I would love to take a millinery course, partly because making hats seems interesting and partly because I love hats and wish they would come back into fashion. The appeal of a formal course is due to the fact that I find millinery a little intimidating; it uses such different tools and techniques from anything I've worked with before. While I'm still waiting to take my formal course, I do have a less intimidating method for making hats in the meantime: sewing.
I recently picked up the book Hat Shop, which contains 25 patterns for making hats. Most all of the hats can be constructed with a sewing machine, though one hat requires blocking and traditional hat making materials. The patterns themselves range from classic sunhats and baseball caps to cute kid's hats (there's a chicken hat!) and fascinators; there are also several great hat patterns for men. I definitely see myself making lots of different hats from this book.
While I love the range of hats in this book, I do have a couple issues with the book's format. The book is obviously a compilation of patterns from many different designers and I wish there had been a little more editing done to the individual patterns. There's very little consistency between patterns on things like seam allowances and the some of the photographs that accompany the instructions are downright terrible. So while the final stylized photos of each hat are adorable, I'm going to proceed with a little caution when it comes to the instructions in this book.
I have already made one pattern from the book, The Classic Sun Hat; this is the project I was working on in my last blog post. The hat came together fairly easily and quickly, but I’m not super happy with the results. The brim is much too deep, which obstructs my vision, and the circumference of the inner brim is too small both to fit the cap portion of the hat and my head. I’ll definitely be tweaking this pattern before I make this hat again with my second set of fabric.
See what I mean about the brim? I don’t want to say that I’m disappointed by this hat, but rather that it will fit me better (both in dimensions and in style) after a little pattern editing. I'm hoping that the other patterns in the book turn out better than this one because I am very excited to start making hats!