The Hat Fairy & Live Virtual Workshops

Late at night when everyone else has gone to bed, I get into the hat zone.  I work until the wee hours and occasionally into the next morning. Recently this has been while having a great time learning from and teaching Live Virtual Millinery Workshop

When I get to a stage where I am tempted to start taking things apart and redoing the whole thing, that signals bed time.  I set down the scissors and back away. Ideally, I do a quick tidy of the work space and put the hat on a poupée, which doesn’t alway happen but is always appreciated by my future self when it does happen.


Then it is off to bed for a few hours of rest before the next day begins in earnest.

In the morning when I get up I say, “I wonder what the hat fairy brought last night.”  Making my way to my home studio, I look at my piece with fresh (overstatement) eyes.  There are three possible reactions.  

Reaction one, is joy and delight, it is beautiful and well worth the loss of sleep, maybe even a little pride in the thought “I made that.”  Which is followed by me wearing the hat around the house while still in my nightgown. I feel fired up and want to make another hat.  

Reaction two, the big let down of disappointment followed by why did I invest so much time into that awful looking thing. I should just throw it away. Followed by, I can’t throw it away that is wasteful and it may be a useful sample of a technique or I might  be able to fix it. The reality is there are so many unfinished hats and so many more yet to be created.

Reaction three, which is by far the most common one, which is in between the other two.  Pleasure with a tinge of disappointment. I like it in general but something isn’t right.  


The current problem by far is the multitude of unfinished hats.

The red Swirl Sinamay  and red Floating Quills just need the labels, the green Macintosh Rose need a lining and the label, the grey Kakadu Lily needs something in the centre, and the label, the white Veiling Brim with Crinoline Roses needs the trimming sewn down, the base attached and the label. The giant blue Silk Abaca Bow needs a whole hat to put it on, as do the Silk Abaca Lilies. 


These are only a few of the hats that I have made in the B Unique Millinery Virtual Live Workshops which started shortly after the Covid-19 Lockdown.  The workshops have been a safe haven of creativity and camaraderie.

Please keep in mind that these pieces do not reflect the skill of the tutor, only my interpretation during a 4 hour workshop.

Workshops 
Red Swirl Sinamay and Red Floating Quills with Rebecca Share
Grey Kakadu Lily with Sandy Aslett
Blue Silk Abaca Lilies with Tracey Wells
Blue & White Bows with Neil Grigg
Electric Violet Free Felt with Katherine Elizabeth
Veiling and Veiling brim with Jenny Roberts and
Crinoline with Alison Clark

Green Macintosh Rose by Me, Leanne Fredrick
Next workshop on 31 May/1 June 2020

Rolled Edges and Rouleaux by Me, Leanne Fredrick
next workshop 9/10 June 2020

There are more Virtual Live Workshops on the B Unique schedule. 

And Live Virtual Workshops with Me, Leanne Fredrick coming soon to Hattin’ Around.

p.s. Live Virtual workshops are working out really well.  Although nothing beats human connection,  there are some elements that make the Live Virtual workshops even better than in person.

  • Travel is cheaper  
  • Workspace is tailored to personal preference
  • A close up camera is great for small details  
  • Mute and unmute for noise control 
  • Step away without disturbing the rest of the class
  • and you still get to know others in the workshop

London Hat Week 2018 – That’s A Wrap

London Hat Walk crowd & Tower Bridge

London Hat Week 2018 – Thurs, 22 March – Wed, 28 March 2018 

I am still basking in the London Hat Week 2018 afterglow. I loved teaching the workshops, but they take loads of time to plan and prepare to a standard that I expect of myself and London venues are expensive, so in the final week before it all started I began to ask myself why I do this. However as I look back over the pictures and write this blog my mind is stirring with ideas and my heart is full with feelings of camaraderie and community. That is why I participate in LHW. I have written a brief summary of all the events and activities that I participated in.  I hope you enjoy my recap of Hattin’ Around at LHW2018.

Thursday, 22 March

I loved going to the Clotheworkers’ Centre to see hats from the V&A collection.  This was my 1st LHW activity and one of the many highlights.  I have been wanting to do this for years!  Huge thank you to Liz Waldy for coordinating this event.

Denise Innes-Spencer, Edwina Ibbotson, Dillon Wallwork, Vladimir Straticiuc, Ian Bennett & Victoria Carson

Launch Party – once I got past the ridiculous process of figuring out what I was going to wear… I even made myself a wardrobe planner this year, but didn’t get very far filling it in.  It was good fun saying hello to friends from the past. I also worked up the gumption to introduce myself to some new people.  The Fashion and Textile Museum had an interesting t-shirt exhibition on, which provided a good back drop to the event.  I loved Stephen Jones short talk to Kick Off LHW18. He always manages to offer new insight into the past & present fashion world. Highlights of the night was getting my make-up done by a make up artist sponsored by Judith M.  and talking with Jaycow  in the queue to get in.

