I’m afraid I’m still without a computer so I apologise for the severe lack of outfit posts so far this year. To update you, my hard drive was completely toast! Yep, when it comes to computers the worse happened, nothing was retrievable. Thankfully I do back up a lot of my stuff online or with Apple iCloud so I haven’t totally lost everything. However, there are things I’m very sad to not be able to access anymore such as a few home videos that were made before smart phones were invented.
But onwards and upwards. My brother has installed a new hard drive so I didn’t have to buy a new computer. Phew, I was so worried I was going to have to fork out for one of those. I’m very thankful he knows what he’s doing. I’m going to get the computer back this weekend, so then and only then will I know what exactly has gone. Hopefully once everything’s back in place I will be able to take some outfit photos and actually get them off my camera! In the meantime I’m afraid you have mobile snaps and photos gleaned from the internet once again.
So, onto my new challenge! Yep, sewing and crocheting isn’t enough, I’m now venturing down the rabbit hole of millinery. I mentioned it briefly in this post, but now it’s definitley happening. At the weekend I went to what can only be described as a millinery fair. It was put on by one of the UK’s top millinery suppliers, Parkins Fabrics.
For the most it was just a chance to have a look at their products up close and personal, but it also allowed you to get their goods at a knock down price. The main room had everything out on display, so rather than just viewing things online and hoping they’re the colour you’re seeing, you could pick them up, match them with other sundries and make sure you were getting exactly what you wanted.
There was also a couple of talks throughout the day but we timed it really badly and were too late for the first one and too early for the second. Ah well, it’s early days in my journey, I think I need a little experience under my belt before I can understand the things they’re talking about.
But I did manage to buy everything I had gone for. The main thing, and the most exciting thing, was choosing these felt hoods. This is what most cloches and other small brimmed hats start out as. The burgundy and navy ones are for me and the lime green one is for my mum. She amazingly has so much faith in me that she said I could make her a hat for a wedding she’s going to in the late summer. Blimey, no pressure then!
I could’ve bought so many more as they had so many wonderful colours. The lady we shared a lift with up to the event had just been on her first millinery course and bought one in every single colour! They were only £5.30 each but with the amount she bought she probably would’ve spent £100 on them alone.
I also bought the various paraphernalia I need to shape those hoods into something worth wearing. On my hat block is a blocking spring. What this does is helps to hold the felt hood onto the block to allow you pin it without it moving all over the place. I’ve been told this is handy to have if you don’t have an extra pair of hands available. It can also be used to help create shaping as the hood dries.
Of course, I also needed the pins so got a big box of 50 to keep me going. I’ve read that pins aren’t always the best thing to use because the pin marks can sometimes show on the felt. However, I will use them sparingly along with the blocking spring and string.
The big tub of felt stiffener was the most expensive thing at £23 but I knew this would be pricey and I saved a bit as it’s more online. This is used to help the hat keep its shape. I’ve read good and bad things about using felt stiffener but I’ll give it a go and see how I get on with it. Many people swear by making their own but as I’ve never used the stuff before I’d like to see what the real thing is like first.
Lastly, for the felt hoods, is two lots of matching petersham ribbon which I may or may not use. Some of my vintage hats have it and some don’t, so I guess it depends on the style. It’s used inside of the hat at the bottom of the crown and protects the hat from where it makes contact with your head. It’s lovingly known as a sweatband. Ewwww!
On the left of the photo is my only impulse buy. It’s a whole metre of buckram, something that’s so hard to get hold of in this country in anything other than just strips. I see it mentioned all the time in vintage hat patterns and when I spotted it at the fair I just knew I should buy some. It was only £5, so it wasn’t going to break the bank! It’s used to stiffen fabric hats and can be sewn into all sorts of shapes.
Along with my hat block, I was also given this fabulous Tefal steamer for Christmas which will come in very handy indeed. It helps to soften the felt hood and make it more pliable so you can stretch it over the hat block. A lot of people just use their irons but, as my good steam iron is used solely for dressmaking, I didn’t want to risk ruining it whilst hat making. This steamer is designed to be used on steam all of the time so will hold up to job much better.
Btw, this steamer is really good for freshening up clothes and is a dream on those precious vintage pieces you really cannot risk at the dry cleaners. I first read about it on the Norton of Morton blog and he was very positive about it so I thought it was worth a go. Now I couldn’t be without it.
So, now I’m set. I have all of the bits and pieces I need, I just need to dive in. You know I’ll feature any that are successful on the blog, so watch this space!
And before I go, (and still on the subject of hats!) I just want to introduce you to the most gorgeous dove grey early 1930s cloche that’s currently winging its way to me. This beautiful hat is exactly the sort of style I want to try, so I cannot wait for it to arrive and give it a good look over to glean any tips.
It was designed and made by the incredibly talented Tanith Rowan who is actually the inspiration behind this new challenge! Tanith is a milliner herself and loves vintage hats. I started following her blog in 2015 after I read about her work on another vintage blog and I was instantly hooked. She shares all sorts of millinery tips and explains her processes really well that it made me realise it’s not actually as hard as I’d thought.
I didn’t buy the hat, by the way, I won it! Tanith ran a competition on her Instagram account to win one of four hats. She asked people to nominate someone else who they thought should win a particular hat and several wonderful people picked me for this beauty. I was so shocked! Thank you so much to everyone who nominated me, you’re all stars! xx
The comment that won the hat for me was from the lovely Sarah at Porcelina’s World who said “@vintagegalblog would probably create an entire matching outfit by hand using authentic vintage fabric and thread spun by virgins to compliment hat C”.
Well, I’m not sure about the virgin spun thread but I’d definitely love to find vintage fabric to go with it! 🙂 Of course, I’m already on the hunt for something in light grey and red to make an early 1930s dress to match. I know exactly the sort of style I’m going to go for. It’s going to be youthful, fun and Flappertastic to match the hat’s spirit perfectly!