January 20, 2011

Your chance to learn millinery with Charo Iglesias


If you happen to be in Madrid, or at a flying distance, you should not miss this opportunity to polish or kickstart your millinery skills at the atelier of Charo Iglesias. Charo is an “old school” milliner (meant as a GREAT compliment), her hats are made to haute couture standards, and she has a distinguished and faithful clientele.

You can see some of her work at her website: www.charoiglesias.com

These are the courses she will be giving:

11, 12 and 13 February 2011: FASCINATORS, BASES and TRIMMMINGS

24, 25, 26 and 27 February 2011: BLOCKING HATS IN STRAW AND FELT

2, 9, 16, 23, 30 March 2011: KNOWLEDGE AND MANIPULATION OF STRAW 1



This is a unique opportunity to learn from one of the best milliners around, and to do it at her own atelier. The only knowledge required is knowing how to sew by hand.

If you want details just let me know on the comments and I will email you the info I have (schedule, description of the course and prices).

October 25, 2010

A straw hat for Eulalia

Filed under: Millinery projects,millinery techniques and cheats,Straw hat for Eulalia — Cristina de Prada @ 12:51 pm

Eulalia's new hat

Fall is here already, but better late than never, here are the details of the hat I made for my friend Eulalia.

I tried to make a hat that is very wearable, but I suspect that Eulalia thinks it still quite dressy!

You saw on my previous post the blocked crown and how I stay stitched around the headsize. After doing that all I did was cut just below the stitched line, separating crown and brim.  Here’s the picture:

Crown blocked, brim not yet

Here are some pictures of the blocking of the brim.

When starting to block it might seem that there is too much material. Do not worry, that material is on the bias and it’s easy to “shrink in”.

Also important is to keep in mind that when a brim folds upwards (like with a breton style hat) the good side of the straw must be on the underside of the hat (so that the part that folds upwards looks beautiful).

As you can see I used a wax crayon to mark the edge of the brim where I would have to cut.

Brim blocking

I decided to use “brim lock” (nylon wire) to help keep the brim in shape. I taped it first to the wood block to get the right length (the brim hat stretched a little when unblocking and getting the length from the block means that I will be able to bring it back to it’s original shape).

I used a joiner, and with an exacto knife cut the tip into a fine point to be able to enter the ends of the nylon into the joiner. As you can see the ends get squashed when cutting the nylon with scissors. Afterwards I taped the nylon to the edge of the brim and used a zigzag stitch to fix it in place.

Yes, you can do that by hand, but the result is very good done by machine and it will be covered with a bias biding.

Adding brimlock to the brim of the hat

Here is the bias binding process. I do have a bias binder maker, but it’s very easy to make them with a long pin on the ironing board as you can see. I machine stitched the binding to the outer edge and them flipped the binding inside and stitched by hand the inside part making sure that no stitches are visible on either side (the stitches on the outside come out just below the binding, invisibly).

Adding a bias binding on edge of the brim

The last steps were the grosgrain headsize ribbon (previously curled), hand stitched but because the stitches will not be visible on the outside (covered by the crown) it was ok to do long visible stitches on the outside.

Crown and brim before assembly with grosgrain ribbon hand stitched

Nothing more left to do but to hand sew the crown to the brin, and add the trimming. I hope you enjoyed it!!

July 6, 2010

Setting the crown depth on the sewing machine

I’m making a summer straw hat for my dear friend Eulalia, I’m sure she will use it often (we have no lack of sunny days here in Barcelona).

I am using a brim block that does not have a hole in the middle and because of that I’ve had to first block the crown, and then cut the straw material separating crown from brim in order to block the brim separately.

Having to cut through a straw capeline is a scary thought and it’s important to think it through before getting the scissors. I’ve finally decided to run a row of stitches all around the crown before cutting it in order to avoid the straw from fraying, and also to have a good guide for cutting.

The tricky thing here is to have an even depth all around the crown and that is why I Macgyvered a way to do it. After deciding the desired depth I taped a ruler to the front of the free arm so that when the tip of the crown was in contact with the ruler the needle fell exactly at the point where I wanted my stitches to be. As I was sewing around I kept the flat tip of my crown in contact with the ruler thus keeping the stitching at a constant crown depth.

I will let you know how the hat progresses!

June 18, 2010

Pictures of the Paris Vintage shop opening cocktail

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 11:31 pm

It was a wonderful event, here are some pictures for you to enjoy (click on the image to see more):

June 15, 2010


Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events,Uncategorized — Cristina de Prada @ 12:56 pm

You are invited, next Thursday June 17th 2010, to come to the cocktail that will take place at the shop PARIS VINTAGE in Barcelona to inaugurate their new venue. There you will be able to see and purchase wonderful vintage haute-couture garments. For this day only you will also be able to view and purchase garments by the couturier Paco Peralta and hats and fascinators by Cristina de Prada (myself).

Cocktail: 19 h. C/Rosselló 237, entlo. 1ª (Esq. Rambla de Catalunya)

Estáis invitados, el próximo jueves 17 de junio de 2010, a venir al cocktail que se celebrará en la tienda PARIS VINTAGE de Barcelona, con motivo de la inauguración del nuevo local. Allí podréis ver y comprar maravillosos vestidos de alta costura vintage. Únicamente durante este día también podréis ver y comprar prendas del modisto Paco Peralta, y sombreros y tocados de Cristina de Prada (la que os escribe).

