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!
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 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.
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!
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 Supply.com / Hats by Leko
Another USA supplier (this time out of Oregon), the Hat Supply.com 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: http://www.etsy.com/shop/hatshadows
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.
Large selection of netting, bases, feathers, trims and other notions.
De Luxe Millinery
Buckram, wire, other notions.
Netting, feathers and other notions.