pakenham races - 2016

There’s a few things which I really love about attending the Melbourne races. Not only do I get to dress up and join all the other gorgeous people who love it as much as I do, I am also inspired to create a headpiece for each race day which I attend! Only a couple of times have I worn a design by someone else.

Millinery was one of the skills which I learnt but decided not to make a career out of it. With the skills I learnt, I now design my own headwear. I love creative millinery for the races. Up util now, I’ll have to admit that it’s been pretty easy to pull together pieces, made with pre-made bases. Not that there’s anything wrong with them but I wasn’t pushing my creativity to it’s potential.

With the last few headpieces, I was determined to create some head-turning designs which required a little bit of time and effort to construct. The results were very satisfying. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to start taking orders, there’s way too much on my plate for that! I’m just happy that I’m capable of creating some special pieces.

Pakenham Cup

This was what I wore to the Pakenham Cup, late last year. It’s made from high gloss Swiss Braid which has been hand-stitched together and wired to help keep it’s shape. To add a different texture, a bit of veiling was sewn over the open section of the headpiece. It’s a simple, stylish piece which received a lot of compliments and looks very couture. Keeping it in one colour means that it can be worn with many different outfits and allows for some colour to compliment any outfit.

Creative Millinery for the races

Creating such a headpiece really doesn’t require much training in the art of millinery. Anyone with some hand-sewing skills can do it. The design is the hardest part of creating things. You just have to be a little creative and know what tools you need to help you get the results that you’re after. In the case of my lovely white Swiss Braid headpiece, some hidden stitches and wiring was all that was needed as the Swiss Braid likes to keep a stiff shape anyhow. No hat block was required for this one.

Creative outfit and millinery for the races

Why did I choose Swiss Braid? It’s plastic looking but the braid and the sheen makes it look luxurious. Shape it into the right design and it looks like an expensive piece. You can free-form Swiss Braid or you can shape it around a hat block and sew it into shape. Disk shaped hats and boaters are popular designs for Swiss Braid. It can look a little too plain just on it’s own, but add some other materials for contrast can make it look a whole lot more interesting – even if it’s in the same colour. That goes with a lot of different materials used in millinery. Mix and match materials to create a piece which is unique and eye-catching.

Swiss Braid is something which I’d love to do a little more with. There’s still some race days left before winter hits us so hopefully I’ll be inspired to create some more pieces! It’s fun to throw on a nice dress, but it’s something else to be able to wear a great headpiece to finish the outfit off. I’m sure a lot of you would agree!

Do you make your own headwear just because you love to create?

Dress: Cameo Collective “Kiss Land” Dress
Shoes: Wayne By Wayne Cooper
Headpiece: My own design
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