Friday, 23 March

The Suffragettes: Millennial Rebels – A small exhibition by milliner Claire Strickland and photographer Nicolas Laborie. I love when people create small, unique experiences. It is one of the advantages of living in London. The exhibit was a curious mix of period and modern. To see the hats in life and then in wet plate photos helps to clarify how life of the past was not just black, white & shades of grey but in fact, even in London, full of color.  However the real highlight for me was to discover that the models for the exhibition were girls that my own daughters home schooled with for a year when we first arrived in London. It is a small city after all.

The Great Hat Exhibition had so many hats! It was too much to take in at the time. I took loads of photos and will go back to look at them after I finish this blog post.  There was an immense range of pieces covering a span of designs, materials, and craftsmanship skills. I have yet to fully digest all the pieces and select a few favorites. The highlight for me was running into Awon and to put together names, hats and faces of some of the milliners.

I dropped off my ha , “Celebration” at Edwina Ibbotson’s, A Muse For All Seasons Exhibition. I think my greatest regret of LHW18 was that I wasn’t able to get back  to see everyone’s hats on display together and say hello to old classmates and work experience people. I was finishing my workshop prep & packing for teaching.

Saturday, 24 March

The Market Place on Saturday turn out to be expensive. I bought a book and a bunch of felts. I enjoyed meeting author of Hats, Clair Hughes and had a nice chat with her while I got my book signed. I completely overspent at the Pjooil table, but the prices were great and the fur felt colors were lovely.  I dropped a few coins at Parkins then ran out of time and money.  Highlight was finding some more vintage hatpins at Buzz’s table, just before my Hatpin workshop on Monday.

Sunday, 25 March

The Hat Walk from Tate Modern along the Thames to City Hall by Tower Bridge was fun and thankfully the weather was good. My good friend and photographer, Anna Watson  came along to take photographs, so although we saw each other, we didn’t speak much as I fluttered about talking with hat people. There was a significant group of Red Hat ladies walking.  I enjoy seeing women smiling and having fun together.  The highlight was the feeling of camaraderie of walking together with everyone and meeting people from all over the world.

Market Place visit Part 2 – I literally sold the small hat case off my back! I had been doing a bit of Hattin’ Around Hat Case promotion by wearing the small hat case on the Hat Walk before going to the Market. I also picked up some pretty lace from The Trimming Company.

The Millinery Lesson film premier – In a very small theater, Marie O’Regan surrounded by family, friends and students watched a movie about herself. Filmed and produced by Mike Southon. The film had an original music score, was about an hour in length and a beautiful tribute to her. Highlight was feeling like a hero because I remembered the flowers that had been put in water in the back room, for Becky Weaver and Georgina Abbott (LHW Founders) to present to Marie after the Q&A with Marie & Mike.

Monday, 26 March

I hosted two workshops on Monday, a Hatpins workshop in the morning and  Petersham ribbon trims workshop in the afternoon.  The venue was between Vauxhall & Oval stations, the room was large, clean with a view of the London Eye. Highlight for me was meeting new students with a range of abilities and them leaving with pretty pins or ribbon nautilus & cockades and new skills.  A huge thank you to my assistants, Clare Spicer  and Sonia Freeman Birch.

 

An Evening of Royal Millinery a panel discussion at the Archer Street Bar was festive and educational.  The awkwardness of the launch party was over. It was a cool venue with the wait staff singing a song about every 15 minutes. Highlight for me was of course listening to Dillon Wallwork , Jess Collett  and Ian Bennet  be interviewed by Becky Weaver of Hatalk.  I must apologize to Dillon as it must have seemed like I was stalking him during LHW18. I had met him a few years ago at an event and approached him to talk several times, but didn’t remember to re-introduce myself until the panel discussion evening.

Tuesday, 27 March

I hosted an all day 1950’s style cocktail hat making workshop which introduced loads of techniques to the students. With a growth mindset and the learning that happens every time I teach a course, next time I will provide a kit of materials for purchase as well as a kit list. It was a lot to ask for the students to bring all the various bits needed. My highlight was to see the diversity of pieces they created with the same set of instructions and basically the same materials.  

