Millinery class 2 & 3

Class #2

One of the millinery books the instructor owns.

Alright, I have a BUNCH of scheduled posts lined up right now – so although I’m writing this first part on October 6 (and later parts of this post later in the month), it wont be posted for a while… BUT, I thought that I’d share some information about my second Millinery class.

Last Monday (that would be Monday October 3rd) we didn’t seem to DO much.  First off they moved the class to an entirely different building, and with LOUSY signage it took me about half an hour to FIND the classroom.  Since I’d given myself an extra half hour before class (to settle in, chat with others, unpack, etc) this meant that all the students who planned to be on time – also got lost, and were late. It basically meant that it seemed as though the class was shorter than it should have been.

While I was waiting, I flipped through some of the books that the instructor had.  She had one book I already own, and then a bunch that I’ve never even seen!

One of the millinery books the instructor owns. This one was all on how to make trims.

One of the millinery books the instructor owns.

One of the millinery books the instructor owns.

Once we got started, we worked a bit more on our pillbox hats.  In the first class we measured and cut out our bands, and stitched them together… in this second class we used a blanket/buttonhole stitch to attach millinery wire to the top and bottom of the band, fit it to our heads, and then cut out our tips, and clip the curves.   I found that when I was attaching the wire that I just couldn’t keep the tension tight to apply the wire, so I ended up doing about four stitches, then a double stitch and did a quick knot on those threads.  This kept the tension nice and even, so the wire stayed in place.  At home we’ll need to attach single fold bias binding to the bottom edge (to soften the ridge of the wire as well as secure it), and then at our next class (which, because of Thanksgiving won’t be until October 17th) we’ll be adding the tips on apparently.

Sewing wire to the buckram edge with a blanket/buttonhole stitch. The untied end is secured with masking tape.

Needless to say, I’m feeling antsy and want to do MORE, so have already started thinking about how this one will be covered and decorated, as well as the two other pillbox hats that I am thinking of as well… hahaha

Our next hat will be another buckram form – though apparently it will be the wet method instead of the dry method – and will be a pillbox to start – and then we’ll add a brim.  I’m looking forward to it!

Luckily – we have a storage closet in our new classroom – so although it means going up half a flight, down half a flight, and then up another two flights of stairs… it also means that we can keep our headforms and buckram rolls at school.  Trying to carry everything is going to be hard enough with all of these stairs!

Between classes

Between class #2 and #3 we applied single fold bias tape to the edge, covering the wire.  This softens the edge so the wire wont show through as much with the fashion fabric.  Because this will be entirely covered with fabric, raw edges are fine, and the bias doesn’t have to be folded over at the beginning and end. I just used a long basting stitch to hold this on.

Class #3

Ok, so I’ve just come home from the third class, and we had another late start (waiting for someone who never came) which means we also ended up staying late.  I don’t mind so much, but it is a bit frustrating when there are other things to do. (Plus our instructor is flying off to Toronto for 10 days tomorrow morning, so I imagine she wasn’t any happier to be staying late!)

Pillbox hat

Today in class she showed us three different ways of adding the tip to our crown – one the way we’ll do on this version – where both ends of the crown are wired, and two more where the top edge is not wired and instead the tip is wired in a circle and the excess ‘tabs’ are tucked inside the crown rather than folded over the crown.  Adding the tip to the crown we’ll do at home, (we didn’t do any of it in class), buffering the edge where the tip and band meet with bias binding to soften the edges.

bias tape basted on to each edge of the pillbox band. The red is covering the wire on the bottom edge, and the white is softening the overlapped buckram from adding the tip. The stitch downwards marks the center front.

The instructor was trying to tell us what we could use for this edge, but couldn’t really come up with the right word. The best we could figure out was needlepunch batting, but that wasn’t really right either – and although I have some, it’s pretty bulky, and kind of inaccessible (with the never-ending home renovation….). She said that double fold bias tape would work as well for this treatment – basically just softening the line where the tip seam allowance goes over the band on the external part of the hat. Obviously with the other treatment methods where the seam allowance goes inside the hat, this wouldn’t be so important.  I probably should have ironed the bias tape before sewing it onto the buckram for though, but I was feeling lazy.

Covering the edge of the pillbox with extra-wide bias tape to soften the seam.

I found that stitching it on the band first, and then the tip was better than trying to go back and forth between the two along the circumference of the hat. Because the seam allowance was 1″ wide, it meant I had to trim off the seam allowance as I went along.

Press and seal - a great smooth finish, but turned out really difficult to get off.

Draped hat

Next up in class we blocked buckram on a wooden form.  I thought that we would be doing blocked pillbox hats, but we all used domed blocks instead (apart from one student who couldn’t find one in her size so she used a flat-topped one instead).  We started by covering them with saran wrap (except one woman who did a beautiful job with press and seal – though in the end it was very, very difficult to remove, so probably not the best option after all…) and then used very warm/hot water in a spray bottle to moisten our buckram, and stretch the fabric over the form.  We rolled elastic (woven) down as far as we could, and pulled and stretched the fabric to get rid of the pleats and what not.  Then we used a blow dryer to dry them (since we didn’t have time to let them dry naturally) and used a piece of spring steel boning to wiggle the buckram off the form.