June 12, 2010

Dad, I miss you terribly… Papá, te echamos de menos una enormidad…

Filed under: Big loss — Cristina de Prada @ 10:57 am

These beautiful pictures were taken 1 month and 11 days before my dad died of cancer, today it’s 19 years since he died.

Don’t we just look wonderful in our hats?

Dad we miss you terribly…

Our thoughts are also with Ewald Kooiman, who would have celebrated his birthday two days from today, but who is no longer with us and is also very much missed.

My brother’s homage to our father following this link.

And my mother’s homage to her beloved husband following this link.

Estas preciosas fotos se tomaron 1 mes y 11 días antes de que mi padre muriera de cancer, hoy hace 19 años que murió.

¿Verdad que estamos fantásticos con nuestros sombreros?

Papá, te echo de menos una enormidad.

Nuestro pensamiento también está con Ewald Kooiman, que habría celebrado su 72 cumpleaños dentro de dos días, pero que tristemente ya no está con nosotros y a quien también echamos mucho de menos.

Puedes ver el homenaje que hace mi hermano a mi padre siguiendo este enlace.

Y el homenaje de mi madre a su querido marido en este enlace.

May 1, 2010

The birth of a gentleman’s hat

I had a bunch of handsome gentlemen in need of a spring hat for the last Passejada amb barret, and decided to start from scratch and design and sew a stylish hat for them.

Do you remember that a while ago I sculpted a hat with plasticine and extracted a flat pattern from it? If you don’t remember or want to see it again, follow this link.

Well, for my gentleman’s hat I decided to follow the same process. I used a round block as a base in order to save on plasticine (aka Play Doh), and as you can see it starts quite messy and seems hopeless, but little by little it takes shape. I like to smooth it out really well when it’s almost finished. Once the shape is ready I cover it with cling film and ideally I use masking (painters) tape to cover the whole shape, carefully following all the curves. When I made this pattern I was out of masking tape (and it was Sunday, so no hope of finding any) so I used packing tape which is messy and does not adapt as well to the shape, but in the end it did the trick.

Then I drew lines with a felt pen where the cuts (seams) were going to be. I think this is the trickiest part of the whole process, trying to visualise where the seams should be, but it’s a process that can be repeated as many times as necessary, covering the form again if we need to, and marking different seam lines. Once happy with the tape pattern it’s time to transfer it to pattern paper and true it up with a french curve.

I believe I got really lucky because I love the resulting pattern (the crown is made from one piece of fabric), but I should point out that the finished hat is not exactly as the plasticine version… if you check it out carefully you wil see that I marked the seam to be on the top edge of the sideband, but on the finished hat the top edge is a fold and the seam sinks down. When I had the prototype sewn I saw that it had to sink down, there was no other way.

If you check all the pictures I’ve taken of the sewing process you will see that I cut the iron-on interfacing without seam allowance, then iron it to the external fabric, and then cut the fabric with the allowance. That minimizes the bulk, and serves as a guide when sewing… I’m not really sure if it’s a good idea of just a crazy one but it worked for me…

In any case, the pattern still needs some perfecting. The last version is the one being worn by Paco Peralta (my couturier friend, the one on the far left picture), and you can see how the brim curves better than on the other ones (Peter and Joaquín).



April 26, 2010

Teaching how to make a sinamay fascinator

I was approached recently by Castelltort to give a few classes on how to make a fascinator. Castelltort is a  Spanish wholesaler that has just recently started carrying material to make fascinators (sinamay bases, sinamay by the meter, some feathers, veil and horsehair). The classes are aimed at customers (owners of shops) who want to get an idea of what can be done with the material being sold, and who are interested in selling it in their shops.

Today I gave the first class, 3 hour long , in which the ladies attending learnt to make a fascinator. They were supplied with a kit bag containing instructions, templates and the material needed to make the fascinator that I designed for the occasion. This is the table just before the class stared:

Here’s a picture of the ladies that have attended the course with their fascinators on (I’m there in the center):

It has been a very interesting experience and I’m really happy with the results, and really lucky I met such wonderful ladies!

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…


April 16, 2010

Trying on hats, that’s a party!

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events,Passejada 2010,Passejada amb Barret — Cristina de Prada @ 3:38 pm

Last Sunday, April 11 2010, we celebrated the VI Passejada amb barret (Hat stroll) in Barcelona, and that was an excuse for a couple of friends to stop by, try on some hats and decide which one they wanted to wear for the event (about which I will blog shortly).

Above you can see the lovely Helena (a wonderful storyteller, checkout the blog that she writes along with my brother José Manuel: http://escuchandoconlosojos.blogspot.com/), she’s in front of the harpsichord which is serving temporarily as an exhibition area for my hats (I knew it would come in handy one day… naaah!! just kidding!!! Sorry Peter!!).

My friend Eulalia also visited me to try on hats and they both had a great time, and had to try every single hat (some of them more than once!).

It was a pleasure for me to see others taking pleasure in my hats. Thank you Helena! Thank you Eulalia!

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