Monday Millinery

This morning I have an adorable hat to offer. This hat has a gently curved shallow crown and fashionable brim. It has a 20″ crown 1.5″ deep, with a brim 11″ across.

Find this hat in my Etsy shop:

Published in: on October 15, 2018 at 6:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Good morning….. With a new hat

I just added this hat to my shop. With a 21″ crown it is slightly larger than average. It has a really neat brim that tapers down on all sides while having just the right amount of fashionable curve.

Find this hat in my Etsy shop now:

I was going to try to get away from innundating my bkog with sales posts. But, I just found out FB is tightening restrictions on sales posts that are not part of their platform. Considering the pages there have become nearly useless there, I will continue as I have.

Published in: on October 12, 2018 at 6:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Behind the Millinery Q&A

Since I have had a variety of questions in the last couple weeks, I thought it would be a good time to do a Q&A.

When will you start making hats and bonnets again?

After 2 plus months, I started sewing hats this past weekend. I am making just a couple styles at the moment because only a couple crown blocks are unpacked. I will expand the styles I am making as I unpack more blocks.

I will start making bonnets when a couple criteria are met. A. I need a place to put the bonnet blocks. My bonnet blocks, especially the plaster blocks, are more delicate than the smaller, wooden hat blocks. B. I need a good place for bonnets to dry on the blocks. Previously, I put pieces on the washer to dry during the blocking and sizing processes. Here, a washer and dryer still need to be purchased. While I have made drying mats for the hats to dry on the counter, the kitchen counter just isn’t going to cut it for bonnets.

Will you make men’s hats?

In the nineteenth century women’s hats and men’s hats were different beasts. They where made by different people. WhilenI would love to offer men’s hats, I just don’t know if doing so is viable cirrently. In order for me to make men’s hats, I will need to find and purchase an assortment of blocks in men’s sizes and men’s styles. Ideally, I would have a minimum of 3 to 4 sizes of each style. This would be both a matter of expense ($60-120 per block) and space for storage.

So, the short answer is: Not any time soon.

Why have some prices increased?

The prices of most hats and bonnets has increased because my costs have increased. The main cost increase areas include: Etsy fees, the per hank cost of straw, and the shipping fees on most materials.

Please keep in mind each hat takes 8 to 12 hours to sew by hand, block and size, while mid-century bonnets take 10 to 15 hours and larger Regency bonnets take longer. Each piece also has the time to find and cost of blocks, millinery research, wire, and sizing. I have to be reminded to consider the “over head” expenses: tissue paper, bags, tape, labels, cards, storage, soaking containers, towels, scissors, sd cards, etc.. When I actually do a spreadsheet, the materials and time totals come out to $128 to $137 per piece. So, I am still trying to make them affordable. I do anticipate an increase with the increase in tarriffs coming.

Will you be making head-dresses this year?

Yes, I plan to make head-dresses this fall and winter. That is actually what my November workshop at the GVCM Domestic Skills Symposium is on. Following that workshop, I will be putting pieces in my shop.

Why the change in seasonal sewing plans?

Usually, I switch to making winter millinery from mid fall through mid winter. This year, I will be sewing straw all the way through the winter. This is because I have a significant budget change and need to sew and sell an absolute minimum of $550 each month. Ideally, I will do more each month so I can save for July to September when I don’t have a school paycheck.

Published in: on October 10, 2018 at 8:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

At Long Last…..

I just added two straw hats to my Etsy shop. One is a copper straw with stylish brim dipping front and back on a tapered crown. The second, a natural straw also has a tapered crown. This one has a slightly curved brim with a subtle dip in the front.

The copper has a 20″ crown with a 12″ wide brim.

The natural has a 20.5″ crown with an 11.5″ brim.

Pardon the funny photos. I realized my stands are still in storage and one unpacked head is with my Ag Fair stuff.

Published in: on October 8, 2018 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

State of the Sewing Address

Some how it is October. This past week the weather shifted. i found myself cold and in want of sweaters. The sweaters are still packed away, by the way. Yesterday morning, the sky turned read and breaking light was tinted an eerrie pink.

This weekend is the Agricultural Society Fair at the museum. You know this is one of my favorite events. This year, I have been looking forward to it even more than usual because it had been marking a sort of end post for this moving mess. Well, with the more recent developments, that I have decided Not to talk about yet, that end post is going to be rest somewhere in the future. I only have two entries this year. I don’t think Mom is entering. Oh, and to add to my “but, but, but fair” whine…. I caught school germs. Come on. What do you think is going to happen when you cram All the people with All their germs into a smelly gym for an hour to scream and cheer, just 4 weeks into the germ exchange season school year?

But, on to what you want to hear about… … sewing

I finally started sewing this week.


I am starting out with general sewing because I don’t have all my materials or millinery blocks out yet. I also haven’t figured out where I am going to dry pieces as I still have to buy a washer and dryer. My hope is to have two or three hats sewn and headed to my shop this weekend, then start working on my waiting list. I plan to sew straw straight through the winter rather than switch to working on winter millinery for the season.

I do have an important request – The photos I took in July at the museum (Mumford) disappeared out of my phone during the last update. These included the photos of people wearing the types of hats and bonnets they want. I am a Very visual person. If you have photos of you or your friend who wanted a particular piece, please let me know.


I have several great ideas for the coming Holiday Shop. This year I will be offering a special Christmas Ornament! I am working on these now. I know several of you have been waiting for something like this for a few years. I hope you love them.

I am also making an assortment of these pretty little pockets. I will be filling them with goodies – either sewing notions or hair necessities. Some will be available for you to fill as you like. They are just the right size for a gift card, a piece of jewelry, or other small token.

