My hair is short/fine. How can I ensure a piece stays on?
There are various ways to get around this. First, is to discuss which attachment is going to hold best (headband, combs, elastic or a combination).
You can then discreetly use grips to further secure the piece, or carefully attach grips in your hair for the headpiece to grip on to. Hairspray can also make hair a little firmer and make it easier for the attachment to hold onto, as well as making hair less slippy. A little backcombing can also offer a little more grip.
How do your pieces stay on?
Dependent on the scale of the piece, the attachments used are crocodile clips, combs, elastic and headbands. In some cases, it pays to use a combination of attachments to support the piece or because such a combination works better with your hairtype.
How can I buy a piece of your headwear?
I don’t have currently sell online and so you would need to contact me through the enquiry form or call me to order a piece. Where possible, I encourage clients to visit me at the studio to try pieces on. I do also show at some events and you can check the News section for details.
How long does it take to have a bespoke piece made?
I ask for a minimum of 6 weeks notice. If you know in advance what you are looking for, it is always ideal to contact me sooner rather than later. If you find yourself running short on time, it is always worth contacting me to see if I have any availability to squeeze you in. A milliners calendar can vary hugely at different points through the year.
What size do I need for the races?
It depends on which races you’re going to. Below is the expected dress code at Ascot. However, check individual race course dress codes; many are more relaxed about the details of hat size but do encourage visitors to indulge in dressing up.
In the Royal Enclosure – a hat should be worn. However, it is also acceptable to wear a head piece with a base starting form 4 inches/10 cm in diameter.
If you have Grandstand Admission, you can wear the same as those in the Royal Enclosure though any scale hat or fascinator is acceptable. You must keep it on at all times.
In the Silver Ring and Heath Enclosure there is no formal dress code but you are encouraged to dress smartly.
Hats don’t suit me – but I need something in my hair. What can I wear?
I’ve rarely met a lady that doesn’t suit a hat or headpiece and I enjoy showing ladies that there are options out there. Whether you choose my hats or not, there is a hat/headpiece for you. It just might not be quite what you expected – they do not need to brimmed or trimmed with feathers.
Most of my pieces are relatively small and versatile. If you are willing to give a few different styles a go, I am almost certain, there is something you could genuinely feel at ease in. I come from a non-hat wearing background and was very uncomfortable in hats as I knew them. However, the more free-form floral pieces that I make are my answer to wearing a headpiece. They can be quite subtle and classy, yet have a distinct character about them. My small silk buttons, also offer non-hat wearers a very easy to wear option. They can complete an outfit beautifully without you feeling like you have a saucer floating overhead. I have fallen in love with these shapes as I see how many women are able to wear them so elegantly, regardless of age or style. The floral trim is the key to making it right for you as it dictates where a piece sits your head. I would encourage any woman to try on a range of headpieces. Visit a local milliner, have fun exploring the options with them and then department stores are a good place to quietly slip a piece on, though perhaps that’s why you’ve never suited a piece because the High Street options are a little more generic and you’re not a generic being!
Where are you based?
I’m based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire where I share a space at Hangingwater Studio, Nether Green.
Do you run workshops?
I am running workshops and you will need to check my News section or Facebook and Twitter to know what’s coming up. I also do workshops for hen parties which can be tailored to your needs. You would need to contact me directly to discuss your hen do requirements.
How do you make your headpieces?
It is a long process, starting with forming the shape on a wooden block. From the initial blocking, a headpiece is then stiffened, layered with domette or ice wool ( almost like a thin wadding), tacked with the final fabric, wired, then painstakingly the tacked fabric is sewn in -taking in all the excess fabric with invisible stitches approximately 1 mm apart. This can sometimes need doing twice. It is time consuming and requires my little fingers to become gymnasts and it can be a bit of an endurance test for them. It is then down to the final details of trimming, adding a headband on the inner rim, a lining, head attachments and last but not least a label.
How long does it take to make a piece?
A small hat or percher can take anywhere between 8 and 15 hours. If it is a floral ‘fascinator’, it generally takes between 4 – 8 hours. It is completely dependent on scale and intricacy. This doesn’t include design time. As you can see from above, there are a lot of stages and everything is hand sewn. I am also very particular about how beautifully it is done. There is a lot of time put into these little collections of fabric flora and fauna.
How do I look after a headpiece?
These pieces are made with lots of love and attention and they should be looked after carefully if you intend to wear it again.
- Always keep it boxed and supported with tissue paper
- Avoid getting it wet to avoid shape loss and water stains
- Treat gently. They look more delicate than they are but all hats love a tender touch rather than the heavy handed approach
- If it needs a little dusting, a clean toothbrush is the perfect size for removal of foreign bodies
On the other hand, you may not intend to wear it again but simply choose to show it as a display piece, as I have done with my Bird in Berries wedding piece. It will look beautiful but the toothbrush will be needed here!
Can you colour match with my outfit?
I do not dye my own fabrics but can generally find a near perfect, if not perfect match, for your outfit. I use a range of fabric suppliers and with a little time and effort am usually able to colour match.
When and where do you wear your pieces?
I’ve been asked this question so many times – perhaps because some pieces are a little alternative. However, you wear my headwear wherever you would expect to wear any traditional hat. My headwear is intended to be a personal experience – they should wholly suit your personality and style. And so, for some people they are worn to weddings or races, others to festivals and garden parties; it has been known for pieces to be worn to funerals, for pottering around in and to a ballet class! There are no limits but they are certainly no different to the more conventional options in terms of where they like to visit. You wear them where you feel comfortable wearing them.