Wednesday, 28 March

Milliners Roundtable Discussion was the final event for me. I have hosted/facilitated this free event at London Hat Week every year. The first year it was one hour squeezed within the lunch hour of another workshop, the second year it was 1.5 hrs. This year I expanded it to 2 hours and it still didn’t feel long enough and I had to cut off the conversation because we were out of time. There were six countries represented with ladies who have recently begun hat making to other who have been in millinery for 25 years.  The conversation ranged all over from suppliers & issues to pests & mold and how to get started in business.

Copyright Anna Watson 2018

To all of you who participated in London Hat Week 2018, Thank you for making it a wonderful experience. Until next time….

 

London Hat Week 2016 Wrap Up

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Leanne with Stephen Jones.

London Hat Week 2016 (LHW2016) was a success! My workshops were well attended with good reviews.  I packed in as many event as possible and loved the variety. Everything from the Hat Walk with Laird Hatters, Champagne High Tea at the Villandry, The Hilary Alexander and Stephen Jones interview at the Dirty Martini, Hat Exhibition at Coventry University in London and movie night at The Cinema Museum to watch the documentary, Mad about Hats. Here is my summary of the week. Note: the following video sometimes loads slowly.

London Hat Walk and Interviews from Phase 7 on Vimeo.

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Impromptu photoshoot with dapper fellows from Laird Hatters
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Milliner from Netherlands and Ana Pribylova from UK/Australia

Hat Walk with year was a little different than the last couple and I’d say very successful. Laird Hatters sponsored the event and we were treated to a spot of tea and cake at The Espresso Room to start our journey at their New Row shop and a reward for finishing at their shop on The Strand with a lovely chocolate and a little tipple. The walk route was good fun featuring a leisurely stroll to Trafalgar square, where we stopped to take photos, chat and regroup, then continued on to the end point. I met several fabulous women from the Red Hat Bees of Bardwell, a woman from Scotland, as well as the Netherlands and Spain.

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Delightful Milliner from Scotland
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Avid hat wearer and photographer

There was also an Interview of Georgina Abbott and Becky Weaver, Founders of London Hat Week.

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Hilary Alexander and Stephen Jones interview each other at the Dirty Martini in London, Oct 2016

The Stephen Jones interview by Hilary Alexander was absolutely charming. The two had a lovely chemistry that comes from years of working in the fashion industry where they were familiar with the same people over many decades. The venue, Dirty Martini was fun and interesting but ill suited for this event. Many of he attendees I have met over the years. It felt like a fun reunion.

 

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Guy Morse-Brown Hat Blocks at the LHW Market

The Market Place venue had amazing murals and architecture, but I stayed focused and true to my mission to explore the millinery supplies. 😉  I alway love a chat with Catherine and Owen of Guy Morse Brown.

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Masario at the LHW Market

I bought a few bits from Masario and some felts and Petersham from Parkins.

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My pretty new orange felt hood and matching Petersham from Parkin at the LHW Market
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Who knew you could get Ostrich leg leather at Walter Reginald at the LHW Market.

I am looking forward to heading over the East London to visit the ladies at Walter Reginald, leather specialist. They were fantastically helpful and educational. Who knew there is Ostrich leg leather. I am also wanting to try out fish leather. I touched it for the first time, and was surprised at how “leathery” it felt.

Hattin’ Around Classes and Milliner’s Roundtable at London Hat Week 2016

@Mrs_Gaskett picture on instagram of nautilus she made in class.

My first cockade workshop with #hattinaround great session #LHW

A photo posted by mrs_gaskett (@mrs_gaskett) on

A Study of Peaks workshop covered a lot of tips and techniques on materials and shapes.

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Milliners Ribbon – Petersham workshop, learning about basic things, how to make a head fitting and shrinkage to advanced trimmings such as Cockades and the Nautilus. I also demonstrated how to do some vintage trimming from hats in the V&A Museum of Childhood collection.

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The students were a delight. I had people from all over the world with varying levels of interest from ladies who have been in the millinery business for 20 years, to others who enjoy it as a hobby. I received great reviews and everyone said they learned something new.

A big huge thank you to Baxter Hart and Abraham for their generosity of ribbon and information about Petersham. Go see them for supplies, they are in Luton and have always been wonderful to me. The best part is they are patient with new milliners.

Milliner’s Roundtable

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There were lots of good tips from the Milliner’s Roundtable.  A mix of milliners  from Australia, France and a strong showing from the UK crowd.  Several ladies from the South London as well as two who are near the same village in southern England, who knew of each other but had never met. Here are some ideas to help build awareness and a following that I really appreciated:

  • Giving talks at a local venue about hats or hat making?
  • Doing a charity fundraiser that features your hats, like a ladies tea with hats being modeled?
  • Approaching an empty shop owner who might appreciate an attractive window display while waiting for a new tenant.

