I wanted to thread the purple ribbon through a red buckle, but couldn’t find one on a belt that would work. A buckle for a hat needs to be symmetrical and most belt buckles have a flat side and a shaped side. I finally found a round buckle I liked but it was the wrong color, so I covered it in red ribbon and was very happy with the results. To learn about buckles and how to cover them, see my tutorial in February 2010.
Now you can see this hat in purple and red and also see the same design I originally did as a Victorian Riding Hat in black. One design, two very different looks.
When Christmas 2009 came around Kim gave me two hat books filled with photos of many styles of hats. I loved this gift as books have always given me inspiration for my designing even though I never do anything like I see in them. What they do for me is channel my creative energy to come up with new ideas.
The titles are.
1,000 Hats by Norma Shephard
Vintage Hats & Bonnets by Susan Langley
I had worn the Internet out searching for inspiration and these books brought my creative force to light.
My next hat was on December 29th, inspired by a hat I saw in Susan’s book on page 97. I liked the idea of a very small round crown with a pointed brim in front but of course working with buckram I had to modify. So I designed this next hat as a perch hat but Victorian in style. I also hand made the ribbon roses which is something I taught myself many years ago when I was in the knitwear design business.
When Kim saw this hat she fell in love with it and said I should also make it full size. It was quite an ordeal to make this hat as it was very time consuming so I decided to wait and switch to a different design.
I finished out 2009 with this hat and I knew my new career had finally taken shape. I was now ready to declare myself a milliner. I also had a name in my mind. Growing up in England we always drank hot tea with sugar and milk and it is still my main drink throughout the day, even in summer. Health problems the summer of 2008 made me switch to green tea, but I still drink it with a small amount of sugar and milk the way I always have. I am always English at heart even though I am proud to be an American this past forty years, so my new name was chosen.
The Teacup Milliner came into my head and I told Kim I wanted to order some labels. I have to be very careful with money these and was opting for inexpensive printed cotton labels with only my name. Kim did a lot of work and came up with wonderful woven labels direct from Hong Kong and she added the logo she designed for me. It was a lovely surprise. They will be placed inside the hat on the crown lining and I am so excited to be going into this new venture.