The single most important factor in commissioning a hat, fascinator, crown, tiara or headpiece is time – six weeks is typical (I can occasionally work faster). Although I have many fabrics, trims and embellishments in stock, if what you want needs to be ordered it is likely to take longer.
Creating and making
Coming up with something unique and right for you, and for the occasion, is a very flexible process. You might be surprised by what you discover.
It starts with an appointment (allow an hour and a half) with me at my studio. Bring your outfit and your accessories (shoes, handbag, jewellery) so I can get the full picture. You will try on lots of styles to discover the shapes and sizes that really suit you. You might immediately find a style you absolutely love but clients often want a combination of several designs. After whittling the choice down to five or six, sometimes completely different from your original idea, you will then try on your outfit and that usually brings the choice down to two.
Next, we look at fabric and trims. Many trims come in different forms so it’s best not to rule anything out on instinct. Some clients have said “definitely no feathers” only to find a feathered hat they love.
Generally, the first thing clients decide on is colour. Surprisingly, it’s the last decision we’ll make. In the world of hats, fabric colours are determined internationally. Like many milliners, I buy stocks of colours but they do run out. I don’t die fabrics; the dying process is not stable enough to work well plus, if it rains, the colour will run and ruin not only the hat but also what you are wearing. If I can’t find an exact colour match, I will add something that ties the colours together without you feeling it’s a compromise.
My job is to make a hat or headpiece that brings out the best in you, looks perfect with your outfit, is exactly right for the occasion – and that you really want to wear.
Having your outfit made?
If you are having your outfit made and want the trim to match exactly, buy an extra metre of fabric as it has to be cut on the bias. Having said that, it’s not essential to include the same fabric; a contrasting trim usually works best.