I can't think of who said it but I once read a quote from a prominent designer which was: "Once you think you have added enough, add just a bit more." As an artist you will know when it is too much.
Here is what I do. I start my trimming by just pinning the trim where I think it will give me a good look. When I get to a point where I like the look, I stop and take a picture. I then add a bit more and take another picture. I continue the process until I feel I am reaching the over the top arena, take a picture and stop. I then print out the pictures and place them side by side to see which catches my eye first. The one I seem to gravitate to most often will be what I will do. It might take me a few minutes to decide or a couple of days but I find I save a lot of anxiety in the end.
Most of the time you will not have to do this for all pieces you will just use it for special pieces.
This is a very hard skill to master and really I have found it just takes time and lots of practice.
I have a mirror at my desk which I look in as I am working. I try the pieces on, look, play and then also look in a full length mirror too, different light and different mirrors can play tricks on you especially if you are working at night!
If I am designing for a client I will send lots of pics with options to my customers and see which they like the best and even better than that take a video which shows the 3d aspect of the hat. This is so helpful as sometimes pics of hats can be very unflattering from certain angles. However if it is for my own collection I will trust my gut. I get a little heart flutter when I know its done.
At the end of the day your idea of balance is going to be different to someone else's, stay true to your design aesthetics and it will help your signature style develop and your confidence in yourself will grow too.
Thank you ladies, I tend to do simple and elegant otherwise know as less is more but lately looking at some of my original pieces I think maybe some pieces should be more is more so I'm currently trying your advice.
You look at your piece from all angles over and over again. Sometimes you have to put it aside and come back to it after some time has past. Both of the hats I posted were like that. The hats "didn't look right" and I re trimmed them. My percher was set aside for a couple of months. I was looking in my flower collection for something else and came across some beautiful roses. Those along with more feathers were also added. The birds were added after the percher reminded me of the top of a wedding cake.
The parasisial hat had been scorched when I was making it and I needed to cover the scorch marks. The blue teal that was on it just didn't look right. I found some little blue flowers like the flowers in the ribbon and I added some yellow tulle instead of blue. The effect is much better.
You NEVER know what ideas you are going to get from one day to the next