April 23, 2013

Book review: Fabulous Fascinators, 14 fantastic projects from simple to advanced

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews — Cristina de Prada @ 10:12 pm

fabulous_fasc2

stickerThe printed book “Fabulous Fascinators, 14 Fantastic Projects from Simple to Advanced”, by Kerry Aston, was recently released by Morse-Brown (who are also behind the www.how2hats.com ebooks). I’ve received a free copy from them so I could review it in my blog, which I am happy to do (keep them coming). I loved the presentation upon arrival, with the book wrapped in tissue paper with a big sticker that said” MAKE HATS. TURN HEADS.”

For starters, and just in case you cannot be bothered to read the whole review I will tell you that you will want to buy this book if you are a beginner wishing to learn how to make small headpieces, cocktail hats and whimseys (aka fascinators) out of sinamay. You may even want to buy this book because you need to attend a special event and you want to make a small headpiece for yourself, just that once. You may also want this book if, like me, you cannot help but buy any hat related book on the market.

THREAD AND NEEDLE are central to this book. If you want to make a small headpiece, with this how-to book you are on the right track and I recommed it. Once you get a taste you can move on to bigger things.

Having said this, I will rant for a little while and then get back to the review…

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*RANT ALERT*

Some of you who know me well, know that I despise “the F word” (and I’m not the only one, really not). FASCINATOR is a word I rarely use. The reason is because more often than not the word Fascinator is used to describe badly made, glued up horrors composed of a bought sinamay base, a couple of feathers, some badly cut veil and a couple of buttons. All of it held up together with hot glue. That sort of “fascinator” makes me cringe (even if it looks nice from afar). Just google hot glue gun fascinator to get an idea of what I’m talking about. I’m not saying you cannot use a hot glue gun in the comfort of your home to glue up together whatever takes your fancy, what I’m saying is that doing THAT doesn’t turn you by miracle into a milliner, a craftsperson or an artist, and that portraying yourself as one and selling those products to the public only means that your are DELUDING yourself and selling a second rate product to an unsuspecting (and clueless) customer. There. I said it.

If you hate my guts for saying what I’m saying, it’s your right to do so. But if you ALSO enjoy making headpieces, cocktail hats and the likes, you should KNOW that there is so much MORE that you can learn and that you can become . You can easily start with this book and move ahead. Instead of hating my guts you should thank me for pointing this out and you should embrace a world of possibilities, because there are a great many resources out there that will allow you to reach your goal and help you become an accessories creator and if hats are your thing, a MILLINER. Bottom line: a hot glue gun is not the way. You are allowed to disagree, of course, in which case we will agree to disagree.

*RANT ENDED… back to the review*

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BACK TO THE REVIEW. Fabulous Fascinators is a book written by Kerry Aston, and it includes 14 projects requiring different skills. All projects have sinamay as it’s main material and have plenty of detailed step by step pictures.

Each project has been given a name, and introduces a technique. They’ve been classified as Easy, Intermediate and Advanced. These are the projects:

Easy:

  • Marcelle: working with veiling
  • Cerys: Moulding bias strip
  • Colette: Moulding bias strip II
  • Courtney: Sinamay flowers & petals
  • Naomi: Sinamay & veiling bows

Intermediate projects:

  • Sophie: Rolled edges
  • Florentina: Feather pom pom
  • Alicia: Feather mount
  • Lily: Sinamay Calla lilies
  • Mia: Working with crin
  • Henrietta: Sinamay disc

Advanced Projects:

  • Stella: Wired sinamay
  • Mirabella: Blocked fascinator
  • Catherine: Your “pièce de résistance”…

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The descriptions are detailed and it has been well thought out to make the projects achievable, simplifying some processes but still achieving a good result.

The style of the projects is very much in line with the current high street fashion trends, but if that’s not your thing you can use the techniques to do other things.

