Friday, 19 December 2008


It's a Hombergian crown with a fedoracious brim. It's a Homdora!

See, I can make hats for men, too. But having seen it modeled by both genders, I can attest to its being, um, ambidextrous.

Thursday, 18 December 2008


I just learned that my "Contact Me" email link never worked properly! Oh, the guilt, the guilt! If you've ever tried to email me from this blog before and were stunned by my rude lack of response, I apologize most humbly. I wasn't rude, I was just mired in ignorance. Anyway, I believe I've fixed it now. Emailing myself works wonderfully well. Here, try it yourself, just for fun: email me! I promise I'll answer!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Alternative Media

Cashmere. The bathroom kind. Yup, toilet paper. Well, if Thien Le, Evan Biddell et al can make grand ballgowns out of the stuff, why not?

Would I do it again? Maybe not. Maybe in silk, though, for a bride...

Front view photo courtesy of Tierre Taylor.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Bucket List

The ayes have it. Two out of two people agree that the fedoras look better with hat bands. Here they are, for your delectation.

Joining them are my new bucket hats in three different colours and sizes, which may be difficult to properly see here, so I'll just tell you that from left to right they are black, purple/plum and brown. They are fleshing out my craft sale offerings this season, which got off to a rainy start in Hamilton last weekend. Here's where else I'll be, so far:

Saturday, Nov. 29: Bennington Heights Public School Craft Show/Sale, 76 Bennington Heights Drive (Bayview and Moore), 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 7: The Sassy Little Christmas Craft Show, The Victory Cafe, 581 Markham Street (behind Honest Ed's), 7 p.m. - midnight (with cocktails! Wee!)
Saturday, Dec. 13: The Artisans' Gift Fair, the Tranzac Club, 282 Brunswick Avenue (at Bloor), noon - 6 p.m.

Please come by, say hello and play a little dress-up at my display. I thank you.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Signora Fedora

Three ladies' fedoras. Or three fedoras for one lady, if you prefer.

Please help me! Tell me if you think these would look better with hat bands, or just as they are. The poll is to the right of this post.


Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Cloche Encounters

Summer is over, which is too bad because I was really enjoying it. So is my Mac Fab student discount, which almost makes me cry. I really enjoyed that, too. As my last millinery course isn't scheduled until January, I was unable to score a new discount card for this school year. And Mac Fab is the only place to go in town for many millinery necessities, things like hoods and capelines, or raw hat shapes for blocking. And I've noticed that a Fabricland discount card is no help at all at Mac Fab.

Thanks you for joining me for my pity party. Now on to happier things.

With the tuition money I would have spent this term, I've been buying hat blocks and stands. They're filling up the bookcase my ex-neighbour kindly threw out prior to moving to Prague (thanks, Barb) and which my significant other rescued from the rain and painted for me (thanks, Scott). I bought a couple of felt hoods with the last gasp of my student discount, and have blocked one this one on one of my new blocks, as displayed on one of my new stands. Every stitch of the hat is done by hand. It is available for sale at Studio 998, 998 Bathurst Street (thanks, David).

The straw cloche I made in my last class found a new home! One of my favourite clients bought it. It looks like it was made for her. Thanks, Tricia!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Indoor Gardening

Here's what I made one day when stricken with envy of a flowerpot in my kitchen. I feel so much better now.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Retail Progress

David Dunkley, my boss at KC's Hats, has kindly offered me the opportunity to offer for sale one of my hats at his lovely studio at 998 Bathurst Street (at Olive, a couple of blocks north of Bloor). Besides David's hats (and mine!), there is jolly jewellery by his talented studio partner, Joanna Sipos of Belle Boutique.

You should come by, you really should.

I've chosen the yellow straw for Studio 998. It would be very happy to see you.

Thursday, 3 July 2008


My millinery class is featured on the cover of this month's SNAP Downtown Toronto as it turns out. Hark at my clever classmates! Tierre Taylor did a lovely job on the piece, and took the photos. She certainly expresses what I felt about our classes. Please read it yourself.

That's my yellow straw that Lori Bond is holding in the group photo. I'm not in it because I was still working on the last hat, due that night. Follow the above links to SNAP if you'd like to see it.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Lucy's Garden Party Hat

Lucy was off to a garden party yesterday, where the wearing of hats was encouraged. She kindly asked me to trim this hat for her for the occasion, so I did. Here she is in a jaunty, pre-party mood.

