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…)

August 23, 2007

Up for a quickie?… A millinery one that is.

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 10:52 pm

McCalls vintage pattern - click to enlargeThis fun McCall’s pattern is one I treasure. It was a gift from an internet friend. From the times before the world wide web existed, more than a decade ago.

In a Compuserve forum I mentioned I loved hats and was learning to make them. Some nice lady said she had some books and patterns she was not using and she mailed them to me. It was really nice of her, and if she reads this blog I hope she will accept my thanks and get in touch with me.

The vintage pattern is fun, very sixties (perhaps even seventies?), and I love that they call them QUICKIE HATS…

Do you have nice vintage hat patterns?

August 21, 2007

Beautiful french beauty winking at me from the corner

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 11:09 pm

French mannequin - click to enlarge During our stay in Normandy, everytime we passed a big “brocante” (big warehouse selling old stuff) I felt the urge to stop and take a look. Wouldn’t it have been great to find a ton of hat blocks, or hat stands, or a vintage mannequin head? Hey, dreaming is for free! But in the end we only had the opportunity to stop at one. It was a huge warehouse full of big furniture, some old some not so old, and there, in the last room, in a corner, was this beauty. The cell phone picture does not do her justice, but it’s better than nothing. A missing hand and arm (which were lying at her feet) do not detract from her sofisticated beauty and chic hairdo.

Unfortunately she did not fit in our suitcase or in our home… but I hope someone will fall in love with her, take her away from all the junk, and treat her just right.

She deserves to be loved…

Royal Ascot 2007 CD – review

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 11:51 am

Copyright We’re just back from our holidays in Normandy and we had a great time, although the weather did not smile on us and we had a lot of rain.

I have a lot of things to tell you, and here is a start…

Now that I’m back I’ve had time to look at the Ascot Hat’s CD from the Hat Magazine. I’m very happy I bought it, there’s hundreds of hats photographed in high resolution. It comes in PDF format, each document containing several pages (each page containing one or two pictures). These are the PDF files contained:

Ascot Small hats (68 pages)

Ascot Medium hats (64 pages)

Ascot Large hats (57 pages)

Ascot Outfits (30 pages)

Ascot Accessories (17 pages)

The hats are gorgeous. You can tell that Philip Treacy is one of the favorite hatters, there are a lot of hats made by him. Also I see a lot of huge (and gorgeous) fabric flowers.

Most of the milliners have been identified and you can read their names on the bottom right hand corner.

All I can say is that it’s well worth the investment, and you will have lots of fun looking at it… so, what are you waiting for?!

August 2, 2007

Kate’s visit to Barcelona, my straw hat and more things…

Filed under: Coarse straw braid preshaped hat,daily life,Millinery projects — Cristina de Prada @ 9:59 pm

Finished look of the straw hatYou will have noticed that I have not posted for a few days. It has been a few busy and fun days because Kate has been in Barcelona and I’ve been showing her around. She’s been the one with the camera so I suggest you try her blog because soon she will be posting about her time here, and I think she’s had a good time (and so have we!).

For those curious on how it went with the straw hat, you can see the picture on the left. I still have to sew the grosgrain headband but I have been wearing it nevertheless. I think that sewing the band will be difficult because of the coarseness of the straw, but I will let you know how it goes.

Instead of buying expensive ribbon for the trimming at Mokuba (I didn’t find anything nice), I found this sating scarf at the Promod sales. Promod is a clothes store, but they also sell accessories. It cost only 3 euros, and I gives a happy look to the hat. When I’m wearing it with my big sunglasses I feel just like screen star on a summer holiday at Capri (I am not deluding my self, I said I “feel like”, I’m miles away from looking like one, although the hat looks the part!).

Back to Kate’s visit, we met my friend Nina and visited her workshop. Kate took a lot of pictures there, so be sure to check it out!

Ah, another thing. Today my CD “Hats at Royal Ascot 2007 as seen by The HAT magazine” has arrived. I haven’t had a chance to look at it but it looks promising. For those not already subscribed to The HAT magazine I must tell you to subscribe NOW. It’s just great in every possible way, a must have, if you love hats it’s the magazine for you (it comes out 4 times a year). I have every single issue that exists and I treasure them. Back issues sell out quickly so be quick to get those too. I will do a proper review on the magazine soon!A hat makes you feel good about yourself!

Finally, the hat ebooks at how2hats have a 50% sale on all their ebooks during the month of August. I for one will be taking advantage of that and will let you know about the ones I buy!

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