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On the critical side, I think more care could have been given to the materials list. I believe a more thorough explanation concerning Sinamay would have been welcome considering it’s the main “ingredient” on the proyects. There are many types of Sinamay (plain, textured…), different grades available, and although more often than not it comes pre stiffened, some times it doesn’t. Millinery wire perhaps deserved more of an explanation, since it comes in different gauges, which might cause confusion when purchasing.

Finally Petersham ribbon, is said in the book to be also known as cross-grain ribbon… I believe that is just a typographical error, since it would be gros-grain ribbon, but my concern is that the two are not always synonymous and while Petersham has a scallopped edge, gros-grain (these days) is used to describe a vaguely similar, but straight edged, ribbon that is generally not useful for the purposes of millinery. More often than not “gros-grain” is used to describe the straight edge polyester “look alike”, but it’s important to search for the right product, with scallopped edge and a composition of cotton and/or rayon.

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Still on the subject of Petersham, while I believe that learning how to bleach a feather is all fine and dandy, I think it’s more important to learn how to swirl Petersham ribbon to avoid unsightly wrinkles when binding the edge of a hat. Here is where having proper Petersham (scallopped edge) will be useful, because straight edge ribbon will not curl and adapt to the edge of the hat.

Despite of my rant I believe smaller cocktail hats and whimseys are nothing new and will always exist. The ones in this book are simple to make, but they can be very elaborate, technically challenging and definitely very becoming. Sometimes the outfit and the occasion calls for smaller hats.

Let’s just stop calling them fascinators… pretty please?… with a hat on top.

April 23, 2010

Sant Jordi – a Rose and a Book (well two actually)

Filed under: daily life,Hat book and magazine reviews — Cristina de Prada @ 7:07 pm

Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia, the region where we live.  On the 23rd of april there is a tradition for the man to buy a rose for the woman and for the woman to buy a book for the man, that’s why it’s also know as Book day or Rose day.

Today, Barcelona has a flower stall on every corner selling roses, and many shops have book stalls on the street. In the spirit of the day I have put on a little rose fascinator and have been to Gratacós (the fabric and accessories shop)  where the author of the book “Barcelona alta costura”,  Josep Casamartina, was signing.

Here you can see me with my new book (on the right), “Barcelona alta costura” (sold internationally as “Barcelona haute couture”). It is a gorgeous book showing both haute couture dresses and hats from the Antoni de Montpalau Textile Collection. This hardcover book is packed full of wonderful full page color pictures, and very little text  (three introductory articles, the cataloguing and biographies). Both versions (the one in Catalan with a green dress cover, and the Spanish with a pink dress cover)  have full English text, which is wonderful. Some of the couturiers shown are well known (Balenciaga, Pedro Rodriguez, Pertegaz, Lanvin), while others not so much, but throughout the book the constant is incredible quality, design and workmanship. These were the dresses worn by the Barcelona elite and it shows they had excellent taste.

Here is the dedication from the Author, Josep Casamartina i Parassols (I love his curly hand):

The other book in my hand is my Mom’s book, “Joaquín y Loli. Un encuentro de cine”. Those who have been following me for a while know about this wonderful book, written by my mother as an homage to my father, and they also know that my mother was sued because of it by the surviving brothers of my dad. The book is wonderful, and I want to repeat this to my mother, I LOVE YOU MOM, and I think your book is beautiful, innocent, romantic and fun.

This is the dedication that my mother wrote to me in my copy of her book, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

Translation: "What to say! it's the most precious thing in the world, it's our daughter Cristina, sweet, intelligent, pretty, loving ¡How much we love you dad and I! and how much you love us. We give you little starts, but hey, don't give them to anyone. My whole life is yours. Loli de Prada, 25 April 2007

A mother’s love, what can I say!!

SPANISH TEXT follows… for my Mom, and her friends, and my friends, so they can read it without using a silly online translator (just this once).

