Finally, a quick run-down (with a few photos) from the advanced millinery workshop that I took in April of my OWN work!
Works in progress – Sinamay
As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t actually get anything FINISHED in the class. I worked on three sinamay facinators, one (just a little bigger than) 3/4 sinamay hat with a brim, and three fur felts. The furs probably took the most time to block and then also to dry – while the sinamay blocked up quickly, and then needed to be sized (with a mixture of 1 to 6 mix of PVA glue and warm water) and then dried basically overnight. I also blocked up one complete failure…
Scrap sinamay facinator
This facinator came out of a piece of scrap sinamay our instructor was letting us play with. It was just BARELY enough to cover the facinator block! I didn’t need to trim off any excess – there wasn’t any – and from there I wired the edge (very carefully!) and then bound the sinamay with black bias trim. This was done with only one layer of sinamay.
From here I’ll mostly just need to add elastic trim for the comb I’ll use to wear the facinator, and decorate the hat – I will likely use the two petals I made with the matching sinamay and the red twirly thing. I’ll need something to cover the end too….
Small white facinator
This facinator came out some of my own purchased stock… I should have cut the larger hat first, and then used the remains to cut this, but the one block that fit me was being used to block up a felt at the time (or rather, waiting for the felt to dry..) and I was impatient….
This used the same block as the scrap sinamay facinator, and I still need to trim the excess, wire, bind, and decorate this one. I have NO ideas right now – I’m thinking perhaps a hair-flower I picked up from Ardene’s a few weeks ago and perhaps some of the little feathers I picked up from the instructor or from my small collection of feathers. If anyone has ideas – leave them in the comments below!
Indented mini facinator with sinamay waiting to dry
The next facinator is a cute little shape with an indent at the top (there is no tipper for this, so a fellow student made one with upholstery cord – when she was done with it, I used it too!). In class all I got done was blocking and then drying the hat – the sinamay took extra long to dry because the block and the tipper were both wrapped in plastic – so the sizing didn’t really have anywhere to go! This was only one layer of sinamay. Another student used it after me, and I think that the instructor took it home – because it still hadn’t dried. They seemed friendly so it’s likely that the instructor will get it back to her once it is dry.
Sinamay 3/4 hat
Back when I was making the mini tricorn hats during the first class I considered instead of tiny little mini-hats, to do 3/4 size hats instead. Unfortunately the instructor didn’t have any blocks that were fully 3/4 size, so I used a block slightly larger than 3/4. I started off by blocking (and then sizing) two layers on the crown, and while it was drying I blocked two layers for the brim as well. I only found out afterwards that I could have done this single-layer.
Once the sinamay was dry, I took it off the blocks, trimmed the crown, marked the brim, cut out the centre from the brim, and hand-stitched a sinamay collar (leftover from the trim of the crown) to the tabs on the brim. Only as I was finishing the hand-stitching did the instructor let me know that I should have use buckram instead. Oops! From there I attached the crown to the brim, and then trimmed and wired the brim edge.
I still need to trim the brim (I’m thinking gold duppioni silk) , add the sweatband, and then trim the hat itself (with the same fabric as the brim trim). Any thoughts if I decide not to go with the gold? I like a bit of texture rather than smooth fabric – so I think duppioni will be a good fabric… but I’m open on colour! If you have any suggestions – please add them to the comments below!
my blue sinamay waiting to dry
This is the blue sinamay that I brought from home – the sinamay is much loosely woven, and had no sizing – it also didn’t seem to absorb the water or sizing I added, and the result was a fairly floppy mess. I could have tried to figure something out to make it work (I thought of binding it and wiring the edge) but I didn’t have the supplies or tools needed in class to give it a go – and I wanted to spend my time on more successful projects too!
Side comment on sinamay
One of the things that I found annoying about sinamay was similar to the buckram. Firstly the sizing really dried out my skin. I didn’t like that at all! Also, when working with the sinamay, just like the buckram, it has a tendency to catch threads, poke out, and even at one point I got stabbed by the sinamay in the finger to the point of drawing blood. I think that if I were to work with it again, that trying to use a pair of gloves might be something to consider….
Works in progress – Fur felt
Brown fur felt cloche
Brown fur felt cloche
I love how luxurious the fur felt looks… I didn’t like cloche hats on me when I was working on straws, but as soon as I put the hood on my head, I knew this would work a LOT better. I basically just started off with the rounded block in my size, and blocked the felt on it. It took a LOT of steam to get it to stretch and be smooth – but the result worked out very well. From there I let it cool, tried it on, and then turned up the brim at the front. From there I steamed and shaped that. After trying it on again, I think that I could have made the crown shorter – but at this point it’s a bit too late.
I still need to add the sweatband and hat band – I think that I’ll leave the edges raw – they won’t fray, and I like the look. I was also thinking of adding a brass buckle to the hatband (I just need to find one – all of what I have is silver-toned) and perhaps cut a keyhole out of the back so that I can tilt my head back without disturbing the hat (the brim is very long at the back…). I’m thinking it might have a vaguely steampunk feel – although I also adore the idea of doing a lavishly decorated cloche like the examples here - if I can find the right colour and scale for the embellishments…
Black and silver fur felt toppers
Not quite top hats (the brims are turned instead of blocked on their own and reattached, and the crowns don’t have the typical ‘hourglass’ shape), I liked the silver topper so much, that I decided to do it in black as well. First I stretched these out with steam over the rounded block, and then I flipped the block upside down (since the instructor didn’t have a top hat/flat top block in my size) and used a plastic template to solidify the bottom (as per my instructor’s suggestion). I also used a scrap felt piece on the second topper to absorb all of the pressure I was putting on the curved block as per the instructor’s request. From there I blocked the topper into the top-hat /flat top shape, waited for it to dry, and then curled up the brim much like the cloche.
After it was all dry, our instructor suggested I stiffen the sharp line where the crown met the band, which I did first with the water-glue mixture. This ended up taking a while to dry, but wasn’t very stiff at all, and left considerable marks. Luckily since it’s a fur felt, there’s enough thickness (and texture!) so that none of that showed through to the right side. I later used her spray starch as well which had much, much better results.
So, still do do on both of these – a lining (to hide the stiffening!) a sweatband, and a hatband with decoration. I think I’ll leave the raw edges of the felt on the brim, though I might change my mind at some point. The black would look slick with a black satin band and black satin binding I bet. (plus then I could wire and perhaps further shape the brim.)
Black fur felt topper
Side comment on fur felts
With one of the fur felts I wasn’t getting the stretch out of it that I had with the others, so I found myself tugging extra hard to work it down on the block to get it to do what I wanted out of it… during the class I didn’t notice it – but later in the day and more so even the next day, the base of my thumbs (haha.. the drumbstick of my hands!) were exceptionally sore. I hadn’t realized how much work I was doing until I was done! Ouch!
Well, I don’t have anything to put here right now! Hahaha…. Perhaps in time I’ll finish these off and have some final pictures in spotlight posts!