Ask the Milliner #3

“When do you sew?” 

I rather like this question. Part of the answer is ‘when ever I can’.

The reality is I try to squeeze an hour or two in each night after work and before making dinners and lunches. If I can get in two hours, this often means skipping the, um, cleaning of the house stuff. (Thank you to a friend who said “I can do one thing really well.” as this idea has kept me sane.) During February recess, Spring break and Thanksgiving, I try to sew as much as I can. I adopt a different sleeping schedule (often I feel better with this 9 am to midnight or 1 am schedule than I do with the 6 am to 9 pm schedule.) Summer is when I do the bulk of my sewing. I used to have an incredible summer history camp program that I miss a lot. Sadly, that is gone. Bad for kids. Good for clients. Now, I sew. If I do summer school, I drive into suburbia for the mornings, then sew from 1 or 2 pm until I fall asleep. I would like to spend more time sewing in the historic village this year.  I’ve found 10 or 12 hours is my wall.

“Why did you start making these to sell?” MaryAnne

I think this was something Dad urged me to do. I started with the research that became From Field to Fashion first. I made some bonnets for myself. Then we did a local workshop. I think it just tumbleweeded from there. When I look at photos from early on (we are talking the late 90s and early 2000), I think they were a decent start but…. (see next question)

“If you could go back to when you started and give yourself one piece of advice as you started millinery, what would it be?” MaryAnne

The first thing that came to mind was “spend more time with Dad”.

In terms of practical construction, I would say:

  • Start with smaller plait.
  • Save the fancy plaits because it is really hard to find more.
  • Learn to wire flowers early on. (sadly, in the first few bonnets I used glue on real flowers.)

“I am curious to how you would prefer your customers store and care for them?” Georgiana

I would love everyone to have enough space for each bonnet to have its own cloth head and box to go over it. Oh, wait, I would love me to have enough room for each bonnet to have its own cloth head and a box to go over it. wpid-2013-03-06-18.33.05.jpg

The reality is we all have space and budget issues. For at home storage, I would suggest a spacious tote/box with a support inside to hold the bonnet. There is a Sterilite tote currently made that nicely fits 2 bonnets standing up on cloth heads or hat stands. They can also fit 3 bonnets nested together if you have to. I suggest the head forms or stands because bavolets tend to crush and wrinkle horribly over time. Stands will help prevent that. Give these a try. Now that I think more about it, if I had more heads I would try to secure them to the bottom of the tote so they would shift when moved.

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Published in: on April 2, 2015 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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