Haz click en “More..” para leerlo en castellano…

(more…)

September 9, 2009

Reseña del libro electrónico “Plumas Fantásticas” – Review of e-book in Spanish “Fantastic Feathers”

(You will find the review in English below! This is a review of the Spanish translation of the book -the original is in English-, so I’m starting in Spanish).

Todos aquellas personas hispanoparlantes que tienen interés en aprender a hacer sombreros bien saben que prácticamente no existen publicaciones en castellano que traten del tema. Para el que sabe inglés eso no supone un problema ya que en ese idioma se pueden encontrar muchísimos libros, y algunos de gran calidad. No obstante hay gente que no tiene el privilegio de saber idiomas y que se ve en gran manera limitada por ese hecho ya que los traductores de internet sirven de poca ayuda cuando se quiere entender un libro.

Intentando salvar este vacío en el mercado acaba de aparecer traducido al castellano un libro en formato electrónico publicado por How2hats que se llama Plumas Fantásticas. Han creado una página web completamente en castellano para atender al mercado hispanoparlante llamada www.comohacersombreros.es  donde venden los libros electrónicos online (de momento solo venden el de Plumas Fantásticas aunque si la iniciativa prospera traducirán más).

Para el amante de las plumas a quien le gusta hacer tocados éste es un libro interesante ya que da una visión introductoria del mundo de las plumas, describiendo los varios tipos que hay disponibles en el mercado, así como diversas técnicas que permiten realizar tocados o decorar sombreros.

Este libro electrónico contiene entre otras cosas:

  • Listado de material necesario
  • Descripción de las diferentes plumas
  • Proceso de teñido de plumas y otras técnicas
  • Confección de un arreglo y aplicaciones
  • Creación de una base sencilla de tocado en sinamay
  • Fotos diversas de tocados que se pueden realizar usando las técnicas que se enseñan en el libro

El libro lista proveedores de plumas, tinte y sinamay que venden online desde el Reino Unido (aunque envían a España). No obstante, con un buscador tipo google, y usando los términos en castellano que aparecen en el libro, es posible encontrar proveedores en España. Uno de los problemas que suelen tener los libros especializados traducidos al español es la baja calidad de las traducciones, pero afortunadamente, en este caso, la calidad de la traducción es muy buena y las instrucciones son fáciles de seguir.

El libro contiene 20 páginas dobles y 62 fotos color, no obstante algunas de las fotos ilustran tocados y sombreros para los cuales no hay instrucciones, ya que simplemente muestran algunos de los usos que se pueden dar a los arreglos de plumas. He de decir que algunos de los tocados que se enseñan no son de mi estilo, pero francamente eso da bastante igual ya que lo importante es aprender las técnicas y aplicarlas al estilo propio y eso es lo que ofrece el libro (la foto es de un clip de pelo que he hecho usando una técnica del libro).

10 de Septiembre: acabo de actualizar los links a la web en castellano que estaban mal!! Disculpas!!

English text (this e-book is also available in its original language, English, and this review is partially applicable):

All of those Spanish speaking people who have an interest in learning to make hats know darn well that there are practically no publications in Spanish on the subject. For those who understand English, that is not an obstacle because many books can be found (some of very high quality) that are written in that language. Unfortunately there are many people who don’t have the priviledge of understanding English and who are greatly limited by that, since online translators dont help much in understanding a book.

Trying to save this gap in the market, the e-book Plumas Fantásticas, published by How2hats, has just been released (a translation from the original Fantastic Feathers e-book).  They have created a website entirely in Spanish to serve the Spanish speaking market named www.comohacersombreros.es where they sell e-books online (at the moment they only sell the Plumas Fantásticas e-book, although if this initiative is successful they will translate more).

For those who love feathers and making fascinators this is an interesting book that gives an introductory look to the world of feathers, describing the different types of feathers that are available in the market, as well as the different techniques that allow you to make fascinators or trims.

The e-book contains among other things:

  • List of necessary material
  • Description of the different types of feathers
  • Feather dyeing and other techniques
  • Making a feather mount and its uses
  • Creating a simple sinamay fascinator base
  • Pictures of several fascinators that can be made using the techniques shown in the book.

