Dusky Pink Pearl Cloche Hat for USA Customer
In late November I was contacted by a new customer, Blair, to create a cloche hat for his girlfriend Kristen whose birthday falls just before Christmas.
Blair and Kristen live in Georgia, USA and whilst on holiday in New York, Kristen lost a cloche hat. The hat was a dusky pink, studded with pearls and trimmed with black ribbon and a black flower. Blair requested that I recreate her beloved hat! I was ridiculously excited by this commission and couldn’t wait to get started. Below is a picture of the original hat Kristen lost:
Blair sent me a photo of the original hat and after discussing the finer details of the hat I managed to source wool in a very similar (if not the exact same!) shade of pink. I also managed to find oval pearls like the ones on the original hat. By chance, I had a black leather flower that I had been hanging onto in the identical style to the one on the hat she had lost. To finish off the hat I ordered in black grosgrain (petersham) ribbon.
As with all my cloche hats, each one is blocked by hand using the traditional method. It was shaped and pinned onto a handmade obeche wood hat block, left to dry (which usually takes 24 to 36 hours for wool hats), and then stiffened using hat stiffener. Brim wire was then added to help hold the shape of the brim for a longer lasting hat.
I am always keen to hand sew my cloche hats as per the traditional way with millinery, and this hat was no different. I only used my sewing machine to sew up the hat lining.
I hand sewed each of the oval pearls to the exterior of the hat. It required a little bit of mathematics to ensure everything was evenly spaced. This sounds really simple, but when working with domed shapes it requires a little more thought unless you want the pearls to look more concentrated as they get closer to the top of the dome.
Next I added the black grosgrain ribbon and leather flower. I positioned the ends of the ribbon so that they sat underneath the flower so that no seams were visible where the ribbon ends meet.
Finally I added in dusky pink hat lining complete with its own Mairi Brunning Millinery label. It just so happens that the colour scheme of my labels are white with pink text, which complemented the interior of the hat beautifully!
I packed up the hat in a black and white striped hat box, tied on some Douglas tartan ribbon (my Dad’s side of the family are Douglas’) as a nod to the hat being produced in Scotland, and then got it ready for shipping. I was so anxious that it got there safe and spent the next couple of weeks going back to the Royal Mail website to track its journey to Peachtree City, Georgia. It was exciting to see its journey and I was so relieved to hear from Blair when it safely arrived with him. I was even more excited and a tad emotional when I was sent the video of Kristen opening her hat box to discover her handmade cloche hat replacement.
So much love and care goes into each of the items I create it was very special indeed to be asked to create this memorable piece of millinery for Blair and Kristen. Thank you Blair for commissioning me; I loved working with you on this project!