Forest Flame Millinery

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My bread and butter - headbands

I find that I have been spending a lot of time making headbands.  As much as I want to make hats and try out my Jackie-O style hat block, I find that I am spending my night, after work, making headbands. But they sell well at bazaars and I have to make sure that I make them to pay the rental of my stall.

My lace appliques headband sold very well last month at Red Dot Museum. This is a design that will be difficult to copy because the lace appliques are hand-dyed and I made my own beaded leaves. I designed them such that it can be worn as a headband or clip.

With some yards of polyester chiffon flower petals that I bought in Hong Kong, I made flowers and assembled them to make bridesmaids' or flower girls' headband. Initially, I spent many hours trying to figure out how to put them together and when I finally stitched all the flowers together, I was relieved to see that each flowers overlapped each other rather naturally.

Since I have booked a spot for MAAD Pyjamas at Red Dot Museum in Feb, I am remaking old favourite- heart shaped roses for Valentines' Day. The white one was featured in Her World Brides last year.

This design takes up a lot of my time, So far I have made 3 colours - soft pink, antique pink and mauve. I think I may give white and natural a miss as I want to have time to make more cocktail hats.  I am really low on stocks as I sold 6 hats last month at MAAD. This came as a surprise because I thought sales would be slow in January. Several of the cocktail hats sold were prized at S$90 and I was very happy when customers commented that my workmanship is very good. Yes, thank you....that's what I strive for.  And only one customer (who bought a sale item) asked for discount but I have to politely refuse. It is my policy not to 'bargain' with customer because I am already selling at very affordable prices. For similar size hats, it cost double in USA, Australia and UK. In fact, with the price increase in millinery supplies, e.g parasisal (or hand-woven straw) now cost double. I may have to increase my price very soon. Furthermore I spend a lot of time designing and crafting a hat that I feel I should not do myself dis-service by selling low.

The milliners of Etsy is organising another hat challenge. This time, we will design a hat based on a painting that we choose. I am pushing myself to take part as this is a good way to improve on my skills as I will be trying new things. I only hope that fellow Etsy members will not use an existing piece to take part in the challenge. I understand that some have no time to make new pieces but to use an existing design or the same piece and try to fit into themes defeat the purpose of this challenge. I am bringing my class to National Museum for the Dreams and Reality Exhibition next Wednesday. I look forward to masterpieces by Degas, Courbet and especially Cabanel's Birth of Venus. At the moment, I have picked one of Diego Rivera's painting as my inspiration but am hoping that the paintings from Musee-d'orsay Paris will further inspire me.

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