They say life is a journey…

Mine began several years ago, after receiving a catalog from FIT.  I became intrigued by a course in the millinery department. Although I wanted to sign up for the course and learn how to make custom hats, I hadn’t taken any of the pre-requisites.  The most obvious being Blocking 101.   The course was held on a Saturday, I decided to sign up.  After all, I’d been wearing hats for most of my life.  It was a very small leap of faith to learn about custom hats.

Fully expecting to be the oldest student in the class, I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived the first day.  Sure, there were the expected 19 year-old students fulfilling the Accessories requirement.  But the class was also made up of other individuals all wanting to learn about custom hats. There was Trish, the chiropractor learning a new trade; Patty, the mother of 2 starting a hobby; Tom, the 42 year old man working for Eric Javits.  Seeing the diversity showed me that milliners come from all walks of life.  Our instructors made us sew samplers, draw circles, measure to within 1/16th of an inch. They taught us the fundamentals of millinery and then pushed us to develop advanced skills. Classes became a blur of steaming, blocking, cutting, sewing, trimming and pressing. Hour after hour we worked. Homework had us steaming, blocking, cutting, sewing, trimming and pressing just in a different location.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to know.  How do you make flowers? How do you make trims?  Which fabric to choose? Felt? Sinamay? Silk satin? Mink?  It was more than just fun. It became a passion. Weeks turned into months, and months turned into years. Before I knew it, I had completed my millinery certificate and was apprenticing. And all because I received a catalog in the mail…

I’ve discovered that I gravitate towards special occasion hats.  Maybe it’s because I love dressing up and believe that hats add the finishing touch?  Whatever the reason, I adore working with a client to design and deliver a special occasion hat.  That’s not to say, I only make hats for special occasions.  In fact, I’ve discovered that I make special hats for every occasion.