A Tiny Tri-corn and mixing beer with sewing…

My Tri-corn is finally done, complete with embroidered felt feather (forgive the picture.  I took it in a hurry first thing this morning.)DSCF8296

I finished sewing on the crown and added the hatband and feather at the October meeting of KnitSewManyThings. They are a knitting and sewing group that meet monthly in a Stoke Newington pub, and was founded by members of the Tower Theatre (which is how I found them.)

I have been a member of the Tower for a number of years although my involvement these days is mostly as an audience member, and when the Scotsman directs a show, a provider of:

  1. moral support,
  2. reading in and a listening ear at auditions
  3. sumptuous ‘get in’ lunches for cast and crew

In July there was an article in the Tower e newsletter and I went to the August Meet only to discover that they meet on a Wednesday – the same evening as the Millinery Class I had just signed up for… However I made it to the October meet as they had it late and so it coincided with my half term.

I miss the ‘sitting around a table working and chatting’ element of my embroidery class. (We don’t know each other well enough yet in Millinery to be idle chatters – plus we are constantly learning stuff.) I’m not convinced that a pub is the best of venues for craft – the lighting leaves a lot to be desired! It’s not too bad if you are knitting or crocheting, but threading a needle is a bit of a challenge!!

Very good beer though which is a nice extra…

Autumnal Embroidery

I was coming to the end of embroidering my hydrangea journal cover last month just before I went on holiday, and so I rushed together an appropriately autumnal design of acorns and oak leaves to take away using the lovely new silk chiffons I bought over the summer from Wolknoll. ( I am hoping that by the time the embroidery is finished no one will be able to see the strand of hair I caught between the backing and the chiffon when I was bondawebbing it on!! The perils of doing things at the last minute.) DSCF8262

It will become a protective outside cover which has elastic down the inside centre. Then I can slip sheets of folded cartridge paper in, scribble notes about a project while I am on the move, and remove them to somewhere more permanent if I want to keep them.

The Scotsman and I have a house currently covered in some rather spectacular scaffolding, and are waiting for the weather to stay dry enough for the roofers to take our roof off and replace it with a new one in Spanish slate. Feltmaking has been put on hold as my studio is in the roof and everything is packed away stacked up and covered in dustsheets. When the roof is completed it will no longer have a leak (hurrah), and the room will have gained more light as we are adding a new skylight. It also means we can decorate and add better storage…

In the meantime I have my millinery course and the embroidery to keep me ticking over as I doubt I could find anything in a hurry in there.

The F Word…..

I learned this week in my millinery class that there is one word that is definitely not to be used there – ‘fascinator’ otherwise known by our tutor as ‘The F word’…. !!

The subject came up as we are all currently making small constructed hats – the exercise is being used to teach us basic skills like wiring a brim or edging with petersham ribbon, but in a way that takes less time than making a full size hat.

Brim wire being attached with blanket stitch

Brim wire being attached with blanket stitch

We held the wire in place with masking tape and used a version of buttonhole stitch with an extra twist round the needle to attach the wiring.

I’ve shaped mine into a tricorn brim, although it won’t strictly speaking be a tricorn as it will have the wrong sort of crown.

Beginnings of a Tricorn

Beginnings of a Tricorn

The wire needs to be shaped before the petersham is added to the edge so am just beginning to sew it on with a stab stitch hence all the pins.  (I was packing up when I took this photo which is why the spare petersham is sitting in the middle.)  I think it’s going to look cute.  Much better than any old bit of feather, ribbon and wire, otherwise known as a fascinator!

Brim ready to sew on the petersham

Brim prepared ready to sew on the petersham

Milliner or Hatter….I’m not quite sure

I’ve started a Contemporary Millinery course at Morley College on Wednesday evenings, hoping to add finesse and finish to my hats. My felt making has definitely improved in technique over the past three or four years – but I thought it would be useful to learn some more about hat construction and finishing. I doubt I will ever be tempted into Couture levels of millinery. I’m more interested in the everyday hat, with a dose of historical and theatrical hat thrown in.

My tutor for the course is Karen Shannon – who has a background both in couture with Freddy Fox and Stephen Jones, and also for film and theatre.

I have singularly failed to take any photos in my first couple of classes. We are starting with felt which suits me although I have never worked with commercially made felt before. I guess the techniques will be translatable though once I’ve learned them – steaming, blocking, wiring a brim. We have each bought a ‘cone’ to make a small brimless blocked hat and a ‘flare’ to cut up and make a mini constructed hat (apparently you can’t buy commercial hat felt in flat pieces so you cut it up and steam it flat). Pictures soon when I remember to take my camera.

Karen currently has an exhibition at Craft Central in London for anyone who is interested. It runs till next weekend.