Monday, 6 August 2012

A hat is an accent. It can set a mood. It can tell the world you are witty or romantic, timid or daring

Again, sorry for the lack of posting - but I have now moved into my new house and have the internet back (yay!) so I'll be able to post much more often.

Recently, I have become very interested in hats – especially from the ‘40s and ‘50s.  I’m not sure if everyone has found this, but it’s quite difficult to find nice hats in a good condition, that don’t cost the earth.  This Shop Rocks on Brick Lane has possibly one of the best selections of hats I’ve ever seen, but with the majority of my favourites being well over £100, they’re a little out of my price range.  This scarcity of hats that I could afford (and didn’t look like someone had just sat on them) led me to try and create some of my own.

Now, as I didn’t know any of the techniques or have any of the materials necessary to become the next Stephen Jones, I opted for cutting up old hats and making pretty new ones.  Here are a couple of those ‘upcycled’ (if you’ll excuse the phrase) hats and what they originally looked like.

I had to be told how to smoke in the photo of me - I was just worried about my
CC41 gloves catching fire! - taken by Russ Bell for The Chap magazine

After my fairly reckless quitting-my-normal-job-in-a-shop-so-I-can-work-for-the-Vintage-News-properly episode, I had a couple of days a week ‘spare’ as it were.  When I saw a tweet about a millinery internship, I decided that was how I wanted to spend those extra days.  The only trouble was that firstly, I have no millinery training and secondly, the internship was in London!  I didn’t let that deter me and so I headed to Battersea for my first day.

The internship is with Bundle MacLaren (who is absolutely lovely) and it's all very relaxed, just stitching away in her front room, with ladies popping in to pick up their bespoke creations.  Everyday I’ve been given something new to do – I’ve learnt so much!  So far I’ve made silk orchids, covered blocked bases in lace and silk, as well as preparing and mounting peacock swords.  One of the peacock sword hats that I made ended up on the Vogue website in their coverage of Ascot! 

 I’m taking a break for a few weeks what with the Olympics and Bundle being on holiday, but here are a few of the hats I’ve made over the past few sessions.
Oh, and the title of this post is a quote from Lilly Daché, one of my favourite milliners of the first half of the 20th century.


  1. Oh my God I had no idea you could make hats!! Genius!

    I love all of them,but I have to admit, I kinda prefer the upcycled ones, such an original idea, I might have to give it a go myself! Could you post up a mini tutorial one day maybe?

    Although after second inspections...I would kill for the leopard print one, the royal blue with the single feather, and that red too! When are you going back?


    1. Thank you very much Em, that's very lovely to hear that you like them. I agree, I personally prefer the upcycled ones (but I did make them for me so that is understandable!)
      I was planning on doing a tutorial, I might even film it for work but there are a few more tutorials in the can to come out before then...
      As for the others, have a look at Bundle's website, there are some really lovely hats, and you never know, it might be made by me!
      I've started back now, in Bundle's brand new studio - it's amazing, I'll probably post some pictures on here or instagram soon.
      Sadie x