Month: September 2015

The Art of Millinery

We’ve been asked a lot of times to give a glimpse of how I make my hats and so we decided to record some stages of the creation process. I am proud of continuing an age-old tradition, using old techniques creating each hat and I thought this was a good opportunity to do so.

There was a very exclusive wedding going on in the USA, the gorgeous sun-ridden Napa Valley the previous month. One extremely loyal customer of ours attending this wedding ordered a hat for this special occasion.

A long-distance customer consultation is no easy venture; We used FaceTime and had an hour-long video call which gave me the opportunity to study her features, understand her style and personality.

IMG_2810IMG_2809 copyIMG_2812

First, I design a piece based on a specific idea or atmosphere I have in mind which is suitable with my customer’s personality.

Then I gather all the necessary materials to bring that design to life.

The beginning is otherwise known between professional milliners as “blocking”. The process of moulding the sinamay, by wetting and steaming it to create the shape of the specific hat block.  Once all of the pleats and bumps are removed, it is nailed and roped down.

Then the drying process begins.  Once dry, the excess sinamay is removed from the crown and brim blocks. Then I begin to hand sew the crown and brim together.

In this occasion I didn’t require a crown and brim because the design was an abstract high bow created with lots of strips of sinamay and I only blocked a small base. I am cutting and sewing constantly, until I have the desired outcome.

Afterwards there’s the adding of the details that give to our hat its personality called “dressing” the hat, such as different kinds of materials, shapes of sinamay etc. Could also be feathers or flowers.

I assemble all of the “magic ingredients” together and try to find the balance. Hmm… (Usually it takes some time to decide on final touches of the composition) Almost finished! Always trying the hat on the milliner’s mannequin in order to see if everything is balanced and looks right.

IMG_2814_edited-1 IMG_2831Once everything looks perfect. Viola!!!

After that, I put the headpiece on its box ready for delivery and, in this particular case, on a package to be send via International post and said

Bon voyage!

We can gladly say that this piece  arrived safely to its destination and our lovely customer was delighted with it, to say the least!

IMG_2833The event took place in a vineyard inside a large mansion in Napa Valley. The dress code for guests was white which was perfectly adequate for the outdoor event and setting, being warm and sunny.

So I found that this lady suited strong colours like Royal blue, Red, Purple and decided to go for Red with White and a touch of Navy.

She wanted something quirky, fun, young, different — we definitely achieved that, besides
the feedback from her is that the hat was ‘the talk of the party’ and she felt like a million dollars! We cannot ask for any happier customers, that’s what makes this job worth it!