Champagne High Tea at the Villandry was fun, but perhaps a poor choice of events to attend, as I had cut out refined sugar and alcohol from my diet. I have been to better venues for High Tea in London, but I always like trying some place new. The best part was getting to chat with charming people from the UK and Europe. We even swapped photos of hats we liked at the exhibition.

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Movie Night at The Cinema Museum, the Museum is in the Victorian magnificence of the old Lambeth Workhouse, where Charlie Chaplin spent time as a child, in Kennington.  It isn’t the easiest of places to find but it is a treasure.  I joined other milliners to see an informative and interesting movie about the making of fur felt, the plight of the beaver and the impact of mercury used in hat making. Mad about Hats was a labour of love for director Olivier Vandersleyen and his family. Here is the Mad about Hats trailer.

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I am seated in the grey fedora, next to the sign. The director and his wife are standing behind the sign, hatless.

Hat Exhibition at Coventry University, London was a sight to behold. Hats from around the world in many ways. I posted several pictures on my Facebook page.

So much of millinery and hatting is done in isolation, at least for me. Late evenings or while my children are at school. London Hat Week is an opportunity to connect with people of similar interest from all over the world.  Thank you Becky Weaver of HATalk and Georgina Abbott of Atelier Millinery for creating this wonderful event.  I look forward to more at the next London Hat Week is planned for Spring 2018, dates TBD.

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Leanne at London Hat Walk

London Hat Week
6-12 October 2016

London Hat Week Logo
Registration for London Hat Week Opens on 20 May 2016! Milliners, Hatters and Headwear enthusiasts 6 thru 12th of October 2016 is a great time to be in London. There will be many workshops and events for you to learn new skills, meet master milliners, and talk with like minded people.

If you want to see the master schedule of all the things going on for LHW2016, go to London Hat Week..

If you want to see more about the workshops I am hosting and sign up for them, go to Workshop & Events Page.

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Petersham workshop image
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Milliner's Roundtable Items

I have enjoyed participating in this event for the last couple of years and each one gets better. Last year I hosted the Milliner’s Question Time and a Milliner’s Roundtable Discussion. Both event were very well received and fun to host. At the end of the week I was knackered while being creatively and emotionally energized!

This year I am again hosting the Milliner’s Roundtable Discussion as well as expanding my offering to include some practical hands on millinery skills in A Study of Peaks and The Milliner’s Ribbon – Petersham. In an effort to keep some balance and since many of us creative/maker types find pricing our products difficult, I thought a course on a Pricing Spreadsheet and Other Useful Tools would be helpful. I love spreadsheets and worked for many years in technical support, training and marketing for spreadsheets.

You may have noticed that there currently isn’t a Milliner’s Question Time (MQT) listed. This may change, however in the meantime, I will work on posting last year’s MQT 2015 podcast with Edwina Ibbotson, Rachel Trevor Morgan and Noel Stewart.

I love the attitude of mutual learning and sharing of ideas that is found during London Hat Week and would love to meet and share ideas about millinery, technology and business with you.

and remember… interesting people wear hats.

Petershams
at Elephant and Castle

Hurray a new millinery supply place in town that is close to me. This could be dangerous.

Back in October, I rode my bike over on a Tuesday and was greeted by the owner Michelle.  Petershams.com has been around awhile online, but has just opened a physical shop at  The Art Works Elephant which is around the corner from the Elephant and Castle tube station in London at Elephant Road & Walworth Road. Look for the orange door inside the courtyard.

Petershams at Art Works Elephant
Petershams look for the orange door

Petershams has a lovely selection of sinamay and feathers.

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Sinamy and feathers

Shelves of basic hat bodies, combs, headbands, veiling, etc.

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Miscellaneous Millinery Supplies

And a few skeins of strip straw. This red was so amazingly vibrant. I was very tempted, but I already had a table full of feathers, sinamay, and tubular crin.

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A few skeins of strip straw

Let us not forget the petersham ribbon.

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A variety of petersham ribbon

The shop is small and does not have every size of every colour, of every item, but it probably does have something that will work. And if you are in need of ideas, she has a box of vintage hats under the cutting table that are good fun to look at and try on. I thought these two were fun. The red straw with strawberries and the little beehive of tiny blue tubular crin.

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tiny tublecrin vintage hat petershams vintage hats under the cutting table

Michelle is also from California. How many people do you think are from California, living in London and making hats? More than two?

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Here is Michelle Osborne the owner of Petershams.com

And if all of this is not enough, Michelle has a new puppy, that can be found in the back workroom. I am sorry that I didn’t get a photo of puppy cuteness.