Monday, 27 January 2014

The International Millinery Forum (Part Two)

If you missed it, here is The International Millinery Forum (Part One)

Wednesday: Rest Day

Some of the City Park club joined me for an op-shop (and vintage shop) crawl through Wagga. I bought a lot of things, including more shorts and singlets for the rest of the week in the Wagga heatwave! Also a dress for the Gala Dinner, and a bunch of artificial flowers to turn into my headpiece for said gala, and some fun crafty stuff for later.

I love buying wooden bowls to try blocking on. Pretty excited to try the pineapple, although it may turn out to be a terrible idea!

Thursday: Strictly Vintage with Jo-Anne Rolfe

This class was a good one for me. While I had done similar work before to some of what we covered in class, I learnt better and neater ways of doing it, and Jo-Anne talked a lot about what techniques were actually used in vintage hats.

We made a 1950s style demi headpiece and started to learn about ribbon work.

But perhaps most critically I felt a connection when Jo-Anne spoke about vintage style. About how it was often more subtle than modern racewear. About how hats complemented the dress, the hair and the person, rather than taking centre stage. And I knew: this is my style. This is where I belong. Lots of other things during the week made me certain that vintage, and vintage-inspired modern wear, is where I want to focus, but this class was the main wake-up moment for me.

This is still currently pinned as I play around with the ribbon flowers. I like the cherry and black combo, but I'm still thinking about trying some different trims too.

Jo-Anne Rolfe is based in the Riverina district of NSW and her website Vintage Designs features not only her stunning hats, but some beautifully styled photography.

Friday: Straw Braid Boater with Jan Wutkowski

I've been taking apart some straw braid hats then procrastinating about putting them back together, so it was awesome to learn what to do (not just from a book) and get some practise and advice. Jan showed us a range of different ways to attach the braid for the tip, sideband and brim. I knew I wanted to try the spiral sometime and expected I would find it tricky so I stuck with that in order to get Jan's help while I could! Later I'll try some of the weaving styles - they looked fabulous!

For the brim I went with strips radiating out from the crown, and covering both sides of the brim. I think this is the easiest option and avoids having to worry about the edge of the brim at all!

This one is also still unfinished. The sideband is waiting to get a fabric band when I decide what colour I want to go with the pink. Any ideas?

Jan Wutkowski is a milliner from Wilmington, NC and she teaches millinery classes at various venues around America (and at the IMF of course!)

Friday Night: The Gala Dinner

100+ milliners from beginners to world-renowned in one room, frocked up and wearing hats? Eye candy aplenty! Having said that, I don't want to share photos of others in case they are uncomfortable with that, so you just have to look at mine!

The theme was Aussie summer, and I only picked out my dress ($15, thank you Red Cross shop) on Wednesday, and sad old dusty bunch of flowers ($1, thank you Vinnies) to match some of the colours. Thursday night became sewing night. After complete deconstruction and washing of the flowers, I used what I learned in Mondays class to do a floral garland on a figure-eight base.

The photos from the night weren't the best, unfortunately. I suppose, like most of us, I prefer photos that don't involve me! But in this case it is a shame, because the ribbon-wrapped wire doesn't blend into her "hair" the way it does into mine. But you get the idea.

Naturally I forgot to get a "before" photo of the flowers, so you'll have to take my word for what a transformation it is.

What a fabulous week it was. Thank you to all my tutors, new friends, the organisers, and the CWA for keeping us so well fed.

Tomorrow the school term starts up again (for teachers) and I will not be there. It marks the first official day of my leave and therefore the first day that I consider myself working as a milliner on my own small business.

I couldn't be much more excited!


  1. These are really great! I love the idea of using the wooden bowls to block on. I never got to take a millinery class in college, but I know lots of fellow students had tons of fun with it. I really love the pink flower one!

    1. Thank you!

      Blocks are expensive, and bowls can be just a few dollars! Easy choice :)

      My learning in millinery so far has been a long-drawn-out cocktail of reading books, taking one-off workshops and classes, experimentation, and occasionally the internet (I really should make more use of that last one), so you can always give it a go without the college class! It is certainly a lot of fun.

  2. You are incredibly talented, dear Tanith. Each of these hats is a timeless work of art. I love your style and how very, very vintage appropriate your creations are. You've got me swooning up a hat loving storm over here! :)

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you Jessica, that's so sweet. I really appreciate it, and I'm glad to hear that I am hitting the right mark with the vintage style :)


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