To start this gorgeous ruby inspired headpiece, first of all, we need to block the buntal mat. This is a 16” buntal mat in Red from Hatters Millinery Supplies and is priced at $27 and this was blocked on the presser part of the block FHBS01 from Hat Blocks direct.
As you can see, I’m using some wool to hold the buntal into place along the groove and once secure the wool was wound around the only pin in the block to hold it. I then cut the remaining buntal away so we can work on that whilst the base is being stiffened. I went ahead and stiffened the base off-camera.
Using a steam iron and a towel, I applied steam to the inner edges of the buntal mat - this will help loosen up the straw and make it easier to work with. I turned in the edge on itself and kept pressing with an iron. I then I found that the towel held heat, so it was easy to do more of the folds in one go, to avoid any iron burns. This was then sewn down with some millinery wire in the fold.
I’ve removed the base from its block and folded in the raw edge with some wire and sewed it closed. Now I’m attaching the brim to the base, using matching thread and hiding the stitches as I go. I get around ⅔ of it done and gather the excess brim together as shown and sew these together. Now I can carry on and sew the rest of the brim down. To finish the hat construction, I sew down the end of the brim to the base of the hat. If you are recreating this, I would suggest adding the Petersham ribbon in now as it was a little tricky to do so when I did later on.
Now to make the flowers. I’m using Nagoire Feathers in Red also from Hatters Millinery Supplies. Ok - I’m not actually sure if I can explain this but ill try! Cut out petals from the feathers - it’s up to you how you do so, but I wanted long skinny petals. Use long even cutting strokes to avoid the petals looking uneven. A good tip is to smooth out the feather first to ensure you have an even cutting surface.
Next cut strips of sequin film - this is an offcut I received in a mystery bag from petershams - and was the perfect colour for the inspiration - I cut strips around 3-5mm wide. These were then sewn together to create the stamen. I positioned a feather onto the stamen and using thread, wrapped this around the feather and stamen to hold it into place - I repeated this step with all the feathers cut for the flower.
To finish the base, I used this remnant of abaca from B Unique Millinery and wrapped it around the base to hide the thread wrapping. I did insert some millinery wire to help sew it down later but it wasn’t required, so I would skip this step.
To finish, I sewed the flowers into place and added a couple of Swarovski crystals in a dark red to the base, just to catch the light from the side. It was at this point, I added the Petersham ribbon, which was fine, but I kept catching the feathers when sewing, so if I was to make this again, id put the ribbon in before adding the feather flowers.