Tuesday, 25 January 2011

New Ideas

So on my way home from college on wednesday I was think of how I could update my idea, mixing the old and the new to create something modern. It struck me that often modern architecture is close to old buildings. I like the idea of the old and the new being meshed together to create something completely different.
For my final collection I want to take some of these ideas and try and apply them to my designs. Maybe through simple things like machine embriodery or use of modern materials on a vintage looking hat. My designs need to be up to date and not look like reproductions.
I do apologise for the poor quality of my photographs.........

Manchester Museum buildings. New and old squashed up right next to each other.
Two forms of modern architecture here, for some reason I prefer the 60s block to the modern tin can.
The industrial looking new part works really well to contrast the old.

This building sounds amazing I can't wait to see what it will look like finished. Although this doesn't match my idea, the concept sounds very exciting.

Friday, 21 January 2011

How do I make this modern?

So I need to make my idea more modern and not create hats that are exact replicas of 1950s ones. From my research I noticed that Louis Vuitton's collections have many fifties influences including the big skirts. These skirts are big full skirts, but instead of being cotton they are made from leather. I enjoy the contrast and twist which this gives a vintage looking item a breath of fresh air.
This is a good idea which was brought up in my group tutorial on Wednesday. Since then I have been thinking how I could take this further. I enjoy the contrast between new and old. Or even an abandoned block of 1970s flats that have been taken over by plants. Things being reclaimed by nature. But I think this is a whole new idea that I think could last me another year.
  • So back to Marilyn
  • Prints of modern buildings as the lining
  • Machine embroidered geometric shapes on felt
  • Unusual embelishments

Things to think about, I obviously want to keep the idea of feminity. I want these pieces to be delicate and beautiful. But still modern and new.

I best get snapping some buildings.

Doll x

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sinamay Brim

This is an example of a hand blocked sinamay brim.
To start creating your sinamay brim you need three layers of sinamay or four if you are creating a large brim. Make sure you cut the sinamay on the straight. If it's a simple you can iron the sinamay layers together, but for more difficult brims block each layer separately. When measuring the brim make sure you take the tape measure in side the brim. Pin the sinamay in North South East and West. Ease the bias round the sides. Leave two cms inside when cutting away the sinamay.
Fold over a small equal amount all around the edge of the brim (about 1/2cm) using the back of a spoon and put brim wire inside. Using a sewing machine zigzag(2mms) stitch all the way around the brim.
For me I think it would be expensive to purchase brim blocks, as I don't know whether I would ever use them. I would probably buy them ready blocked and explain to the customer that they are hand blocked but just not by me. Also I seem to have an allergy towards sinamay, it's not my favourite material.


Feather Flower

Feathers Galore

A Burnt Feather
By placing a turkey feather into either milton solution or diluted bleach for 10 seconds taking it out rinsing it and then sterilising it in lemon juice or vinegar you get the above effect.

Feather Pad

Vintage Feather Hat
This is an example of what you can create using feathers on a dior net base. I have used this technique before but on a hairband.

Curled Feathers

Feathers, beautiful and luxurious. We were given demonstrations on how to work with feathers. If you want to curl a quill, it's best to soak it in hot water first to soften it up. It is best to curl the quill with a wooden chopstick or knitting needle. Or once it has been soaked you could pin the feather to a table and mask/pin it into position.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


My Crin Wedding Hat

Although I couldn't make it to the crin workshop lesson, I still created my own crim piece at home. I was able to create a hat in a very short period of time. I enjoy its flexiability and its range of colours. It does have a plastic look about it, I think originally it was made from horse hair, but I don't think this is the case anymore.
This is a material that I will definately use again, I'm not sure whether I will use it for my final collection but I will use this in the future.

Musee du Chapeau Competition

During my 3 hr 40 minute journey to Cardiff at the weekend I used my time to get sketching. From my drawings at the Ballet Russe V&A exhibition, I have created some nomadic designs. With so much time on my hands I managed to draw rather alot, at some points I got a bit carried away. But I reminded myself that the competition requires that the piece is easy to wear and in the spirit of everyday or an event. I want mine to be snug and warm, a hat that will tame wild winds in a snow storm. Best get making asap!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

What to call Dolly Millinery's FINAL MAJOR collection?

Throughly Modern Marilyn?
What would Marilyn do?
A fizzy blonde.
The Wiggle.
*Something uplifting, femine, finished with a giggle.
Finish with a giggle?

Any suggestions welcome....................

I also have facebook on the case too.


