Fascinating times

I used to love wearing hats. As a teenager I often topped my outfit with one. My favourite being a gorgeous black trilby which I gained when someone left it (brand new) in the shop I had a Saturday job in, and never came back to claim it. But in recent years I’ve stopped wearing them. I think it tied in with me gaining weight and not wanting to stand out from the crowd.

I have found myself thinking about hats a fair bit though over the past few months. I was determined to wear one to my brother’s wedding, and found a great one in a charity shop for £10.

The hat I wore to my brother's wedding.

The hat I wore to my brother’s wedding.

I’ve also been thinking about making hats. I started imagining myself as a milliner. “How hard could it be?” I thought. So I started browsing the internet for classes. I soon discovered that it’s a far broader skill than I thought. Every different material has different techniques involved. ‘Blocking’ hats is not a cheap hobby, as every different shape and size needs a different block, and they are not cheap. I still liked the sound of it though, so when I came across a 1 day class to make a fascinator I begged my husband to look after Penny for the day and let me go. He was surprisingly amenable (possibly because I’d just let him spend £300 on a new keyboard).

So on Saturday I left Penny in daddy’s capable hands, along with a list of instructions of food, naps etc. Off I went to Abakhan Fabrics in Mostyn for the ‘Fascinator in a day’ workshop. I was excited about having a day off from being a mum, but a bit nervous too. Would I be rubbish at it? Would everyone else there know each other and I’d be Billy-no-mates. I needn’t have worried. It was just a small group (8 of us) and most were on their own so everyone was very friendly. The instructor showed us some examples of her work and taught us about sinamay, a fabric I had seen before but never knew what it was called or how to use it. Over the course of the day we learned how to cut and shape sinamay to decorate a fascinator (or hatinator technically) and do a few finishing touches.

I admit I had expected to learn more techniques over the course of the day, but as it was I was rushed to finish just the things we did learn. In fact I didn’t have time to add a birdcage veil on the day, but the instructor told me how to do it and I was able to finish off at home. I did find it very enjoyable though and I now have the skills and the confidence to learn and practice more at home. I definitely haven’t been put off and I am already looking at further classes to learn more hat making skills (although it will be a while before I have the time or money to go). In the mean time I’ll just have to get really good at fascinators and then find some places to wear them!

The finished fascinator.

The finished fascinator.

Top view.

Top view.

About Laura Cooper

I am a mid-thirties first time mum of one. Formerly a secondary school teacher, serial planner and know-it-all . I have learnt that nothing about being a mum is predictable and am now a strong advocate of making it up as you go along.
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