Things I wish I knew when I started millinery?

Because Milliners mostly work in solitude, there is often room for self doubt, independent learning (often the hard way) and of course the AH HA moments where things click into place and we discover a new and often better way of doing things. The truth is that we all had to start somewhere and we all need time to develop these skills as they make our work truly unique. This important step can often be the greatest hurdle for beginners and at times very disheartening.

If you had your time again, what advice do you wish you had been given?

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Main thing - it is necessary to love handmade fanaticism and do all AS IF do for yourself !!!

So true! I find that my best millinery is done when my customer tells me to "make it as i would for myself". These hats truly allow me to showcase my skills and try out new and exciting things! 

1.  That with design, for every 100 people that like it, 100 people will dislike it... So do what you feel is right (and by that I mean I judge my designs by what I would like to wear)..... So go with your gut......

2.  If you lose sight of your design and youre not happy, put it down and go back to it later..

Too true! Sometimes you just have to put it down and walk away! 

Go on as many courses as you can. I have just taken myself to a whole year long "felt" evening course at my local  colleges Fashion department and it was so useful, learnt masses but mostly it was being in the creative environment for 2 hours each week with other people. Although I felt a bit of a fraud, as I knew "stuff" in their eyes, it was a great skill builder, confidence booster and gave me the permission to make things I would never have tried on my own.

That is so great Jain, there is a lot to be said about creative brainstorming that comes out when you have other people's opinions and unique experiences coming together. It is such a fun process working alongside others and what better excuse is there really to get out and about and be creative?

This is such a wonderful question! 

I had to think back many years to the beginning but in retrospect I think the mistakes taught me as much or more than the successes.  I agree with the other ladies on doing what you like.  Those are the ones that will show your passions for the art.  BUT, do learn to do the other types as well.

It seems the little things that are aggravating cause me the most frustration and one tip that has helped a lot in alleviating that frustration is this:  When we sew many times we get a knot in the thread from the tread twisting with our movements.  To easily get the knot out and not make it tighter, pull on the needle end of the thread and the knot slips out easily.  This small tip has saved a lot of time, frustration and eliminated having to start again. 

The second thing is to learn how to properly swirl petersham (millinery grosgrain).  Also when dealing with grosgrain, if you should get a spot of water on it and it stains, do not worry.  Just wet the entire band and the spot will disappear as the band dries. But, remember, to put it on the block to dry because it will shrink as it dries. 

Thanks for your "AH Ha moment" piece of advice Sharon! It is amazing what you pick up along the way! 

I remember a little snipped of advice that a famous Australian milliner told me once. Sometimes you have to sit back and remind yourself that "You are making a hat, not saving the world!" That little piece of advice can be really helpful when you are sitting there getting frustrated with a hat that just won't come together! The sun will come out tomorrow and your hat will come together if you give it time! 

Love that piece of advice!  Sometimes hats do have a mind of their own.


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