November 20, 2009

Like a wire on a bird

Filed under: Bird of Paradise hat,Millinery projects,Wiring felt bird for structure — Cristina de Prada @ 4:15 pm

Here are some pictures of how I do the inner wiring for my beautiful green bird. I have used a large brim block as a base to shape the wire. With the pattern drawn on a piece of paper I have traced a line where I want the wire to go, and that done I have placed the paper on top of the brim block and pushed small pins all along the lines where the wire is supposed to go. The bits where the wire has to bend have many pins, while there are no pins where there are straight lines. After doing that I have been able to easily measure how much wire I was going to need and cut it to size before starting. With needle nose pliers you can make little circles on the ends to avoid snags and make it easier to sew in place. I’ve sewn the wire in place by hand without getting to the other side of the felt.

I want to thank Montez for giving me the idea for the rig I’ve made to shape the wire. Check it out for yourselves, here’s where my inspiration came from:

I hope you will be able to use this technique to make your hats. Needless to say this bird is my design, so please do not copy it… I’m sure you can think of something else that is as beautiful!


  1. Lovely! I’m curious about the underside. Did you sandwich the wire between two pieces of felt? Or did you line it with something else. Love your bird shape too. You do such beautiful work.

    Comment by Kate — November 20, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  2. Cristina, tu tocado de ave es precioso y muy original. ¡¡Gracias¡¡, necesitaba una manera facil de poner en “pie” un encaje y me has dado una idea. ¡¡ANIMO¡¡ y sigue estando sienpre en este blog

    Comment by carmen aguadero — November 20, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

  3. Hi Kate, good to hear from you!
    About your question, yes, another felt layer goes on top. Although glue is my arch-enemy, in this case there is no other way of doing it, so I have glued both sides together and then I trim the edges.

    Gracias Carmen por seguir el blog I poner comentarios!

    Comment by cristinadeprada — November 20, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  4. Comentarios?…..uhmmmm…pues no se que voy a decir, que todo está fantástico y muy bien explicado. ya tenía yo ganas de ver las “tripas” de este pájaro. Espero que todo vaya bien Cristina. Besos y hasta pronto., Paco

    Comment by Paco Peralta — November 20, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

  5. Glue? What glue????!

    Comment by joaco — November 20, 2009 @ 11:38 pm

  6. Gracias Paco por tus cumplidos!! A ver cuando nos vemos!

    Joaco. Yes. You’re right. I’m anti-glue. When something can be sewn-in it must be sewn-in… but sometimes glue (not a hot glue gun, just textile glue) is the only solution. So please forgive me…

    Comment by cristinadeprada — November 20, 2009 @ 11:48 pm

  7. Thank you for sharing the technique!!! LOVE it! And your bird design is so lovely.

    Comment by jill — November 24, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

  8. Suede…I’m thinking suede or leather instead of felt…

    Comment by jill — November 24, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

  9. Hi Jill!! I believe suede or leather would work wonderful in a structured hat like this, great idea!
    I believe in the next batch I will use something to keep the wire from showing through… perhaps a layer (smaller than the final size) of buckram? That way at least the top of the hat would not hint the wire underneath…

    Comment by cristinadeprada — November 24, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

  10. To keep the wire from showing through you might try a layer of domette, or flannel, or thin baby quilt batting (not the thicker quilt batting). I’ve used these many times to keep wire from showing and to keep the weave in buckram from showing when it is covered with fabric. Just sayin’.

    Comment by Jan — November 28, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

  11. Thanks Jan! All suggestions welcome! Yes, I thought about the domette, but since it has to be glued together and the wire is pretty close to the edge I thought it might cause adherence problems. Another option is to glue a layer of buckram in between (the one that has some muslin on top), a little short of the edge, and then the layer of felt…The fact that the wire is somewhat visible is not too bad because it follows neatly the shape of the bird though. But I might try to do it different next time.

    Comment by cristinadeprada — November 28, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

  12. Siempre tan minuciosa. Precioso.

    Comment by Blanca — November 28, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

  13. Hola Cristina, queria felicitarte por tus últimos trabajos,son geniales, el sombrerito me encanta. y menuda explicación sobre el proceso de elaboración, mejor que cualquier libro, como tu sabes mucho quería preguntarte si sabes de algún sitio en España que pueda comprar refuerzo para los conos de fieltro, ya que en varios sitios que he encontrado fuera de España no lo pueden mandar, llevo tiempo buscando pero nada, si me pudieras ayudar te lo agradeceria, ya que me voy a Madrid a una feria el 14 de diciembre y me gustaria poder hacer bastantes sombreros pero si no encuentro refuerzo va a estar complicadillo, Tambien te invito a que visites mi blog donde podras ver alguno de los modelos que he hecho ya,tu opinión es muy valiosa.
    Creo que me estoy haciendo adicta a los hat block. Un besito Mapi

    Comment by Mapiuska — November 30, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

  14. Hola Mapi,
    Mira que no acabo de entender lo que me dices de refuerzo para los conos de fieltro… Quieres decir apresto?
    Ahora mismo me miro tu web!

    Comment by cristinadeprada — November 30, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

  15. Hola de nuevo, si yo creo que es lo mismo, en ingles lo llaman felt stiffener, es para que el fielto coja la forma, hasta ahora he comprado los conos con el stiffener incorporado,sale un poco más caro pero es muy comodo, pero los colores eran limitados, por eso ahora he comprado otros conos pero no llevan nada y claro en Zaragoza como que el mundo de la sombrereria no esta muy desarrollado, he mirado en tiendas inglesas pero como se supone que es inflamable no te lo mandan por correo, solo es para comprar en las tiendas, asi que ando como loca buscando una solución para dar forma a los conos, una vez probe una receta para endurecer tela, pero quedaba como muy blanco el lado donde se daba. a lo mejor tu sabes de alguna receta casera o de algun sitio donde lo vendan, si es en España sera más facil que te lo envien.
    Muchas gracias por escribir tan rapido
    Un beso

    Comment by mapi — December 1, 2009 @ 12:45 am

  16. Hi Cristina,
    I started reading your blogs last year and I was very impressed at your hat making and your flowers. I wanted to learn, could not find anyone here to teach me so when I saw what you did, I kept reasearching the web, found a millinery supplier that had what I needed and my children gave me the supplies for a birthday present. Now, tonight I read an old posting on HATS BY LOLA and both of you have a machine that binds the straw and this also impressed me. Now, you have made the facinator and from the inspiration of Lola and you, I am making my own fabric flowers, found a straw braid sewing machine and I was blessed to find one and it only took 3 days of researching …..WHEW!!!!! My husband is a professional carpenter and he is going to make me a special table for the straw machine. One thing my sweet mom taught me to do is say THANK YOU when someone does something for you and I’m thanking you for all your encouragement and inspiration. May God continue to Bless you! Rose from Dallas, Texas.

    Comment by Rose from Dallas — April 27, 2010 @ 5:11 am

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