I will be offering an assorment of sewing accessories. There is a great scissors case I have drafted. I need to get out my tote of velvets to work those. I know you will love these. Of course there will be a few fun pin cushions.

I have this wacky idea that I want to use the pinking machines for a Christmas ornament. There will be a few of those whimsical pretties.

Which brings me to….

Pinking Party

I ahve decided to have a Pinking Party. The date isnyet to be determined. I am going to try to have it at home if I can figure out the parking. Lots of tables with lots of pinking machines. This will be a local thing for local friends. If it goes well, maybe I will do another elsewhere.

Published in: on October 5, 2018 at 11:39 am  Comments (1)  

Workshop at the Domestic Skills Symposium

Are you registered for my Band of Millinette workshop at the Genesee Country Village & Museum’s Domestic Skills Symposium?

Join me Sunday, November 3rd for a day exploring the headdresses worn in the nineteenth century and learning how to make the foundations for them. We will make two or three bases and make one fun headdress.

I have a special stock of ribbon set aside for this workshop.

Published in: on October 4, 2018 at 5:04 pm  Comments (1)  

Hopeful Holidays Survey

I invite you to take a moment to guide me in my holiday shop planning. Please share your thoughts in this survey.


Thank you very much,


Published in: on October 1, 2018 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

September Update

I have been struggling with what to write and when to write ever since my “New Plan” post at the beginning of August. Let’s be real, that post wasn’t so much about “new plans” as it was about the decimation of plans. I decided to put the information on moving into the September Updates post so there would be some resemblance of normalcy, even if it is just for me.

Our new place is just 8 or so miles from our previous, in the town I went to school in. The place is the antithesis of what the old place originally was: modern, complex, neighbors, blacktop verses hardwood, private, treed, animals, shade, quiet. There are several advantages to the new place:

  • There are closets and storage. A pantry, a linen closet, bedroom closets, coat closet, utility closet….
  • There are electric outlets, more than just 2 per room.
  • There are screens on the windows.
  • Best we can tell, the lights should not flicker and the circuit breaker won’t blow when we run the microwave.
  • I am hoping I will no longer burn my hands when I wash dishes. (Hot hot and cold being the only options)
  • The tub and shower, yup we have both, ought to be constructed right and actually drain.
  • Oh, and we have a new fangled thing called a dishwasher.

There are many things I will miss abput the old place. But, the reality is most of these things have been wittled away already.

  • Quiet privacy
  • Shade from beautiful old trees
  • Cats to say hello each day
  • Ghosts, both human and feline
  • Squirrels all named George, deer herd and fawn twins, groundhog family
  • Being able to walk to the fabric shop

Moving forward….

I am still trying to sort things out both physically and mentally. I would really like to dive back into all the projects. But, I think I need to focus on what is coming up and choose a mental health project of some sort.

The Agricultural Society Fair is coming up October 6th and 7th. I have two lonely pieces to enter this year. I am hoping to still do a demonstration of new domestic inventions/tools, including the punking machines.

Following, the weekend of November 3rd, is the Domestic Skills Symposium when I will be doing my Band of Millinette workshop that I am excited about. This program needs a lovely PowerPoint and some handouts to go with their supply kits.

What the mental health project will be, I am not sure. I need something that will slow me down and help me center while bringing back some joy. I want to feel how I did in July.


Eventually, I will get back to the projects the got dropped two months ago. There will be a winter hood book. There will be a Godey’s Dolls book. There will be straw millinery. There may be winter millinery. There will be more videos. There will be new FanU projects.

Thank you all for your patience, both in waiting for items and for listening to me whine and vent.

Published in: on September 19, 2018 at 11:01 am  Comments (3)  


I just stumbled across a Facebook post with images that looked coincidentally familiar. Upon reading the comments from two respected friends, I discovered I attached the wrong date to a publication I transcribed from in 2012.

Those already looking ahead to making Christmas ornaments, please note I incorrectly dated Cassell’s Household Guide, Volume 3 as 1869, when it was in fact 1881.

I want to be certain that the correct date is known, not only for my blog followers, but also because the same transcribed passage appeared in the November, 2017 edition of a certain magazine with the same title and incorrect date.

I have corrected the date and updated the link in the original post.

Published in: on September 8, 2018 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Plans

I am not sure how to write this post. I am calling it new plans in an attempt to be hopeful, when in fact at the moment there are no new plans, just a dark cave for my old ones. By old ones, I mean those I was excitedly working towards a week ago. Well, a difference a week day hour can make. One moment I am happily sewing along. The next I am reading a letter saying our lease will not be renewed and we have 7 (now 6) weeks to find a new place to live.

“you must now put your life, plans, and art on hold”

This impromptu packing, which has begun, and obsessive hunt for a good place to live, which is in full force, means the vast majority of my millinery supplies are being packed into boxes and sent to the depths of a storage unit.

What does this mean for the availability of straw millinery? I expect with packing, moving, unpacking, and getting a grip on my sanity, I will be another 6 months behind on pieces. I simply won’t be able to do 10, 12, or 14 hour sewing days. I still have pieces from last year to make and pieces from this year’s Mumford. These will get my first attention when I am settled. I may be able to do a sanity piece here and there. Sewing straw calms me after all.

What about my hood book and doll book? I don’t anticipate putting enough thoughts together to get any good writing done for a while. I also already sent these research materials away for safe keeping. For the few of you who really understands what that means: yes, that was incredibly hard to do and scares me.

What about my Holiday FanU projects? I am not entirely sure. My current plan is to have them set aside so I can do the drafting and directions if by chance I can possibly do so. I really don’t know.

What about my Symposium workshop? No change there. I already have a special tote set aside for those materials.

I hope everyone understands about about how this will effect hat and bonnet availability.

Published in: on August 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm  Comments (5)