Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sinamay Hat Making Class with Artikal Millinery

Class with Finished Hats

The Seersucker Social is coming up on June 9!  You get dressed up and ride your bike around town, and it could not be more fun (Fall's event is the Tweed Ride).  Having a fabulous hat is de riguer and once I had my dress underway it was time to think about head wear.

I have wanted to learn more about sinamay, a flexible, moldable straw fabric, since watching this Martha Stewart video.  Somehow I stumbled upon the class list at Bits of Thread studio in the Adams Morgan area of DC, and saw that there would be a sinamay hat class by Holly Slayton of Artikal!  Perfect timing!

This was my first visit to Bits of Thread.  The outer door is a bit unobtrusive though if you have the address it's not difficult to find.  There are instructions for how to ring Bits of Thread on the call box.

Holly Slayton Modeling one of Her Creations

Holly is from the DC area but lives in New York now where she specializes in making bridal headpieces.  But she has a full line of hats and enjoys sharing her millinery skillz in classes.  Here she is modeling one of her creations.

Sinamay Sheets

You start with a sheet of sinamay.  Holly had brought a variety of colors for us to choose from.  The straw is easy to cut with regular scissors, so we just sliced off a piece to get started.

In Progress

 Holly had brought enough balsa wood millinery heads for each of us to work on.  While sturdy, the heads are easily pinnable.  With this free-form style, you just start folding and pinning until you get a shape that you like.

Once your shape is set, you take strategic stitches with sturdy thread so that it stays that way.

Students at Work

There was a lot of creativity within the class.  Holly's approach is to explain the basic principles of the materials and to set us free to create.  I am more of a "create within constraints" kind of person (hence why I love sewing but am horrible at and hate painting), so for me this was more about exploring the materials than anything else.

Decorative Elements

Here are some decorative elements that can be made out of sinamay, a bow and an orchid.

My completed project is a hat mostly only in the sense that it is sitting in my head (precariously--I have fine, slippery hair and needed a different kind of clip).

Source: via Trena on Pinterest

I should have done my research *before* the class into what kind of hat I might want to make.  I am thinking that I am into the saucer hat, as in this dark gray saucer hat (£45.00) from

And, of course, obligatorily as seen on Kate Middleton (love the flourish of the curly feathers!).

Source: via Trena on Pinterest

I also really love this one, which appears to be cut as a spiral.

There is plenty more inspiration on my hats board on Pinterest and all photos from the class are here.

So right now I have a hat-making fire in my belly!  I'm not going to tell you how much I spent at Judith M Millinery Supplies and Hats by Leko/HatSupply, nor that I bought a balsa wood head because I realized too late after I bought my groovy aluminum hat forms that you really need a pinnable form.


Toby Wollin said...'ve been captured by the hat fairies.... Sorry about the aluminum hat blocks - sellers never tell anyone that those are used with factory stamping machines. Wood. Always go for wood.

McVal said...

Wow! I'm not sure I could carry off a hat the way you ladies do! I'm more of a winter cap pull it over my hair kind of gal.

T. Sedai said...

Cute! Can't wait to see what you do with all the new hat making supplies...

Karin said...

What fun! Here in England people usually wear hats to weddings. It looks nice and the bonus is that you don't have to worry about your hair too much!

Anonymous said...

Great hat! The hat class AND the seersucker social look amazingly fun!

Uta said...

So cute! I'd love to take a class like that, it sounds fabulous.

liza jane said...

That is so cool! It looks more like sculpting than sewing. Fun stuff.

Carol said...

I agree; this looks like tons of fun. I can see this would become addictive.

Andrea said...

That looks so cool and so much fun. I love your hat.

SEWN said...

That sounds like so much fun!!! Love your hat.

Unknown said...

The hats look amazing! It's great that you've found a new skill.

When I was a uni student, I always made my own hats for the Melbourne Cup carnival. Mostly because I was poor and hats cost well over $100, but also because it was fun!

Audrey said...

What a fun class, and sinamay sounds like an interesting material. I see more hats in your future.

Little Hunting Creek said...

I want to make hats now and it is all your fault

Linda L said...

This is cute! And sounds like a fun event.

gwensews said...

You have a new arena! Hat-making sounds like such fun. That straw fabric is interesting. I want to find out more about it.