April 2, 2007

Hand sewing straw braid – helping Nina

Filed under: Millinery projects — Cristina de Prada @ 10:09 pm

Duchess of Berwick - designLast week was a good week. On Wednesday, after work, I went to visit my friend Nina at the Escola Massana, an Arts and Design school well known in Barcelona. She is giving a millinery course there, every Wednesday from 4 to 8 pm. It was really exciting to be there and to meet the students. Every student makes their own design, their own hat blocks out of cork and finally the hat. Next time I go there I will take some pictures of the process of hat block making for you to see. I also enjoyed helping some of the students (Nina has proposed to me that I substitute her occasionally on the class… but that is a scary prospect!).

While I was there Nina asked me if I could help her by making a hat that she needed for her current project and I said noooo way! too much going on (well not really), but I didn’t want that kind of responsability on my shoulders. Then she asked if I could go to her workroom on Sunday to give her a hand, to which I said YES!!! I really love to go there, and the hours just seem to fly while I’m helping her with one thing or the other.

Nina’s current project are the clothes and accessories for Oscar Wilde’s play “Lady Windemere’s Fan”, that is opening on the 19th of April at the Catalan National Theater (it’s played in Catalan, the language of this region). Although she has designed the whole lot she’s only making the hats and accessories herself, the rest is being made based on her designs.

 So, on Sunday I helped her with a hat, but unfortunately I couldn’t finish it. It’s a small (smaller than headsize) boater made of a wonderful swiss straw. Here are some pictures, of the design, and the ongoing process. I was giving it shape on top of a round cork block, which is important so later it can be steamed (perhaps ironed) and sized, so it keeps it’s shape.

Topside of hat under side of crown


  1. Wow! I have never made a swiss straw hat (I’ve looked wistfully at vintage straw hanks on sale at dollsandlace website) Please post a little of the technique up close if you can. And the finished product of course!
    Aren’t millinery classes just the best?

    Comment by jill — April 5, 2007 @ 1:22 am

  2. I think Nina will finish that one on her own 🙁 but if I get my hands on it again I will certainly take more pictures and post them here. And yes millinery classes are just the best 🙂

    Comment by cristinadeprada — April 7, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

  3. […] Remember the day I helped Nina with a hat she was making for a theater play? It was for Oscar Wilde’s play “Lady Windermere’s Fan”, that opened on April 19th 2007 at the Catalan National Theater. I wrote about it here. […]

    Pingback by The rantings of a MAD HATTER wannabe… » Remember that straw braid hat that I began?… Hats off to Nina! — March 18, 2008 @ 12:03 am

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