Millinery: Supplies

One of the reasons I didn’t try much of millinery before taking the two classes through Chinook College was just a matter of getting the supplies. First off hat blocks can be very expensive (even on eBay and other resellers) and hard to find as well, and secondly a lot of the materials just aren’t available locally through retail sources.

Dressmakers hats were easy enough – fabric, interfacing, thread – all easy to find, but felt hoods? Nope.  Buckram with sizing – fabric store employees didn’t even know what I was talking about and pointed me to muslin fabric instead.  I thought I had found Sinamay, but had terrible results compared to the material that our instructor brought to class, so no luck there either.

So, one of the things I liked about the class was having the chance to try out different materials, but she also supplied us with a bit of a list for suppliers if we wanted to go and try more on our own.  The additional problem – of course they’re all online, and none of them are in Canada.  Still, though I don’t suspect I’ll be placing any orders anytime soon, I figured that I would post some of those links here, for my own future reference as well as to share with others!

Recommended sources

Black and white fabric flower with feather accents

Rui Tong Trade Limited
Located in the United Kingdom, our instructor recommended them for sinamay products, and this also appears to be the source for some of the beautiful feather-flowers that were shown off in class, and some of the feathers as well.  However – the big problem I see with the website (other than the fact they are in the UK) – they don’t have any prices listed, and it doesn’t look like they are set up for online ordering either.  Orders are through fax, phone, or email, and all of their product comes from China.

LBF Trade
LBF is located in the UK as well, and their site is very annoying as it forces your entire browser to change size to their website dimensions.  Really frustrating if you’re a multiple-tab person like me… No prices are included on this site either, and again they have sinamay products along with feather-flowers and feathers.  It appears that they have many of the exact same products as Rui Tong, though with no prices listed (and no online ordering) it’s impossible to price-compare.

Guy Morse-Brown
Another UK supplier – this time for hat blocks and some blocking supplies. Luckily, prices are listed on this site, though no online ordering – just email, telephone, or post. The pins sold on this site are only good we discovered with soft-wood blocks (like the balsa blocks) and much less so for the harder wood – the pins themselves would bend before piercing the wood!

Judith M
One of the first recommendations our instructor had for us, Judith M is located in the USA, and sells blocks, bodies, and supplies. The website is somewhat difficult to navigate. They also sell ready-made hats and do workshops out of their Indiana location.

Hat / Hats by Leko
Another USA supplier (this time out of Oregon), the Hat website is very difficult to navigate, with far too many things crowding the front page for me to feel inspired at all. Deeper into the site it gets easier, and prices are fortunately included. They carry bodies, finished hats, and other supplies.

This page has a list of links for UK, USA, Europe and Australian suppliers (no Canadian of course…) although not all of them were recommended by our instructor. Other parts of the website also have ebooks with instructions on hat-making and the hatTalk magazine.

Sources not mentioned by my instructor (found online)

This website was not recommended by our instructor, though it looked interesting to me, so I’m including it in the list. She sells facinator bases (straw and buckram), ribbon, and netting.  She also has an Etsy store:

Moxie Milliner
Buckram facinator bases, veil material and some other bits

Sunshine shop supply
Feathers, netting, flowers, buttons, and other notions.

Pink sewing machine
Netting and some other notions.

Squirl Girl
Large selection of netting, bases, feathers, trims and other notions.

De Luxe Millinery
Buckram, wire, other notions.

Fancy goods
Netting, feathers and other notions.




Video of a hat being made

While I’m on a millinery kick (or rather, before something else new and exciting takes me away from my multiple works-in-progress) I thought I’d share a cool video that I found on the Victoria & Albert Museum website.  This video goes through many of (but not all) the steps in creating a hand-made hat (in this case for Stephen Jones Millinery).  You can see just from this how insanely time-consuming it is!  I do wonder about the black material used at the very beginning of the video – pinned to the block and then shrunk with steam to fit the curves of the brim block.  If you know what this material is, please let me know in the comments below!

Of course, because it’s a Vimeo video… I can’t embed it here for you to see – but click this link for Millinery in action and go check it out!

As an aside, there is also a brief interview with Stephen Jones on this page, about the possibility of hats coming back into popular fashion.  What I find kind of amusing (and sad in a way) is how the designer himself, does not wear a hat, and there are only two hats worn by any of the interviewees – one a baseball cap, and another a fedora, worn by another milliner.  There is also a sparkly tiara-thing as well worn by a woman near the end of the video, but other than that, a video about the comeback of hats.. is almost entirely devoid of any interesting headwear at all!

Cut! – Finding Neverland – Mary’s gold and black dress

Costume poster

After so many boring beige/off-white costumes from the Cut! museum exhibit, this one is FAR more interesting to me!

