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.