The book includes links to feather, dye and sinamay suppliers that sell online from the United Kingdom (although they do deliver to Spain). Nevertheless, using a search engine like Google, and using the Spanish terms from the book, it’s possible to find suppliers in Spain. Specialized books translated into Spanish often suffer from poor translations but fortunately, in this case, the quality of the translation is very good and the instructions are easy to follow.

 The book contains 20 double pages and 62 colour pictures, although some of the pictures show fascinators and hats for which there are no instructions, they are there as a source of inspiration to show what has been done by other people using those same techniques. I must say that some of the fascinators shown on the e-book do not match my style, but frankly that doesn’t bother me because what matters is to learn the techniques and apply them to your own style, and that is what the book offers (the picture  above is of a hair clip I’ve made using a technique from the book).

September 10, 2009: I’ve just updated the links to the website in Spanish, they were bad!

July 20, 2009

Accessorize! Web exhibition from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

ACCESSORIZE! 250 OBJECTS OF FASHION & DESIRE. I saw this book at a bookshop and fell in love right away. It’s a publication of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (ISBN 9789086890453 , 19.95 euros, 272 pages, 250 illustrations, bilingual English/Dutch). When I got home and looked at it closer I realized that the book is the companion to the Rijksmuseum online exhibition about accessories, an exhibition that has been there, without me knowing, since 2008! Both the book and the website have been designed by Joost van Grinsven and Cristina Garcia Martin.

Because it’s an online exhibition it doesn’t matter if you’re at the other end of the world, you can see it, and I recommend it highly: Accessorize 250 Objects of Fashion & Desire.

The book is sorted by colour, with gorgeous pictures of hats, umbrellas, parasols, fans, shoes, gloves, handbags, combs and more, it’s both in Dutch and English.

The same items that are on the book can be seen online, with the advantage that they can be sorted, not only by colour, but also by category, material, period and topic. The images can be zoomed in a lot too. The only thing that I miss is a 360º view… but I know it’s asking too much!

The Rijksmuseum has four Schiaparelli hats in their collection. The lady who bought and donated the Schiaparelli hats said (I quote from the web) “Hats by Elsa Schiaparelli were not meant to give a woman style or make her more elegant; her clients already had that! Schiaparelli hats were designed to attract attention. Her often unorthodox models were always so beautifully made that they never made the wearer look ridiculous”.

I recommend that you view out the exhibition from top to bottom and click also on the little film icons to watch the extra items, but if you want to go directly to hat business these are the links for you:

-Link to the hats part of the exhibition: click here.

-Link to the feathered hats animation: click here.

I was lucky to see some of hats from the Rijksmuseum collection in person back in 1998 during an exhibition entitled “Chapeau, Chapeaux!, hoeden van 1650-1960”, of which I have the catalogue that was issued (and the poster hangs in my living room). These are three hats that were on that exhibit, one of which is on the online one:

This text is from the online shop of the Rijksmuseum describing the book:

Right now, so it seems, accessories are almost more important than clothes. Unique to this day and age? Far from it. For centuries men and women have used accessories to embellish their outfits. For it’s that one designer bag, those handmade shoes or that unique scarf that makes the difference between trendy, rich, original, stylish-and not. It’s true today and it was true in the past. The Rijksmuseum has a collection of exceptional accessories from different eras and different countries-from brightly-coloured fans to gold-rimmed spectacles, from lavishly embroidered gloves to couture hats with extravagant feathers-and almost all limited editions, for that was the way it was. A source of inspiration to one person, an object of desire to another, but always a delight to behold.

