• No Hats in the House!??

    Apparently our House of Representatives has had a law against Representatives wearing hats in the Senate. This is a problem for the Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson who claims to own over 300 hats and wants to see the law repealed.

    Rep. Frederica Wilson, (c) Steve Cannon/AP

    The chamber's hat ban "dates back to when men wore hats" Wilson explained, "and we know that men don't wear hats indoors, but women wear hats indoors. Hats are what I wear. People get excited when they see the hats. Once you get accustomed to it, it's just me. Some people wear wigs, or high-heel shoes or big earrings or pins. This is just me."

    I hope she wins!

    Quote taken from article on Yahoo News by Holly Bailey
    (Photo of Wilson by Steve Cannon/AP)

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  • Straw Boater made with Goodwill Scraps!

    I met a very cool chick named Jessica when my friend Colleen and I were digging through California Millinery in downtown Los Angeles one day. Jessica is new to millinery so I invited her to take classes with me from Jill Pfieffer - an awesome millinery teach here in LA. Here is Jessica in a she made without any instruction!

    Jessica took a vintage hood, folded it then added flowers and a ribbon

    Jessica decided she wanted to make a black straw boater. So Jill showed her how to begin by building a crown and brim out of buckram. Jessica used black buckram but that wasn't actually necessary since the frame will be covered with the straw braid.

    This is the brim. Note the double wide bias tape around the edge.

    Once she had the crown built and the brim cut and trimmed in bias tape, Jill instructed her in how to take the straw braid and glue it inch by inch onto the buckram frame.

    As you glue a section down you can use clothes pins to hold the braid in place.
    So two important materials were used by Jessica in this hat. The first one is the glue Fabritac - which is considered milliner's glue. I recommend you buy it in the smaller bottles because the larger ones lose their caps and it's pretty expensive stuff to have dry out.

    The second thing she used was recovered/recycled straw braid. I don't know if she found a black straw hat she took apart but remember there are purses and even table placemats made from straw braid that you could repurpose into your project!

    I'll post more pics if Jessica let's me photograph the finished product.

    Let me know if you have found anything cool to re-use? I always look at old straw hats in the Goodwill because you never know when you might find quality straw that can be re-blocked into a new life!

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  • How to Swirl - millinery tips & tricks

    My good friend and teacher Montez taught me something last week that I just have to shout about - swirling! Actually, the way she put it to me was "You don't know swirling?! That's millinery 101!!!" 

    Swirling is a trick that you do with a headband. Now, if you don't know exactly what a head band is it's the ribbon/elastic/leather inside your hat that touches your head. When using ribbon there is often a pooch that occurs - especially if the hat is an unusual shape. Here's some examples of bumpy headbands.
    Bumpy Headbands

    Bumpy Headband

    To swirl you place your ribbon on an ironing board and place the hot iron along the edge of ribbon and pull the ribbon in a semi-circle. This will place a curve to one side of the ribbon.
     Once you get the curve into the ribbon you place the curved side closest to the brim before you begin so sew and voila! - you'll have a flat headband that fits perfectly!

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  • Millinery Guild of Southern California presents LA Fashion Week show!

    Millinery Lovers in California good news! The Millinery Guild is having a show in LA's Fashion Week. Guild Member Mondo Guerra from Project Runway will be headlining a list of exciting designers and a special tribute is planned for Eloise King! Here's the basic info if you want to join the fun!

                                When: October 15th, 7:00 PM
                               Where: Millennium Biltmore Hotel
                                          506 S. Grand Ave.
                                          Los Angeles, CA 90071
                                  Cost: Free but reservations required 
                              Parking: $20 valet at the hotel
                                          $6.50 at Pershing Square 
                           More Info: Millinery Guild of Southern California 

    Crystal Room at Millennium Biltmore Hotel

    Logo design by Davina Chatkeon

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  • County Fair, new Etsy Stores and an upcoming Announcement!

    First, I want to brag about my friend Colleen Stanton who is an award winning hat designer! She won 3 ribbons at the LA County Fair in their Project Hataway competition! Check out these awesome pictures of her work!
    First and Second Place!

