November 2, 2009

Mini hat is out of the block

The hat is out of the block. I used scissors to cut the edge following the string line. I like the downwards curve of the edge, which I believe works nicely with the general curviness of the hat. When I took that picture it still needed a good brush up, though.

I’ve added chemical stiffener on the inside because the hat was too soft.

Below is a picture of the inside of the hat. Whereas on the outside you cannot see any wrinkles, on the inside and with the lateral light that is hitting the hat one can see some wrinkles around the “headsize”. The grosgrain has been sewn in place using pink thread, which cannot be seen on the outside because I go in with the needle on the same place I came out (but on a different angle).

I’ve had to sand the edge a lot to get rid of irregularities which are my very own fault for doing a lousy job with the scissors. The edge also needs to be cleaned with a wet cloth to get rid of the white dust.

The trimming is the only thing missing (to tell the truth it’s finished, but you will have to be patient to see the result!)

These days I feel a need for simplicity and hang on to the old adage “less is more” (or more recently the KISS principle).

Since this blog is called “The rantings blah blah”, here goes some ranting…

I feel there are too many overloaded, heavy handed, unbalanced hats and fascinators on the market (with this tendency to add everything but a kitchen sink on the hat/fascinator), that I feel an urge to steer clear of that and to condemn it.  The simpler the hat the more difficult it is to make. A simple elegant hat is a challenge (I’m not saying my hats are elegant or simple… but one does strive for that).

Lets do this exercise: Pick up your favorite hat book, old fashion picture of hats, or vintage fashion magazine. I bet the hats you love the most are those that are striking without being overpowering, those with a simple line, those where you say “Wow, that lady looks amazing!” and not “Wow look at that hat, that cannot be comfortable, poor woman!”

Having said that, there are hats where there’s a lot going on (as an example, the wonderful butterfly hat by Philip Treacy) that work wonderfully (or so I think). I think making a complex hat look becoming and in a way “simple” is an even more difficult task.

There, I said it.  That’s what I think of the proliferation of fascinators in the market. I have nothing against the fascinator as long as it’s well made (no glue thank you) and it’s becoming. I also encourage the people that only make fascinators to branch out and learn more, because there’s so much more to learn and there is a lot of joy involved in becoming a milliner… and that is why I write this blog, to share what I know.


  1. Yay! Smashing!! KISS? Yes. Less is More.. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

    Comment by Montez — November 2, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

  2. Yes, yes, yes! That is what I’ve been saying for a looong time. I love the beautiful shape of a hat with very little on it. I hate it when a hat looks like it has ‘tried’ too hard to be attractive. (OK, the milliner ‘tried’ too hard, not the hat.) Give me a lovely sweeping line any day!!

    Comment by Jan Wutkowski — November 3, 2009 @ 1:49 am

  3. All right. You’ve confirmed my suspicion that the feathers just have to go.

    You don’t have to go to so much trouble with the blocking. Take that felt (I assume you’re using good millinery felt) and just soak it through with hot hot water. Pull as you wish. Seriously. You won’t hurt it. I predominantly make felt hats, and have only torn one (and that was my 3rd hat I ever made).

    Comment by Emily Moe — November 3, 2009 @ 2:37 am

  4. I agree about simplicity. The most pleasing hats I have made have been very simple but they are without doubt the most difficult. There is nowhere to hide! No feathers or bows to cover the dodgy bits. A beautiful hat with clean lines is something to aspire to. I love your felt mini hat and the fact that you made the block too is inspiring.

    Comment by Cath — November 5, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  5. Guay,guay. Las hormas de corcho no dejan de asombrarme, de veras…

    Comment by Blanca — November 5, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  6. Hola Cristina!
    Solo queria darte las gracias (creo que ya lo habia hecho,pero como no estoy segura,lo vuelvo a hacer,ji)por tu blog!estoy aprendiendo un monton de cosas que de otra manera creo que nadie me hubiese contado!porque experimentar,esta muy bien,pero de vez en cuando se agradece muchisimo que te expliquen algunas tecnicas.
    Gracias de nuevo!

    Comment by irene — November 18, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

  7. Looks fantastic. Well done!

    Comment by Min — November 19, 2009 @ 12:19 am

  8. Love your little Mini Hat and I totally agree with the Less is More principal. Globbing a bunch of stuff on a form is not “designing” hats in my book.

    Good for you!

    Comment by Kate — November 20, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

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