I have been looking around for a classic Dior brim but haven’t had any luck finding just what I was looking for. I researched purchasing one, but it just isn’t in the budget right now. In fact, the budget is pretty much non-existent since so many of the art shows have been cancelled.
During the lock down, I visited Hat Academy, an outfit that provides online classes, and purchased a class on how to make a hat block. It is taught by UK milliner, Ian Bennett.
It took some calculating (not my strong point!) and help from my intern, but we figured out the placement of the spokes on the wire frame. Next came covering it in paper and a boatload of masking tape.
The next step was to cover it inside and out with packing tape, which helps to waterproof the paper and add another layer of strength.
All that was left to do was take it for a test drive. Here’s the finished hat!
All in all, a great project. I was happy to have another set of hands, however. It took the two of us a total of about 15 hours just to make the block. But the materials were a tiny fraction of the cost of a wooden block. I’m not sure how many hats I will be able to make on my handmade block; it won’t last forever like a wooden block. But in the meantime, I’m happy to have a new tool that didn’t cost an arm and a leg!
I was recently contacted about partnering with the Ohio Lottery and their InspiredOH campaign to share the story of What a Great Hat. I’m lucky to be an inspired Ohioan and to have the opportunity to talk about my business and creative process.
It all started with a skirt. A really great skirt that’s perfect for a horse race. My customer wanted a hat to go with it that had a touch of whimsy and a lot of impact.
The biggest challenge was to dye the parasisal straw to coordinate with the pretty pear green in the skirt. Through trial and error, I was able to come up with a color that worked great. From there it was a matter of pulling in the other colors of the skirt, including a terra cotta riding pant on the women featured on the skirt. Fortunately, I had a ribbon that was woven with terra cotta one way and green the other for a perfect complement. Dotted netting, black, white and green feathers, a custom made silk and striped band and dotted ribbon finishes the look.
An added bonus: the hat looks great worn as intended with the embellishment on the right as well as turning it around and wearing the embellishment on the left. Such a fun and colorful ensemble!
I just finished this dramatic hat for a fashion show in Alliance this coming Sunday. The free-form brim makes a unique style statement. Coupled with the fabulous feathers and handmade silk flower, it’s a real show-stopper. Is this your next Kentucky Derby hat?
One of my customers loved the two peach cloches I recently created, but peach just isn’t her color. So we took the basic idea and tweaked it. She has been wanting a black cloche with a simple embellishment – something that can be worn every day that also has an understated elegance. We came up with this design – another vintage straw, hand sculpted into a shape that flatters her and embellished with a crinoline (millinery horsehair) bow and band. A pretty vintage button finishes the look. Everyday chic!
I love a great turban and this one is fabulous. Here’s a link to A Stairway to Fashion‘s blog (where I first saw this photo) that includes even more turban images. Love the mix of fabrics and colors. It proves that the hat doesn’t need to match, it needs to “go with.” Enjoy!
Here are a few of my favorite images from this year’s Kentucky Derby. There were dozens more photos of lovely hats, but the faces were completely obscured. I guess for me, a hat is more than just a hat…it’s an integral part of “the look.” The hat is a success when the person wearing it owns her look with confidence. Enjoy!
When WVIZ/PBS approached me about donating to its on-air auction, I knew I had to make a Downton Abbey-inspired hat for the membership drive. Here’s the result…a hat that has roots in the past but is still very “today.” I hope it finds its way to the head of a generous donor!
Our lovely Duchess of Cambridge looks as pretty as ever in her red pillbox hat by Gina Foster and coat by Catherine Walker. Kate is wearing her pillbox in the traditional manner, on the crown of her head. As you know, she generally favors fascinators, worn at an asymmetrical angle on the side of the head. She’s gorgeous, as always.