July 10, 2009

Another French millinery book review: Secrets d’ateliers LES CHAPEAUX

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews — Cristina de Prada @ 10:50 pm

Dirk has asked me if I have heard of this book, and the answer is yes, I bought it a couple of years ago when I was in France, and for a change it was nice to see what I was buying before buying it. I guess this kind of answers his question: yes, it’s a nice book, and here follows some more info…

SECRETS D’ATELIERS, LES CHAPEAUX

Authors: Estelle Ramousse and Fabienne Gambrelle

Publisher: Éditions SOLAR

Details: May 2007, 20 euros (19 euros on Amazon France). In French only. ISBN: ISBN 978-2-263-04280-5.

Contents (translation between brackets):

  • Avant-propos (Introduction)
  • Histoire du Métier (History of the trade)
  • VISITE DE L’ATELIER: L’atelier, Les outils, Les matériaux, Chez madame Galanter (Visit to the workroom: the workroom, the tools, the materials, at madam Galanter’s).
  • LE SAVOIR-FAIRE (Know-how)
    • Les techniques de base: 1. Le coupé-cousu, 2. La customisation, 3. Le moulage des formes (basic techniques 1. pattern sewn hat, 2. customization, 3. blocking shapes)
  • L’ARTISAN REALISE (The work of the artisan)
  • There is a list of Parisian suppliers on the flap of the back cover.

The book is full of photographs which will make life easier for those that cannot read French, and the sewn pattern hats are nice but there are no patterns included , just guidelines to make them yourself.

All in all I really like the book, it’s made by a professional milliner who loves hats, and a great deal of effort has gone into picturing and explaining the details. I love the picture of Madame Galanter and her atelier, at 92 years old she looks wonderful!

Finally, my favorite project on the book is “Le bibi”.

First of all there is an explanation about the word “bibi” which describes it as a little hat (smaller than headsize) that sits on the head thanks to an elastic band or hair pins. Apparently the word has its origin on a small capote from the XIX century.

The bibi project on the book requires a small pillbox base (bought at Parisian supplier Artnuptia, although there are many suppliers in the US that sell buckram bases or you could make your own). There are explanations on how to cover the base with fabric, how to line it and sew the ribbon, and what I like most, the trimming. She has made a trimming of the same wool fabric that looks just amazing, it’s like an oversized bow… love it!!

Well… that’s it for today.

July 8, 2009

Four books about hats

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews,Millinery material — Cristina de Prada @ 3:20 pm

Recently I bought a few new hat books. Three of them (the French ones), I bought from Amazon France, and the Italian one I bought directly from the publisher.

Here’s what I can tell you about them:

Book 1: Créer ses chapeaux bibis et bijoux de tête

Author: Gaela Lemoine-Vallerie

Publisher: www.editions-eyrolles.com

Details: 2008, 128 pages, 28 euros (26 from Amazon.fr at the date of this post), soft cover. In French only. ISBN: 978-2-212-12335-7

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Getting to know the indispensable
  • Hair “jewels”
  • Head “jewels”
  • Hats and small hats (“bibis”)
  • Patterns

It is a well published book with beautiful pictures and how-to drawings. Explanations about the materials and tools. There are interesting instructions on how to make covered hair clips, hair combs and head bands. The projects are classified by difficulty, and are mostly devoted to small pieces and fascinators.

You will find explanations on millinery stitches, how to work with feathers, sinamay, how to prepare a small fascinator base (wired and covered). There is also an appendix with a list of suppliers in France and the UK, and a list of millinery schools.

My advice: If you have no issues with the language (it’s 100% in French although plenty of drawings and pictures) this a nice little book to have. It’s an informed book and a lot of effort has gone into it’s making. If you’re an experienced milliner there might be nothing new for you, but if you’re like me, someone who must have every decent book about hats, this is one you will want to buy.

Book 2: CHAPEAUX

Author: Agnès Rosenstiehl

Publisher: Editions Autrement (more…)

April 22, 2008

Wonderful fashion and millinery books from the University of Wisconsin

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 11:07 pm

Mrs Conde Nast - Image from the book Woman as Decoration, scanned by the University of WisconsinYou’ve got to love the fact that more and more old books that are now in the public domain are being digitized to make them available to a wider audience. Today a new array of books came to my attention thanks to Shay and her blog Little Grey Bungalow.  As you can see on her blog, she has found out a veritable treasure of scanned books (36 in all, related to fashion and millinery) available online from the Department of Human Ecology of the University of Wisconsin.

