December 30, 2007

Cute old fashion Spanish Apron pattern

Filed under: Beautiful things,Other things I love — Cristina de Prada @ 12:32 pm

Click to see all pictures of the patternWhile looking at Amy Carol’s blog called angry chicken I saw that there’s a flickr group dedicated to old apron patterns. Will you believe that?!

There you will find hundreds of pictures and scans of old apron patterns. Should come as no surprise that there are lots of people out there who love and make aprons, but the truth is that it doesn’t cease to amaze me the amount of great things and great people you can meet on the internet.

This pattern comes from a Spanish mail order sewing course dating from the 1950’s.

By the way, Amy’s blog is beautiful and fun, lots of sewing projects but other stuff too. She has published a great little book called “bend-the-rules sewing” that I have and love and I’m sure it will be of great help with my new sewing machine (yes!!! my personal Santa left it under the tree a few days after Christmas!!)

December 29, 2007

Update on the Homburg hat

The crown block is finished. I have adjusted the shape a little bit more and have called it a day!

Remember I made a detachable base for the block? I was trying all along to “save” the verticality of that base and I think that might have contributed to the hat not sitting comfortably on the head. My last (EVER) modification to the block has been giving some angle to that part so that it sits nicer. In these pictures you can see the work halfway. The right side has been given an angle, while the left side is as it was, before sanding:

This left side is still straight on the base

Right side has been given an angle from the bottom


Check the difference between the base on the right and left sides

Notice that I have traced the edge of the headsize with a pen, that way I will immediately notice if I start sanding that by mistake.

I’ve already reblocked the crown and it’s drying, so my next posting (soon!) will be about trimming the hat.

December 17, 2007

A little millinery gift for myself – old headsize measuring tool

Filed under: millinery techniques and cheats — Cristina de Prada @ 4:34 pm


Hat headsize measuring tool


 I bought myself this little tool on ebay, isn’t it great? You can insert it in a hat and that way you can measure the headsize. I guess it was used by milliners or sales attendants to find out the headsize of the customer that wanted to buy a new hat (and came with one on their heads). I’ve had to pay 52 euros for it, but I think it was well worth it!

Here is a detail picture:

Detail of headsize measuring tool


“Gossip and Whispering” – Hat Museum in Utrecht (Netherlands)

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 12:17 am

Picture of the hat museum in Utrecht, click to enlarge

During our recent visit to the Netherlands we took the opportunity to visit the Hat museum in the city of Utrecht. It has the fun name of Gossip and Whispering.

A small private museum occupying the ground floor of a little attached house it displays not only vintage hats but also contemporary hats from the most noted Dutch designers (picture above).  The vintage hats on show include fur hats and feathered hats (even handbags covered with feathers!), gorgeous hat pins, delicate beaded toques  and much more. Also hatmaking tools like vintage hat blocks and a straw sewing machine. The hat stands (picture below) are a joy to look at.

Gorgeous antique hat stands

Up until the first week of January there is also a special exhibition of 40 contemporary hats by 7 different milliners selected by the wonderful Dutch Milliner Marianne Jongkind. The milliners are Yvonne de Bruijn, Vera Klomp, Mirjam Nuver, Eugenie van Oirschot, Marianne Schouten, Irene Bussemaker and Irene van Vugt. This is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Marianne Jongkind’s atelier”. Some years ago I spent a few days helping out and learning from her and I can tell you she is a very kind person and a great hat maker. This exhibition includes also her own hats.

One of the nice things in the museum are the albums filled with newspaper clippings and pictures of wonderful hats from different milliners.

Picture of one of the albums

Tiny Meihuizen-Wijker (below, in front of her own creations) is the person we have to thank for setting up and maintaining this museum. She has more than 2000 vintage hats in her attic and at the time of our visit she had just received some beautiful Christian Dior hats covered with petals..  Tiny also makes hats and gives classes and workshops in her museum. There is also a “high tea” in offer where you get to drink and eat delicious things and also get the opportunity to hear about hats and to try some on! Perhaps on a future trip I will have the time to join in one of the workshops, who knows! Click here to see all the pictures of our visit to the museum.

Picture of Tiny Meihuizen-Wijker, owner of the museum, in front of the hats she has made herself

December 10, 2007

The never ending story: still fiddling with the block

Hat after making changesI’ve been under the radar for quite a few days because of a family trip to Holland, but I have now a few hat stories to tell you. Before I do that I want to give you a little update on my homburg block/hat.

After some heavy sanding and filing I blocked the hat crown again.

Ironing to reshape

No microwave this time, instead I put the kettle on the stove to get some old fashion steam. Then with the help of my small travel iron and a wet cloth (which in combination produce a lot of steam) I managed with no problems to reshape the felt. On the down side, when I tried it on Peter again I could see that I had improved but it was not yet comfortable to wear, so I will give it another go soon (some more sanding and reshaping) because I want to be finished with it and move on to something else (possibly another hat block for myself this time).

Top view of the modified hat

You might look at the pictures and think that the hat looks exactly the same as it did before, but I can promise you that I retouched it so much as to produce a thick layer of cork dust covering the floor of the balcony.

It’s a fact that it sinks in too low for it to be comfortable, but I’m getting some doubts on whether the inner top of the hat should really rest on top of the head. I’ve seen some old pictures of men with high hats and it seems pretty obvious that the top of the head does not reach the top of the hat! Follow this link for a clear example! How on earth they were made to be comfortable I don’t know… perhaps once the headsize is the right one then the hat stays in place, but with the ribbon still to go it could be that the hat is now too big.  Another thought I’ve had is that possibly it would be more comfortable if the sides hugged the head a little bit, so my next modification of the block will go in that direction.

I am open to suggestions, so please let me know what you think!    



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