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…


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.


  1. Beautiful review Cristina. Bravo! Too bad I speak tourist French I’d love to add it to my collection.. Thanks for giving up so much time and effort. I really appreciate you.:0)

    Comment by Montez — July 11, 2009 @ 11:52 pm

  2. Thank you so much!
    I think I’ll have to add this book to my collection soon. I’s so exciting to look at millinery from different peoples point of view.

    Your blog is a huge benefit to everybody interested into millinery, I hope you will continue writing it for a very long time 🙂

    Comment by Dirk — July 12, 2009 @ 11:25 am

  3. Estelle Ramousse was my teacher this year on my millnery course!

    Comment by Lucy Chalk — July 17, 2009 @ 11:12 am

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