More Designer Hats on my Journey

More Designer Hats on my Journey

posted in: Perch Hats, Top Hats | 0
I had recently met a lady (Anna) on line who lived in Cypress on this side of Houston and we had creativity in common. She has her first children’s book out and because I love writing children’s stories too, we decided to meet up in Houston to get to know each other. This was just before Christmas 2009 and everyone was busy, so it took us awhile to make a date, also due to increment weather. The day we fginally met, it took Kim and I about 45 minutes to drive in to where she lived and we met at a Starbucks coffee shop at a shopping center.  She then drove me to her house while Kim followed behind in our car. We enjoyed each other’s company that day and decided to get together as soon as possible after the holidays. While there, I showed her a few of my hats which she then tried some on.  She told me she would love me to make one for her ‘Red Hat’ ladies meeting and before I left, I told her I would make a couple of styles and she could choose one.
This is the buckram frame I designed for the Victorian Riding Hat.  Note that I wanted very little brim in the front.
Here is the hat made up as a Red Hat Society hat.
To remove the feathers for storage I placed them in a ‘bolo tie’ cone.  I sewed it on to the hat and both the feathers and the pin are easily removed so that the feathers don’t get ruined while stored in a hat box.

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.

I was lucky to find some belt buckles Kim had bought one time and I used one on this hat because it was perfect.  It is pewter colored metal and has that aged look I wanted for the Victorian era.  I also liked the detail the buckle had.

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.

I covered this hat with an oriental fabric that Kim had in her stash with fairly large oriental motif’s all over it.  Although you can’t see it on these photos, I placed a motif in the very center of the top of the crown.  You can however see that I placed a motif right in the center point of the brim.  I used a sheer chocolate brown ribbon edged in satin to trim the hat and make the roses.  I ruffled the matching ribbon first and hand sewed it before adding the roses.  This gave the trim more style.
The back of the brim is turned upwards and I placed the sheer ribbon to drape down the back and added one final rose.

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.

Now it’s time for a nice cup of tea.

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