    Also, I have finally opened a couple of Etsy stores you can check out.

    RedNoseRabbit on Etsy
    My Lucky Cap on Etsy

    Next week I should have some news about a millinery fashion show in LA as part of LA Fashion Week! Admission is free and I'll have info on how to get reservations!

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  • Before and After - Upcycling a Goodwill Hat


    I started with what was probably a velour cap. It was a little dirty so I decided I wanted to wash it before blocking.

    I washed the hat in the sink with hot water and a little dish washing soap. I then placed the hat on a hat block I carved our of styrofoam.

    *tip: you can carve shapes out of styrofoam and then cover them with a plaster & gauze product called Rigid wrap. Once this dries you then also cover the block with plastic wrap so your hat material stays clean while drying.

    Hat Block
    Blocking the hat

    After the velour was wet I placed it on the hat block and tied down the end with a small rope or shoestring. I also used large tacks to keep the rope in place and added a hair band around the top to encourage the material to take that shape. You then use your hands to press the fabric into shape. If there is wool in the fabric it will begin to shrink onto your hat block.

    *tip: If you have trouble shaping the fabric you can use a hot iron with steam to apply more heat and hand press into the shape you desire.

    Ironing and steaming the edge
    my desired edge

    To complete the shape I ironed along the edge of the hat where I had tied the rope to turn under. I then sewed the edge down and trimmed the extra material. This gave me a basic shape to trim.

    Sewing the edge
    To trim the hat I used a brown velvet ribbon to cover the edge of the hat and then curled, glued and sewed feathers wrapped in the same ribbon.

    *tip: Curling feathers is super easy. You just use a curling iron to either 1) grab the end and curl in for smaller, or 2) place the iron in spots along the feather to make a larger curl.

    *tip: Feather tips should always be covered. You can use ribbon or paint them, of you like.

    If you have trouble finding feathers you like I have a great secret for you! Most sporting good stores that sell fishing supplies usually have some awesome, unusual feathers at low prices. Check it out!

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  • Hat Lovers - Don't Miss Project Runway Guest Philip Treacy

    My Friends!

    Don't miss guest designer Philip Treacy on this week's episode of Project Runway. One of the Millinery Guild of Souther California's members - Mondo - will be competing along with the other designers. I would love to hear back from anyone about which designer they like best! 

    xoxox RedNosed Rabbit

    Philip Treacy with one of his creations

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  • Top 10 Hats Every Cool Chick Should Own

    Hat Lovers, we live in hard times. For years I have been collecting hats but rarely wearing them out. As my friend Lynn likes to say "...and where do you plan to wear that?!" Well, I hate to admit it but while I love beautiful things like sparkly rings, gorgeous scarves and amazing hats I hardly ever wear them. But I think we all should look at making a change where hats are concerned!

    All cool chicks need some basic hats in their arsenal to express their style and draw attention to their magnificence! I have a made a list for you to consider in regards to your own wardrobe.

    Notice I didn't call this a "tea party" hat. (Damn those people for stealing that phrase!) Everyone should have some decadent hat to wear to tea. These fancy hats are usually made of felt or straw (sinamay) and covered in flowers. But, when choosing your tea hat, you should find one with a bit of whimsy. Here are some examples I like.

    The Queen rockin' it in a trench and a Rachel Trevor-Morgan hat!

    Beautiful Louise Green hat

    This is a hat that needs to be functional and stylish. For me that means I want my ears to stay warm and my hair to stay dry. How you do that is a matter of taste!

    Snowfall from Lock & Co.

    Like the winter hat, the summer hat should also provide some protection. For me that means I want my face, shoulders and neck out of the sun! This does allow for some mystery, if you like. By hiding your face you also draw attention to yourself. See the floppy hippy below!

