Tuesday, December 20, 2011
A Hat for Nina

Two weeks ago I received an email from my husbands former "Friseurin" or hair stylist Nina. Now my husband didn't go to the salon to get his hair "styled" per say, Nina just cut his hair when needed. Nina also cut my hair after I big chopped. I made the big mistake of cutting my hair myself . I did such a whack job, that she had to fix me up. Anyway, Nina sent me an email to let us know that she was getting married next year , and she also asked if I could make her a "Hut", or hat for her wedding. Of course I said yes!

In Germany, it's tradition that couples get married twice. You have to get married at the "Standesamt", or city hall. In the days following the couples will normally have a church ceremony. Nina will be wearing a traditional bridal gown and veil for the church ceremony. However, for the court house ceremony, Nina has chosen a look that makes a statement.

Take a look at Nina's inspiration photo.

If know me, you know I love retro! I was so excited when I saw this photo. This is totally my style and I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to work on this project. I was equally excited to discover a kindred spirit who loves vintage and retro fashion as much as I do.

Last week, Nina and I met to consult on the construction details of the hat. She has decided to go with an olive green dupioni silk for both the dress and hat. I was relieved because, the hat in the photo is obviously made of wool felt and was formed on a hat block. I don't own any hat blocks for brims. But, I was confident that I could design the brim out of buckram and use the block that I do have to form the crown of the hat.

Here are a few pictures of the hat progress thus far. Forgive me but, I don't have photos for each step in the making of process. I'll do better next time. First I made a pattern for the brim using packaging paper. This took quite some time as I had to be sure that my brim would lay flat where I wanted it to and, that it would curve in the areas that I wanted it to. After several tries, I finally came up with a shape that I was happy with. Here is my hat brim and crown made of buckram. The edge on the brim is covered with wire and then with French elastic. The head size opening is cut as well. The crown here is wired and was later covered with the French elastic.

I don't have a photo of this but, the next step in preparing the brim and crown for the fashion fabric, in this case the silk, is the mulling process. Mulling means that the buckram is covered with flannel to insure that the hat has a smoother look and feel.

Here you can see that I have applied the silk to the brim and crown. The crown looks great! However, the brim needed help. This is were millinery glue comes into play. Because my brim has concave areas, the glue is necessary so that the fashion fabric lays flat against the mulling fabric. The glue application was a bit tricky. Applying too much can cause the fabric to stain. Although I did test my fabrics prior to the actual application, this was still my biggest fear. I had to go back a couple of times to carefully apply more glue and smooth the fabric to avoid air bubbles.

This is the progress I've made on Nina's hat thus far. The crown and brim are attached and as you can see, I managed to get the silk to lay much smoother than in the previous photo. I have also hand sewn a bias band around the edge of the hat. It took forever!

I'm happy with look of the hat so far, and so is Nina. We met yesterday to select a veil, feathers and other trims for the hat. I think the hat is going to look awesome, especially against Nina's fiery red hair. I am hoping to have the hat finished in the next few days. I'll post a picture of the finished product after the holidays.

Have a great day,

1 comment

  1. What a very cool opportunity. I'm glad Nina thought of you to make her hat. Your creation is gorgeous already. I can't wait to see the rest. :-)


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