovely mom for my chirstmas has paid for my very first set of hat blocks, from Hat Block Direct , so currently I am waiting for them to arrive.
In the mean time I have decided to keep myself busy making other items for the head, decorative hair combs.
So far I only have 5, but getting the picture of the 5th one is a bit tricky, when you don't have steady enough hands.
I didn't even have enough ribbon to make the last cockade for the last comb, so instead I made a comb with little metal smilies. Whichs is why it is really hard to get pictures, they are so small and the metal just refects the light so it's next to impossible to get a picture with my camera. I've put in a few examples, though not all are actually mine.

I do have a few things already made, as part of the City and Guilds course I sat at Telford College, but I have to wait till the external examner has been and then in May I have the College exhibition, after that I can add some of it too the collection, but I think I will keep my hats that I made strickly for rent.
The first one I made is for my steampunk outfit. I may have gone a little over the top? The goggles make this cocktail sized hat a little too heavy at the front. However that does mean I have to keep my head upright at all times.
I think though its rather worth it for a first hat and as part of my steampunk outfit. As soon as that is finished I'll post the complete outfit.
My other hat is my straw hat, I wasn't as endugent with the decoration with it but I can't wait till the summer when it's far more approprate to wear.
The smileys say noob, not because I am one, but because... well that's what I had. I got the plastic smilieys at a wargames convention I usually go with my family every year and saw these game tolken smileys. I used the Epic fails on the combs further up the page.
One of the most ime consuming things I had to make though had to be the feather pad. The majority of day was spent stitching feathers not to mention the lengths I had to go to find them. I had to travel quite a distance to finda fishing shop in fife that stocked feathers, ending up in Cowdenbeath at Deals on Reels.
Great way though to using all those scraps though, that w
ay I don't have to loose much to waste, because then I can just make more than just hats. Same with scraps of straw. Rolling and fraying can make a cute little facinator.
I really should take a picture of frayed facinator that I've made. It has a large space in the middle that I can add something into it. The classic might be a rose or something, but the fun side of me things perhaps a small teddy or something to the like? Maybe I could make a little face and stick that inside?Well there is a lot I can do with it. Though if someone has any suggestions once I have a picture up, that would be awesome.