I loved doing millinery in college. I still have one of the hats I made back then and its hung on the wall of every bedroom I've had for over 20 years.
While it was technically made for a production of Ah Wilderness! it was also the end project for a millinery tutorial I was taking and my ever generous professor dubbed it classwork and therefore mine rather than theatre stock when the production was over. When I signed up for Bustle Hat class this winter, I had visions dancing in my head of all the wonderful hats I would make now that I was taking up millinery again. And I have a 24" circumference head so doing it myself was pretty much the only way to find hats that fit me.
The instructor for my current class was wonderful (I've never taken a class from Historical Sewing that I didn't enjoy), I loved the people in the class, I loved seeing their hats come together. But this time around, millinery just wasn't fun for me. I'm discovering I have carpal tunnel or arthritis in the thumb and wrist of my left hand (and I am left handed) and all the pushing and pulling of the needle thru the buckram was really aggravating it. I am determined to finish the hat... I don't have the space to store a lot of UFOs , but mostly because I'm planning on it being my HSF #7 challenge. However, I am probably not going to make another buckram frame hat in the immediate future. Which posed a problem, because I had been planning on making a big Titanic era hat with black and white striped fabric roses on it for the Black and White challenge in May.
Something along the lines of the flowers from center hat combined with the size of the hat on the left (image originally from artstalentsencheres.com)
So I was in need of an idea for the Black and White challenge. My own personal parameters for the HSF challenges are that a challenge entry either has to really excite me (the 1920s rhinestone heeled shoes), or be something I need/be something I have a decent chance at actually wearing.
I'd brainstormed with Jay but the best thing that came out of that was a pair of black and white spats, which weren't a terribly exciting project.
Then a series of serendipitous and mostly unrelated events occurred.
1) I found a charming retro looking book patterened silk at my favorite fabric store, but didn't buy it because I didn't have any conceivable use for it and had spent a LOT of money on fabric recently.
2) They announced another Speakeasy Electro Swing Atlanta happening in May (on my birthday weekend!)
3) I ran into the lovely proprietress of ArchiteuthisHats on a 1920s-30s group I joined on Facebook
This got me to thinking. I had an absolutely kick-ass hat that I wore to the swing dance at AnachroCon with a decidedly subpar pseudo-40s dress from Lands End.
My hat from ArchiteuthisHats
If there was going to be another Electro Swing Night then I would really need something better to wear. Something cool in both senses of the word. Something like...silk. Hmm that book patterned silk had been black and white, hadn't it? And pinball machine lights and bells went off in my head. Best of all, the Electro Swing Night was 5 days before the challenge was due so the timing was just about perfect.
So it was back to the fabric store again and serendipity was still with me. Someone had clearly bought most of the bolt since I was last there and the clerk, eyeballing it, told me that there wouldn't be enough. But the fates proved him wrong and after he measured it all out, darned if there wasn't exactly the amount I needed left. It was like it was waiting for me. And I have the mockup of a 40s dress I started pre-AnachroCon but tabled due to time.
My fabulous book patterened silk
I also picked up some luscious black silk charmuse for a retro slip to go under the dress. Both fabrics are currently sitting in my studio taunting me to finish the darned bustle hat (and then the UFO challenge) so I can start playing with them! Oh and my Victorian Corset class is starting so I need to devote time to that too. All in all, its looking to be a busy spring!