December 9, 2014

Mad about Hatting

Above is the first hat I ever made. I made it perhaps five or six years ago, I don't really remember. Since making this little silk hat, I have made many more hats, taken millinery lessons while studying in London, and invested in a few small hat blocks. That's the thing about millinery, it requires a lot of expensive hat blocks if you want to make a variety of different shaped hats.

I love hats, but the ones I have made have always been historical or modern in design and the middle of the 20th century eludes me! How to I create those little clip like headband hats and the flat little caps from the 50's? That is my next quest. I have been scouring etsy looking for cute 40's and 50's hats at good prices and haven't really found any that will work for me. When faced with such a dilemma I usually turn to my sewing kit and see what I can do myself. I am adding making 50's hats to the list of new skills I want to acquire in 2015!

For a little hatting inspiration, I recommend watching this video where famous milliner Philip Treacy talks about hatting while making one of his spectacular feather hats! Sadly I can't embed it for you here as the video is not on YouTube. I've included another video below where you can see Treacy and his team making hats in his studio. It's just too bad there arn't as many milliners and hat brands out there anymore. I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday!


  1. Wow, seriously! That is an incredibly lovely and very professional looking first hat. You could easily have told me you just bought it at a vintage shop and based on that photo, I would easily have believed you. You are uber talented, my millinery loving friend.

    Oh, so true! If only being a milliner was still a relatively common job with scads of demand for it. I so admire those, where at a hobbyist or professional level, still keep this age old art alive.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thanks Jessica! You are too kind! The first two hats I made were this pink silk victorian-ish number and a black velvet mini top hat! The top hat is actually a real favorite, even though I have never gotten to wear it out. I should shoot some photos wearing it so it can get some love! I actually think the first few hats I made were sturdier because I took more care making them, I would really love to make some new hats with the additional skills I picked up in England back in 2012. If only millinery was still a popular career choice! I certainly would love to be a milliner myself if the job were still as common!

  2. You are just in the wrong place, Bianca! Well, millinery is certainly *more* popular in Australia because of the popularity of horse-racing (which I'm not keen on, but never mind), but I suppose it's still very much a niche career.

    I've been trying to work out a lot of hat styles by myself too. I do recommend just giving it a go, and trying to achieve the right look. Etsy and ebay listing with detail and underside/inside images are a great help, and some older millinery books are useful too. Plus just looking at vintage hats as much as possible. I don't own too many (ok, relatively speaking) but I always check them out at vintage shops, for ideas and for finding out how they are attached and constructed, which is the harder info to get from old images! Oh and some old magazines have patterns and tutorials too, though only for easy hats anyway, but they can be fun. I link to some in this blog post:

    If you want to ask me any questions, I'd be happy to offer whatever assistance I can :)

    1. Yes sadly America is no longer a hat wearing country! I eventually want to move to London where hats are a bit more popular as well.

      I have been thinking of going as far as commissioning a specific black from a block maker I like on etsy to make some 50's hats. I will certainly be bothering you the next time I run into a hatting problem! <3

    2. Oooh. I have such a weakness for hat blocks. You should do it!


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