I cannot beguin to guess which one of the books will tickle your fancy, but I can tell you I went directly for Emily Burbank’s Woman as decoration, from 1920. And I can tell you I was not disappointed, the title gives it away, and the following jewels come from this book:

From the Foreword: “Contemporary woman’s costume is considered, not as fashion, but as decorative line and colour, a distinct contribution to the interior decoration of her own home or other setting”… “A woman owes it to herself, her family and the public in general, to be as decorative in any setting, as her knowledge of the art of dressing admits”.

From the chapter The laws underlying all costuming of woman: “The ideal pose for any hat is a french secret”.

From the chapter Establish habits of carriage which create good line: “Woman to be decorative, should train the carriage of her body from childhood, by wearing appropriate clothing for various daily rôles”.

From the chapter Woman decorative in her motor car: “It is not easy to be decorative in your automobile now that the manufacturers are going in for gay colour schemes both in upholstery and outside painting”.

From the chapter Woman as decoration when skating: “To be decorative when skating, two things are necessary: first, know how to skate…” (don’ say!!)

The conclusion “Remember, that while an inartistic room, confused as to line and colour-scheme can absolutely destroy the effect of a perfect gown, an inartistic though costly gown can likewise be a blot on a perfect room.”

And now on to the remaining 35 books… My next one is Straw Hats, their history and manufacture, the chapter Hand and Machine sewing looks mighty interesting, very little has been written on that subject!

April 16, 2008

The trilby from the Japanese book is finished!

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews,Trilby from Japanese book — Cristina de Prada @ 12:31 am

My new hand made hatMy apologies to Jane for my long delay in making this hat, which should have been finished a long time ago (we were going to tackle this project together but I fell behind). She did a super job, you can see her posts on the subject if you follow this link. The hat pattern comes from this Japanese book.

After finishing the hat I must say I get the feeling this is not really a trilby (the pictures on the Japanese book are misleading), because the brim is too wide and the angle too steep.  It must be said though that the pattern is really good and the final hat is beautiful and has a nice structure.

I can reconfirm that the patterns in the book include the seam allowance (I thought they did not at first, sorry again Jane!). In this particular hat we’re talking 0.7 centimeters on the lining and 0.6 centimeters on the rest, except for the headsize which is 1 centimeter. Just knowing that it’s included makes it easier to follow the instructions, even though they are in Japanese.

The fabrics I have used are a black velvet I had left over from this hat and a black and white herringbone wool fabric recycled from an old pair of trousers. I used a heavy weight iron-on interfacing that I thought would give the hat the body it needed,  but I believe that if I do another one of these I will try with a lighter weight interfacing.

To make my life easier, I traced the pattern onto the interfacing, cut it and then ironed onto the outer fabric, although to tell you the truth I started with the wrong foot, adding allowance (which turned out to be included) and worst of all sewing the top and side parts the wrong way around (doh!). But the extra seam ended up being a blessing because it gave me enough space to cut trim the excess and start again.

I made size L, which produces a hat with a 59 centimeter circumference. I believe the end result was a little bit smaller, but seems to be fixable by putting a stretcher and letting it stay there overnight (I did it and it worked, but shrunk back during the day… this time I’ve sprayed it with a little bit of water which I hope will help it to stay in place).

This is a hat that has many possibilities, on the picture I’m wearing it higher on one side, but can also be work square, or down… you name it (to see all pictures, also of making process, click here):

Top view of hat Detail With the brim down. Back view

March 31, 2008

Update on the Trilby from the Japanese book

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews,Promises promises,Trilby from Japanese book — Cristina de Prada @ 6:24 pm

Picture of page from book

Now that the Hat Parade is over, I can move to other pastures, and my next project (really, I promise) will be to finish the trilby that I had already started, messed up, and have to start again. This is from the book that I reviewed some time ago.