Just while I remember to note down what was said. I don't like my large sketch book its pages are far too blank, white and daunting. I have put a few pictures and musing in there, but I just don't like the look of it. Althought I do have a collection of magazine images and postcards that I need to display somehow. So I discussed this with Sharon and she advised me to clip all the images together. I was thinking of mixing in some sketches aswell and notes etc.
Sharon suggested that I think of a name for my collection as we are doing a group tutorial next week. So I need more focus on where my project is heading.

Collection Names ...............................

Straw Braid

Initially I was very excited about this lesson. Straw is my favourite summer millinery fabric, me and sinamay don't get along, it brings me out in a rash. Straw braid looks rather beautiful and exciting to work with.
I spent along time creating a shape on a block by winding the straw round in a circle and pinning in place. The straw braid I used was the most flexiable as it was a plastic and straw mix. Stitching it together on the block was rather time consuming. It would take a long time to make a whole hat this way. I doubt I would use the process for my final collection. It took along time and the end result wasn't as good as I was expecting. The end piece looks more like a embelishment than something that could be a final headpiece.

Straw is still better than sinamay.

Wire Work

Let me think..........Plenty of milliners use wire to create hair bands instead of using bought ones, they can often be more dilicate and more interesting. You could make them a design piece all on their own. Or the wire can be used as the body of a headpiece. I created a hairband with ears which I am sure would look lovely covered in fabric and feathers. This is a good technique to learn, especially if you are struggling to work out how to keep your piece on someone's head.

Just Because Its Beautiful

Turbans and such lovely things they are too....

Are we seeing another push by the fashion industry to get people to wear turbans. A few years ago we were seeing turbans all over the catwalks, but the trend didn't catch on. Is the fashion world trying its luck again?

Maybe after the ballet russe exhibition a flame will be ignited. All of Poiret's beautiful turbans and costumes were very inspiring.

I watched a turban being created on a headstand and it looks like fiddly business but I like the end result. In 'How To Marry A Millionaire' Marilyn wears a head towel like a turban.....a key point on inspiration.

Fabric Manipulation & Silks

To start this off I blocked the little button block with a grey/black silk. To do this I blocked some buckram over the button block, once dry I spray mounted they silk onto the buckram easing the silk underneath. So it was very similar to the leather blocking process. And I am sure very similar to the fur blocking process which I am going to learn next week.
So back to silk, once it was all dry and lovely I started to think about embellishment. Initially I started making small squares of folded silk with frayed edges. But I didn't like the way they looked on the hat. It was decided that it needed a different fabric/texture. Sharon found some grey and black wool tweed fabric. From some of the techniques we were show I made some ruffles with the wool tweed. I will post some pictures soon and its hard to describe the effect.
Blocked silk hats, especially small ones are rather beautiful. I really enjoyed learning about a whole new aspect of hats. I am yet to design any of my final collection hats but I will definitely be using this technique again in the future.

Machine Embroidery and What I call wash-away.....

After having previously done machine embroidery in the past with the aid of a embroidery foot and a steady hand I thought I knew it all. But today I learnt something new, to use an embroidery hoop to hold your piece in place. Which I have never done before, and I learnt this technique originally from an embroidery graduate! As they say you learn something new everyday. So I used my new knowledge to create some lovely little label on petersham ribbon to stitch inside my hats.
The second technique we were shown was wash-away or I think its real name is aqua film or something along those lines. You place it in your embroidery hoop and get going on the machine making sure to catch all you stitches so it doesn't unravel. Once you have created your design wash away the plastic film and your left with just your pattern, which could be used as an embelishment.

Sunday, 9 January 2011


Earlier on in the year we did both screen and disperse dying. I haven't done disperse before but found the end results interesting, especially the ones that are raised when dry.
I have previously done screen printing before and each time the process seems to have got more h&s concious. I like the effects that you get from screen printing, but the time and effort that goes into it maybe too much. Maybe if I had a specific lining design that I would use for all my hats, but I can't see myself limiting my linings to one design.
When I have finished the course I wont have the access to dye or to the screens. I enjoy the process of dying, but I can't see that I would use the process for my hats. Unless I want a specific print on my lining for my final collection. Which if I did I would most probably use the digital print machine, which looks rather exciting. Although obviously I won't be able to use this process after finishing the course.


Something marilyn may wear after taking a bath.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Pop Up Shop Hats

Pop Up Shop Follow Up

Nothing had sold. I got rather upset and dejected by the whole affair. Thats probably the reason why its taken me so long to write anything else. But after a breather it was a learning curb and I think it was the wrong place to sell our hats. Onwards and upwards Dolly.