This dress is the gold and black dress worn by ‘Mary’ (played by Radha Mitchell) in Finding Neverland.  (Yeppers, another Johnny Depp movie!)

Although the Costumer’s Guide doesn’t have a separate discussion of this dress, there are photos (from the Cinematic Couture show) on the website.  Likewise on the Neverland Costumes website, there are a few screenshots and photos from the same exhibit.

From the poster (click for a larger version), the film is described as:

“The story of J.M. Barrie’s friendship with a family who inspired him to write Peter Pan  Set in London, 1903.”

The costume is described as:

“The wife of Sir James Matthew Barrie wears this gold and black textured silk evening dress with a black satin bodice overlaid with tulle and trimmed with beaded fringe.  Bugle beads in a circular motif decorate the side of the dress.”

Mary’s Gold and Black dress

The dress is very dramatic, but also feels a bit disconnected to me – the bodice reminds me of something  out of Titanic, while the bottom reminds me more of Erte’s designs from the late teens and early 1920s.

Mary’s dress – bust detail

Insane amounts of beading cover the bodice, including the under-arm area, which seems really impractical and uncomfortable.  Still, very glamourous!  I love the dangling ‘shelf’ of bugle beads.  Although the description says that the bodice is black satin, overlaid with tulle, it looks to me more like nude satin overlaid with tulle, since there is a distinct colour difference between the ‘black’ bodice and the black skirt.

Mary’s dress – bust

My suspicion of the nude satin seems to hold merit when you look at the dressform fabric through the sheer sleeve – it’s the same colour as the bodice…

Mary’s dress – hip detail

Here you can get a really good idea f the textured gold silk.  The black on the other hand is very matte in comparison, which works well to highlight the circular beaded motifs.  The beaded appliques on the skirt don’t really jump out to me though, which is probably good, because I think the focus should really be drawn to the sequined and beaded hip instead. I photographed the hip in more detail below.

Mary’s Dress – hip

Unfortunately, I didn’t see this dress in the trailer, but nonetheless, here it is!

The volume is terribly low, so you’ll need to turn your speakers up!

Cut! – Sense and Sensibility – Marianne

Marianne’s costume

Ok.. even I’m getting bored with these off-white/beige/yellow/etc costumes.  I didn’t even realize while I was at the Cut! exhibit how many there were!

Costume poster – click for full version

This dress is from Sense and Sensibility, a “film adaptation of the novel by Jane Austen about two sisters of modest means and the men they desire”.  According to the poster (click for a larger version) the film is set in England around 1800, and was made in 1995.  The dress featured here was worn by Kate Winslet in the role of Marianne Dashwood, and they describe the dress as:

“From Sense and Sensibility here is the dress of a young lady of fashion reduced to genteel but diminished circumstances.  Her dress is of cotton muslin rather than silk, the overdress also a cotton fabric.  The combination is pretty and reflects Marianne’s romantic nature, yet subtly shows that she is no longer a member of moneyed society.”

Marianne’s costume

The cut of the overdress is interesting, but would accentuate the bust I would think… (and I usually imagine this era being… ahem, preferring a flat-chested style…)

Marianne’s costume

Likely hooks and eyes to close…

You can also just make out the very faint print on the skirt

Marianne’s costume

The overdress has a very subtle monochromatic stripe.

Marianne’s hat

Bonnet.  Kind of boring really…

I still have a wealth of photos from the Cut! exhibit which I’m working on posting little by little… but I’m feeling less inspired now that so much time has passed…  Would anyone else like to add to the comments with more about this style of dress or it’s purpose in the film?

Millinery: Small white facinator

I named another facinator that I started in the Advanced Millinery class the ‘Small white facinator’ in an earlier post.
From my previous post:

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.

Small white sinamay facinator, trimmed and wired

After getting this one home, I trimmed off the excess sinamay, and wired the edge as planned. I had picked up some pretty dangling flowers from the instructor which I thought would look nice – a bundle in burgundy/red/pink (with some gold/copper glitter) and some in plain white. I ended up taking my lead for the binding from the flowers, and picked a piece of scrap binding in burgundy from my stash, and trimmed the sinamay with that. From there I re-strung the dangling flowers, intermixing the white with the red in two bundles. I added in the elastic loop trim on the inside of the hat to hold the comb (to be able to wear the facinator without it blowing away!) and then added the first and second bundles to the crown of the hat – occasionally tacking down a few strands so they would fall somewhat reliably.

Sinamay hat with flowers

I think that the overall result is fairly simple compared to the huge feather-and-flower examples that we were shown in class, but still really pretty.

Small sinamay facinator with flowers

Some photos of the finished product.. what do you think? Where would you imagine wearing something like this? Let me know in the comments below!

Small sinamay facinator with flowers