I felt a little at sea a few weeks ago - not panicky, and not worried exactly, but just as though I wasn't as far along as I should have been. While I don't feel 100% caught up, I have made progress in the last couple of weeks.
(Of course, it didn't help that I got completely pre-occupied by a client (I'm self-employed) who is causing all sorts of fairly dire problems by trying to get out of paying my invoices, but that's an issue for another place (like the courts at this stage.) Sorry, as I said, pre-occupied and verging on digressive ranting!
Anyway, back to the point... At college last week (meaning the 30th Jan), after our computer class, I spent the afternoon variously photocopying and printing pictures for my sketchbook, and then messing about with some small offcuts of felt I took in with me.
The messing about that time involved applying various ideas to do with cutting and slashing that I've seen in my research....
The first one is the idea that's behind the first design I'm making - all to do with interweaving strips of material to make a new shape. For a while now, I've had a bit of a fascination for the idea of sheer brims, or brims that aren't solid.
This is the test sample (though it isn't going to look that much like that in the final hat).
The final hat brim is going to be much bigger (on a bigger block than that), and have much bigger gaps between the felt strips. I've now made a mock up of the brim in paper (I spent the afternoon this week at college mainly cutting and working the pattern out).
I'm not certain what I'm going to do as far as the crown is concerned. I have an idea to do with silk, and possibly embroidery, but I'm not certain.
The other tests I did last week are these:
Obviously, these are just very roughly cut - not measured in any way, just freehand, but I really like both effects. I currently have no idea at all how I'll use them (or even if - I may end up not using them and saving them as ideas for the future), but so far so good.
Two weeks ago at college, we had a lesson with Sue Carter on a technique involving using lots of panels to create interesting shapes.
I'll be honest. At first, I hated the idea of this. Loathed it. It reminded me of those paper baseball caps you used to get at air shows and motor shows in the 1980s. I.e. dreadful!! But through the whole of my millinery course, I've been trying to push myself to be open to everything, and to try everything, and take advantage of every workshop available. Throwing myself into it, in fact (even when it's not that easy (hello be-hated sinimay!!)).
So I gave it a go. The technique is one used by the Dutch milliner Eugenie van Oirschot. I've looked at her website since doing the workshop, and while much of her ready to wear is just not my thing, I absolutely love a lot of her couture hats. They are just incredible, and many of them are made using this technique. http://www.lunehats.nl/gallery.htm
Anyway, I did my measuring, and drew my doodle - I'd been looking at pictures of fossils, so I ended up with a very spirally shape (thanks ammonites!). I also decided to see what happened if I used more than the recommended 20 or so panels, so I cut 30. That was a hitch that meant I had to finish at home, because complicated shape + lots of panels = aaaaaaaaages to cut out!
This is what I ended up with (my paper mock up).
I really like it, and I think I'm going to use it in my collection (but laser cut). I don't think it's quite there yet, but it's getting there. (Which makes hat design number two.) I'm a definite convert to this way of making hats now. One of the things I love is the way you can press the middle of the crown down, and the whole thing moves, and changes in shape. Anyway, I'm thinking leather of some sort, though it will need to be a fairly stiff one to avoid being all floppy.
I also noticed when looking at Eugenie van Oirschot's site that she's made some of her versions of this style of hat from silk. Obviously, simpler styles, because of how they have to be sewn, but it's got my brain working. As I want to do some men's hats for my collection, I'm also thinking about the shapes for that (top hat, maybe???).
So, as far as I'm concerned, things progressing nicely.