By the way, Lucy's one act play, "Daughter of the House", staged in April by the Alumnae Theatre Company, was really good. It's about a young woman from Dublin in the late 1950's who wrestles with conflicting ideas of where her future lies.

In the 1950's people wore hats, like, all the time.

School's Out

Millinery II classes have wrapped at George Brown College. They just flew by. Considering there were half as many as we had for Millinery I, I guess this is not surprising. For this course we made three hats in seven weeks; last fall we made five hats in thirteen weeks.

It was fantastic to be back in Lori Bond's classroom with so many people from last fall's Millinery I. We had other people from other classes, too, for added jolliness. We have a wonderful camaraderie. We inspire and admire each other. It's a treat to be surrounded by so much talent. And occasional Crispers.

Hey! Tierre Taylor, classmate and photographer, took some photos at our last class. Look for our mugs and hats in the August 1 edition of the midtown (Annex, anyway) edition of Snap magazine.

Two courses down, one to go!

Here is a picture of my first hat for this course. I was going for a Korean conical hat meets a Belgian nun as interpreted by Cristobal Balenciaga. Or something. It's strangely flattering to wear.

Sunday, 18 May 2008


What does an apprentice milliner do when not millining? This one makes shoes. Viz:

In other news, millinery classes at George Brown College have begun again. Yay! With just two classes under our belts some of us are feeling stressed already. Nothing like a soupcon of panic to keep one performing at an optimum hum.

Still, I succumbed to the prevailing seasonal urge to plant yesterday. Thank you, universe, for the respite of lovely weather that made it possible. Please keep your fingers crossed that the new sweet woodruff take to their new home under the lilac bushes.

Saturday, 12 April 2008


I think my proclivity toward all things shmata is genetic. I'll probably continue to think so no matter how much people laugh at me for it. All kinds of people on both sides of my family have been involved in the rag trade in some fashion (ha!) or another.

Viz. my cousin Tracy. She's the driving force of Abbey Hill Design in North Bay, Ontario. Her mother Gisela worked in the costume shop at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, where Tracy and her sibs grew up. Her paternal grandmother, my great aunt, designed and made costumes for community theatre in Yorkshire, England. The one time I visited Aunt Edith I wondered what was in her locked front room, so she showed me. I remember feeling like Aladdin discovering the cave full of treasures when she opened the doors. Exquisite Belle Epoque gowns, hats, feathered fans -- be still my beating, pubescent heart. No wonder Tracy became a designer. Genetic predetermination.

Yes, I still believe in free will.

Monday, 7 April 2008


For a photographer's daughter I've got a lot to learn. Unfortunately, it's too late to ask my dad for pointers as he's no longer with us. However, thanks to digital cameras and the nice people inside my computer (okay, okay, the Web) and my camera (okay, the instruction booklet), I stink somewhat less at it than I did before.

For instance, my light tent, in which all these hats have been shot. You can buy one much smaller than mine for about $150; I made mine for about $10 (not including cost of the lightbulbs). All I used were some corrugated cardboard, old pillowcases, glue, staples and wire.

If you would like to know how I made it, please email me.

The camera is Nikon Coolpix. It's amazing what you can do when you find out there is, in fact, a tripod in the house and you learn to go flashless. It's all about the lighting and setting your camera's white balance. And photo touch-up software, of course.

It's an ongoing process. If I experience any epiphanies, I'll post them here.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Lucy's Play

My friend (and client) Lucy Brennan is a poet, actress and playwright. Her one-act play, "Daughter of the House", is debuting this month, thanks to the Alumnae Theatre Company. I saw it in a staged reading last year and I'm dying to see how it looks all dolled up. It's set in 1950's Ireland. There's bound to be hats!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

My Very First Post! I'm So Excited!

Hello, world! Welcome to my hat page! I'm off and blogging.

I created this page to display hats I have made. I am working toward a millinery certificate at George Brown College and sewing for KC's Hats, both of which I love beyond reason.

I hope you like my work and will email me with your questions and post your comments. I promise to update regularly, so help me Lily Dache.