    Juicy Couture
    4) CLOCHE
    Okay, you've just got to have a cloche! It's so nice to wear one when you want to stand out in a crowd. Also the shape is good for all seasons of the year. The definition of cloche is "A close-fitting woman's hat with a bell-like shape." Cloche in French literally means bell. But you'll see from the examples that similar hats without the bell shape are considered cloches, as well.

    Louise Brooks in 1927 wearing a cloche hatImage via Wikipedia

    Marc Jacobs Fall 2010
    Etsy seller, Liza Rietz

    5)  BERET
    Well, I love France so it follows that I would love berets. But have you noticed how some can look very Scottish? Actually the Basque are credited with originating the look but I think the fact that they travel so easily made them good for the military, as well. However you like to sport the look they are a great go to hat for cold weather or bad hair days.

    Beautiful Louise Green Beret

    Slouchy is big with the kids

    If you want to grab attention without yelling or having a wardrobe malfunction then wear a fascinator! The fascinator I believe is anything from a gorgeous hairclip to a headband to a cocktail hat. And they range from small & tasteful to large and shiny! Here are some great examples of the latter.

    SJP in a Philip Treacy

    Etsy Seller JanineBasil


    Celebs love the floppy hat! Just yesterday Hat Life ran a short article about all the celebs hiding behind their hats including Chelsea Clinton on the way to her wedding. Like fascinators they draw attention but by hiding your face instead of highlighting it!

    Classic Bridgit Bardot
    Vanessa Hudgins & her floppy hat

    8) FEDORA
    I am not crazy about fedoras but fedoras won't care - because everyone else is crazy about them. They are the hipster craze and look great on men & women, young & old. Plus, Mad Men's style hasn't hurt with bringing back the look. My favorite is on the head of my teenage crush -- Indiana Jones!
    The jaunty fedora


    Harrison Ford and the manly fedora
    I hate to admit it but this is probably the type of hat I wear the most. While many people prefer baseball caps because it allows them to show their team spirit I turn to this hat wear on sunny days when my hair needs to be hidden or I am painting a room. I notice a lot of them in the Goodwill bins and there's a variety of messages being displayed - you just have to pick what you want to say!

    Jennifer Aniston

    10) CROWN
    Don't you think everyone deserves a crown? It reminds you that you are the ruler of your domain! And, as they say in the movie The Little Princess - all girls are princesses. I think we should go home every night and spend the final hours of the day sporting a crown to remind us of our royal nature!

    Princess Diana
    Swedish Crown Princess Victoria
    Etsy RoseoftheMire's Grecian Goddess Crown

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  • Upcyclying! Or how to build hats with Goodwill supplies!

    This was a church lady hat!!!
    I remember the days when I would go into a thrift shop and see tons of mashed up old lady hats! I never had any idea what a wealth of material they were until now. So, of course, now old felt hats are really hard to find. But there are plenty of small, shapeless felt hats made in China with almost no shape which is fine. They sell for around $3.99 and can be re-blocked into cocktail hats or rebuilt into something with shape and style.

    This was a small round hat that read "China" on the label.

    This crazy hat was already an amazing felt piece but it had no shape. I blocked it on a bucket shaped block and extended the brim with purple felt I removed from the next hat pictured.

    See! No brim!

    BEFORE: These are the next two hats I will re-block soon. When I get them into shape I'll post the AFTER pictures.

    This was a dirty cowboy hat.
    This was an old man's hat!
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  • More Beginner Hats

    I'm in love with this shape. I took a felt blocking class with a teacher who offered her blocks for use and I was suprised to find out that 1) you can block on paper mache and 2) I really love this shape!

    I wish I could figure out an easy way to copy this block. I have tried carving the shape in foam and then covering with a plaster wrap but I have to say my skills are not up to the task. My next plan is to take this hat, measure the shape and then hire a wood carver to make a copy. I'll post that when the block is done!

    The felt for this hat came from Leko hats. It's a herringbone print and I love it! Look how nicely the circle worked around the top of the hat!

    The thing I like the best is that this hat reminds me of a hat Rosalind Russell wore in "His Girl Friday." Well, not exactly, but close enough for me.

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