Tuesday, 7 February 2017

On finally finishing and fixing the "not quite there" hats

I started the new year with 3 big directions to focus on in my business, while keeping in mind that this focus would be pretty much gone after the first few months.

One of these directions is preparing to add hat sewing patterns to my business. I've only briefly mentioned this before, but it's been a big part of my thinking for the last year or more. Most of that work will go on in the background until much later in the year, when you'll hear all about it, rest assured.

The second direction is learning. It's been 3 years since my last formal training in any area of millinery, and I was feeling a bit stale. I've started a few online courses to add new skills and techniques to my arsenal, and you'll start hearing about that very soon. I feel rejuvenated already and I'm so happy that I've taken steps to move my skills forward again.

The third is clearing out my work space and finishing up the loose ends it is filled with. Listing hats on Etsy. Photographing finished hats so I can share them (and list them). Finishing nearly finished hats. Fixing ones that didn't quite go to plan. Picking up the false starts and getting on with them, or scrapping them!

It's been a rewarding journey so far, but one of those ones that makes you wonder why you didn't do it earlier. As I finish, I've been describing these projects as having taking 2 years and 20 minutes.

For example, this vintage reproduction hat. It has a sad story actually. This was a custom order that didn't quite work out the way the client wanted. I wasn't 100% happy with it either, as it wasn't quite like the original, but I did the best I could at the time. I never even liked it, and it's been sitting in my work room ever since.

So finally I tackled it again and made it look more like the original, which took about 20 minutes, and made a world of difference. And I really started to like it.

Once I started taking these photos on a shoot with my friend Ruanne, I was absolutely in love with it.

That was a worthwhile 20 minutes.

This blue boater was more than 20 minutes, but perhaps only 40, and again, the difference was worth it. On my first attempt, the brim outline was a very wonky oval, but I couldn't bring myself to unpick it the edge and start again! Sometimes I just need time and emotional distance, because it was actually easy and very satisfying to do. And now it looks much better.

The rest of these photos are vintage hats, which I didn't think I could be bothered to sell on Etsy, because of the effort of writing listings and taking good photos.

I should have had this photoshoot long ago! But it's done now.

I can't pretend that these represent the end of the unfinished pieces I have here, and you are bound to see more as I work my way through them. Are you the same, with hidden abandoned works-in-progress all over the place, or do you see things through to the end without these long pauses?


  1. I do tend to put things off. I have been wanting to learn to sew. Now I have made up my mind to start reading all the books I have and never opened. I love all those hats and can not choose a favorite. They are all gorgeous.

    1. Thank you Marilyn. Good luck with the sewing plans!

  2. It's so easy sometimes to just put things off "until tomorrow," only to have tomorrow turn into next week or next year. It's so satisfying to finish though, isn't it? And that first hat was definitely worth the effort! I would buy it in a heartbeat if I had half a clue of how to wear it.

    1. I think I need to remind myself of how satisfying it is to motivate me more! It really is a good feeling. And thank you!

  3. I'm actually someone who persists and drives myself crazy until something is done. I hate giving up on things but I can understand that sometimes you just need space from it and then suddenly it will click. Maybe I should try that tactic, I might not get so stressed! xx

    1. You see I knew there had to be some people who worked like that! Maybe we should all try things the other way around sometimes!

  4. I love that first hat, so fabulous. I find that sometimes I battle on with projects but often I put them in the naughty corner until I can face looking at them again. If it is knitting that needs pulling back I often ask a friend to do it so that I can just start again without the distress of physically undoing my hard work!