This is a project that I was going to do together with Jane but because of personal circumstances I’ve had to postpone. I’m lucky that I can now profit from Jane’s experience and techniques in making this trilby (that she has already finished). You can see all the pictures she took if you follow this link. One of the debates about the patterns on this book was whether seam allowances were included or not. I did some research and concluded that Japanese pattern books never include allowances. Well tough luck, this one seems to be the exception, and Jane found out the hard way what has later been confirmed by two nice Japanese bloggers that left me the following two messages when I posted an SOS on their blogs:

First Miho told me:

Hi, Cristina,
“スタイリッシュクロッシュ” patterns are including seam allowance.
1.0cm : Head circumference (topper side of brim, and lower side of crown)
0.6cm : All except head circumference
In this book, it is written that seam allowance of the lining must be changed to 0.7 from 0.6 using same pattern.
Because the lining is smaller than face, it is beautifully finished.
I hope that my advice is helpful for you.
Happy sewing!
miho

 Then A-na confirmed the same:

Hello,Cristina!
Welcome to my blog.

In this bookスタイリッシュクロッシュ,the pattern includes seam allowance.
A seam allowance of head circumference is 1.0cm,and the others 0.6cm.
When you make the lining,seam allowance must be changed 0.7cm.
Although using same pattern, the lining must be smaller then the face.

Do you understand me?
I’m sorry I’m a poor explanation.
I wish you make lovely hats!

 I want to thank them for their effort in explaining to me this whole seam allowance business in English.

 By the way, I will be a few days in London soon… any suggestions on millinery related visits?

I’ve corrected the link to the book review!

August 27, 2007

I went nuts and bought a bunch of millinery e-books

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews — Cristina de Prada @ 4:53 pm

Cover of Feathered Creations - copyright of how2hatsWell, I told you about the half price sale of millinery books right? Finally I got around to do my shopping.I was browsing through the website and thinking: well, this one looks nice… aaah, that one could be interesting… wow,I would love to have that one… boy, I wonder how that’s done… bottom line (and 67 euros later), I bought 7 e-books. These are the ones I bought with my comments:

Stitched Straw Hats: Many people must wonder how these hats are made, as I did wonder once. This ebook gives great insight on this, and as far as I know it’s the only book (electronic or otherwise) on the subject. I have searched high and low and have not found any, so this is a jewel. I would have preferred if the technique had been shown using the original straw sewing machine, but I guess it is more useful to everyone else if it’s show on an ordinary sewing machine, and the techniques apply to both. This booklet shares the expertise of milliner Jane Smith, who is an expert in period hats for theater and film. You can make a hat of this kind by unstitching a cheap commercially made one, which is quite a good idea since it’s not easy to come by this kind of material.

Sinamay hat 2 (I already had the first volume): I’ve never made a hat out of sinamay (although I have some waiting to be turned into one), but I’m glad I have the two sinamay books because they give you the insight and tips that need to be known in order to make a successful sinamay hat (ok, I have not made one, but it’s full of pictures and I’m pretty confident I could and will make one). As with all the books, the pictures are great and allow you to get an idea of things, like the fact that you’re going to have wrinkles on the bottom of the crown, no matter how much you push, but those will be camouflaged later by a band. On volume 2, they share a wonderful technique for working with open weave sinamay. It’s really clever!

Silk Flowers e-book: I did a flower making course a few years ago at the home of the wonderful (as a person and as a hatmaker) dutch milliner Marianne Jongkind. I’m sorry I don’t remember right now the name of the person who gave the course! It was a great experience and I was amazed to see that a set of wood handled irons are used for the purpose. I bought the set of irons that are waiting there for me to get into action. This ebooks explains how to make a beautiful full bloom rose using these tools. (more…)

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