Friday, March 15, 2013

Fascinating fascinators, and other millinery bits

For half a dozen years or more I've been wanting to take a Beginning Millinery class offered over three Saturdays at a local community college, and finally I am doing it. The instructor is a wonderful milliner, Wayne Wichern, with nearly three decades of experience. Our class goal is to leave with three finished items: a straw hat, a fabric covered buckram hat, and a fascinator.

Due to time considerations we did not get to block our own straw hats, alas. We did watch the instructor demonstrate using one of his collection of dozens of hat blocks (in the photo also note the two blocks with a round and flat buckram crown blocked and drying). He also used some leftover straw to make a straw feather. A piece of straw is wetted, the edges are fluffed out, a wire is stitched on, the the feather is trimmed to shape and bent. The contrasting thread and wire in the photo are for demonstration purposes.

I made an extra buckram fascinator base at home. I covered a conveniently shaped object with plastic wrap to protect it from the buckram. Then I took buckram, wetted it with warm water, and stretched and shaped it; finally I pinned it down to dry. Here it is sitting in a sunny window to speed up drying.

Once it was dry I drew the desired shape of my fascinator base (photo below), cut it out and covered it with fabric. Photos were taken with my cell phone, sorry about the quality.

Also I have been trying to teach myself how to make fabric flowers. My experiments with that will be the subject of other posts. As part of that I am making my own stamens, because the commercially available stamens are expensive and not necessarily exactly what I want. Below is one of my experimental flowers posed under my first stamen experiment. The stamen stems are 28 gauge covered floral wire (I decided that is too thick) dipped in paint. I really like the iridescent green! A cooling rack ordinarily used for baking makes a great drying rack for the stamens; it is resting on two frying pans.