Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Millinery: Bridal Headpiece

Occasionally the Houston Hat Net website will receive an email asking if one of us could make a hat. Now that Kate has blow off the continent, there are only three of us HHNers that would possibly be up to creating a chapeau, and usually we tend to pass on the request. People are picky. By the time you charge an amount of money that is fitting and appropriate for the amount of time that custom design and hand work takes, people then feel like they have the right to be demanding.

I understand.

I make hats for fun, not for a living. If I make a hat for someone for pay I try to make sure I know person well enough so that I won't have to deal with a headache causing customer. If someone wants to buy a hat I have already made, well, that's fine. I'll even make one for a friend or customer that I have made before in a different color or adding a slight change in details.

Designing something from scratch for someone you have never met? Ohhh, tricky for me! I create with a person in mind, considering their height, style and personality as I design.

One thing I have never created in the past is a bridal headpiece. Modern brides are notoriously demanding, and while many of my friends have threatened to kidnap me and haul me off to bridal shops to peddle my wares, I have so far been successful in dodging their schemes.

But...the other day an email came to the HHN site, and Marie, the HHN webmistress forwarded the request to me.

Was I interested in creating a bridal headpiece for a local bride?

It must have been fate: I said yes, and dialed up the most polite and charming bride I have EVER spoken to in my whole life. She called me Ma'm and sent me a picture of what she had in mind, adding that it just needed to be something like the one in the picture, but she was open to other ideas.

Did I mention this bride as an ATTORNEY???

Her voice mail began with a Scripture about how God give increase to His faithful people, without adding sorrow, and wished me a blessed day.

I truly have been blessed to work on her bridal headpiece which will go with a simple silk sundress style bridal gown.

I learned a lot on the way:

Make sure the veil is gathered evenly before adding anything on top of it.
Feathers are easier to glue than sew (I never use glue on any of my hats, but I will make an exception for flues and goose boits.)
Have velvet cording available for the trim around the bias of the base.

I still have to determine the best way to attach the piece to the bride: Comb, elastic strap, hat pin or bobby pins. (Update: I went with a comb. Thanks Julie for the advice! And also created a pearl, crystal and small blue crystal hat pin for the hat as well.)


Laura said...

WOW! I mean...WWWOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!! It is absolutely fantastically, incredibly, truly, and entirely fantastic!! Ok, so I rethink my stance on you making me a hat for my wedding. (If and whenever that could happen, but if I do ever have one, well, now you have it in writing :-) I'm impressed. I can't wait to see it tomorrow/.

Ladygrande said...

Jill, how gorgeous! The bride will be thrilled!

Kathy said...

Hi Jill, Well Scot & I are takng a quick evening trip to Lovella and Terry's holiday spot. She called this AM to bring along afew things to go with dinner. I know we all (except Scot) enjoy a fruit dessert, so I whipped up a platz- half blueberry and half apricot. I know Lovella will ask about blog news and so I will tell her about the bridal headpiece. What an honor for you. The bride will be delighted with the results I'm sure. Off for a fun filled evening. Kathy

Julie said...

That is simply beautiful, Jill!

I have made many, many bridal head pieces to match the wedding dresses I sewed, but most of them were the more traditional kind...

You did a great job! and I know the attorney bride will win her case! And no judgement filed against you!!

Sara said...

That really is a beautiful and stunning hat. You may become famous after this...better hold onto your hat(s), word will get around and you will be in demand. I'd love to see a photo of the hat on the bride with the dress.

Heather Outside Boston said...

You knocked the wind out of me with that gorgeous hat. I second the motion to get a picture of the bride in her dress and hat -- I'm sure she'll be thrilled.

Kate said...

It's absolutely lovely! Do get a picture of the bride in full dress if you can. I have made many bridal headpieces, always am promised a picture, almost never have receive one. Now that we all have digital cameras perhaps it will go better. Hope you charged for your time, Dear.
Kate Q:-)

Gin in the Library (don't tell) said...


Your hat is beautiful! I wish you'd been around when I got married, either time! I'd have worn one of yours. As it was, I went hatless. (I know I know. Not a good idea.)


Cristina said...

Jill, I really really love it!!! Hats off to you!... I would love to see the underside also, did you take a picture? How did you work it out?
You'll have a lot to teach me when you come visit to Barcelona!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Cristina~ I was going to take a picture of the underside, then didn't! I used two rows of velvet cording (one to cover the seam from the bias that I sewed on the top) and then a second row to cover the fabric to cover all the stitching on the buckram. If I was to do it again I would have just glued the bias down and then used one row of cording. Two did look nice and gave me a great place to stitch the comb onto. Whew.
All this learning by trial and error. We milliners must share, and thank heaven Julie was able to couch me that the comb teeth point to the back of the head.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Oh, and my favorite part was the stamen in the rose and the ostrige feather flues that drift around in any breeze. Magical touch!

Lovella said...

big sigh, lovely. just lovely.