These little cocktail hats are perfect for wearing with victory rolls!
I was recently invited to Eindhoven in the Netherlands to run a workshop in a vintage ribbon-pleating technique. I had a fantastic time and was offered such generous hospitality. The trip came about as a result of my Mobile Makery Tour of Europe in the summer. You may remember that I took part in a hat festival in Caussade in France (see earlier entry) - and it was there that I met my Dutch millinery friends. They were keen to learn some of the methods I outline in my book The Modern Girl's Guide to Hatmaking - and this resulted in my trip to Eindhoven. Whilst there, I came across a fantastic supplier of vintage millinery materials. I bought some gorgeous strip straw and decided to use it to cover one of my handmade wire frames.
I make the frames by hand, using very strong millinery wire - the idea is to form similar shapes to the small perching hats that were so popular in the 1950's, but without using a block. I then bind the wire with tulle and stitch a tulle cover on top, stretching the tulle so it's nice and taut. Once the tulle cover is in place, you can trim it it with whatever you wish.
The first task is to bind the outer edge of the frame. I find that softening the straw with hot water really helps as it needs to be very malleable to do this. Once the edge is covered you can then sew the strip in one continuous piece to the rest of the base - taking care to hide your stitches in the straw so they're not visible on the right side of the hat.
The technique is very satisfying and makes a really light hat that can be trimmed in many ways. Use steam to lightly block the shape once finished. The trick lies in constructing a good initial base that will 'self-grip' to the head. Perfect to wear with complicated hairstyles like victory rolls!