As an aside – after the one classmate had a hard time with press n seal, I had thought better than to use it, but then later on I found this blog post from aMuse – and press n seal is one of the products she uses to protect her blocks… so maybe it’s worth a try after all?

I was fortunate to have a small wooden block under my headform to raise the form up off the table a little bit – this was really great because it meant I could pull the buckram down further – the instructor had a small stand for hers for the same effect – I think that when/if I ever have a block for myself, I’ll need to get a stand like this as well.

Stretching the buckram over the wooden form, held down with woven elastic.

At home we’ll be trimming the hat form to shape, and wiring the edge like we did with the pillbox.  I also want to try out the other two methods of adding the tip – though I think that I’ll use my regular buckram instead of the one with the sizing in it – just because I don’t really need the sizing for the other two methods, and I don’t want to waste the sized buckram that is so hard to find!

We have some time to work on these things though – our instructor is off next week as well, so we have another two-week period between now and the next class.

After class #3

Covering the wire with bias tape, basted on.

Draped hat

At home, I started on the draped hat first, trimmed off the excess buckram, and put the hat on.  I then pencilled in the cutting line, and trimmed off the excess.  I’m not entirely thrilled with the result – although the hat form should be my size, I don’t really think that it is -because the buckram feels slightly tight.  I still need to add on the brim and lining fabric as well, so ultimately this might not actually fit. 😦

Still, I wired the edge all the same, using the same technique as before – a blanket/buttonhole stitch, which I double-stitched and knotted about every fourth stitch to maintain the tension holding on the wire.  Like the pillbox hat, I covered the wired edge with single fold bias tape as well.

Pillbox hat

After  I was done with the draped hat I returned to the Pillbox hat. In class the instructor didn’t really talk much about how to add the fashion fabric, so I just did it similar to the same way I did the tip of the buckram form.  I traced the tip onto interfacing, ironed it onto my fashion fabric, cut it out adding a seam allowance, and then draped the fabric over the form and stitching it down to the band.  I didn’t put the fabric on the bias, but I did secure it with few stitches at the 12, 6, 3, 9’oclock positions first, before securing down the remaining fabric with a stab stitch.

Basting the crown fabric onto the pillbox hat.

Next I measured the band and added some additional seam allowance to the short ends, and an inch on either side of the long edges for folding.  This I interfaced edge to edge so that the edge of the fold would be crisper.  I pulled the fabric around the buckram and basted the back seam, then pulled it off and hand-stitched the back seam .  I pulled the band fabric back onto the buckram form, tucking the top edge in, and used a slip of card to ensure that the tip fabric was smooth under the band.

I then (really carefully!) slip stitched the band fabric to the tip fabric.  None of the stitches are visible, as it secures the two together.  If I had better access to my sewing machine (it’s hidden behind a box, a Xmas tree, a painting, a box of dog food, a pair of curtains….. have I mentioned our home renovation project?) I would have thought of sewing these on the machine, but – well, I didn’t.  I think ultimately that I’m glad I didn’t construct this on the machine – I think that this method made the finished product a lot smoother.

I also ended up pulling the fashion fabric up over the edge and into the inside of the hat, securing it mostly to the bias tape inside the hat, with a few very small stitches to the buckram.

Very carefully, with tiny little hidden stitches, sewing together the fashion fabric of the band and tip.

Then I construct the lining out of red and gold brocade.  I measured the same way, but I should have considered the size difference between the internal and external though, as I made the circumference a bit too big, and the depth of the crown is a bit too big too. I ended up stitching these together by hand as well, and didn’t interface them. I was surprised how easy it was to fit the two together by hand, though I don’t know if I’ll ever be a big fan of hand-sewing.

I had pressed the edge of the lining , so slip stitched the edge inside the hat to secure it.  The instructor didn’t tell us how to handle the lining, so I have the sneaking feeling I might have done this differently than she imagined, but the only other way that I could think of to handle the edge would be to finish it with bias binding, and I didn’t really want that look – I wanted a smooth clean finish on the outside.  The only part I don’t have figured out is the hat band inside the hat – so hopefully we’ll be going over that in the fourth class.

To trim, I want to use this big bold red flower that I picked up at Michael’s, and I also have some red French veil material. I took the flower apart so it could lay flat (rather than come off the stem), and then put it on a pin back.  I pinned it to the hat and didn’t like how much it stuck out, so I removed the pin back and hopefully will sew it on.  I’ve decided (unless I get ambitions and don’t….) to hold off on applying the flower to the hat, in case I’ve totally done the lining incorrectly and need to undo parts of it.  I’m also hoping that the instructor might be able to give me some direction for the veil material – I haven’t quite decided if I want to use it or not.

This has been a really long post so far – but if you’ve made it all the way to the end – what do you think?


One comment on “Millinery class 2 & 3

  1. […] tried on didn’t fit – and this one does!)  For more about this hat, please read my comments about the class […]

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