Thursday, December 9, 2010

1000 custom woven trulyhats labels!!!!!!

I just ordered 1000 custom woven labels.


I've been "going to definitely DO this this year!" for about ten years now.
The things that have been stopping me for these last ten years have been:
  • Even companies that say they have "low" minimums" seem to want to ship you zillions of these, and charge you over 200 bucks. Not a small committment there.
  • I have very low level graphic design skills, and reasonalby high standards.Also, I had no concrete ideas for a logo. I knew that I absolutely did not want to have a hat pictured on it. (too Kitchy, maybe?) I also knew that I didn't want it to look at all like the iron-on name labels that mom put in all my camp clothes. That's all grand, but knowing what you don't want does not a logo design make.
Then I found some custom woven label companies on ebay - they had VERY low minimums - I could have spent as little as $45 on this project! (Course, the real price break came at 1000 labels, but even that was under $100, shipping included!)

I decided that if Anne Klein and the like can have labels with just a name on it in a clear but identifiable font, mine could be similar. Here is my final design, which is on its way to me MAYBE in time to get them in the 12th Night hats:

The company name has always been Truly Originals, but they are only ever referred to by customers as "Is that a TrulyHat?"

 If I love them, I'm set for labels for about nine years.

(I hope I LOVE them)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Preparing for 12th night!

Ok - I've been the busiest hatmaker I know. Here's a random brain-dump of various prep for my merchant booth at 12th Night.

First of all, I've learned a valuable Merchanting lesson: Book as much space as humanly possible, and do not assume that the MerchantCrat has any idea at all that no everything can be easily sold from behind a single table.  I booked an 8' space, assuming (again- my bad) that it would be like last year - an 8X8' space. It seems that instead, I have in fact reserved a single 8' table, and that's it.  Harumph. Ok - time to make lemonade. I've totally redesigned my selling concept, and have figured out how to get the 60 hats (largest number ever!) I hope to have ready, all on an 8" table and two elevated spinning racks.
Oh! Spinning racks of coolness!

Pleeze to be oohing and ahhing over my birfday prezzie:

Looks AWESOME, no? It holds 15 hats, which looks like it will be 12 flatcaps and three cav hats on the top rung. I LOVE the way it looks, and have figured out how to scrunch it into my table space, so will be ordering a second one for the rest of the flatcaps and cav hats. I'll have to hand them over the table, which isn't the way I've worked before, but hey, it's not the end of the world.

Anyway - ain't the rack awesome?

Also for my birthday, I got a beautiful box of Styrofoam heads. (yeah - I know. It's what I wanted :)
Aware that Styrofoam heads are not as classy looking as they might be, I spent some time this weekend covering a couple of them and padding the necks up to a reasonable size so that they will be able to wear some of the Renaissance Tailor's Bee-oo-tee-ful ruffs. Now, every other attempt I've seen to cover styro heads with fabric has resulted in something that reeks of bodies in a bag, so my expectations were low. I'm way more impressed with the results than I thought I'd be:

They also keep with the theme of "black store fixtures", so I'm extra pleased.
All in all - here's 80% of what's going to be for sale at 12th night:

And...AND! I and some real progress on my new French hoods that I've been going on about in previous posts. Here's the black linen coif - made just like all my white ones, but, you know, black:

and here is the actual "Hood" part, with billament strip and veil attached. (It's part of my new theory on these.)

I kinda threw my hair together alast night and tried it on, but I had respirator marks on my face, so you don't get any pictures of that. I need to adjust the braid placement a little, but it totally worked! I don't know if I'll have any of these in the shop this time, but it is really exciting and rare to come up with new projects that require Research and Development. That kind of time is really precious, so I'm thrilled to have made some progress.

Other than that - Got the white custom ordered Cav hat started, and it's in the shop drying - with a sign on it that says "Don't touch me till you wash your hands!!!" I've found the perfect blue trim, and have fabulous white feathers for it, and she'll be just gorgeous.
Also got WELL along with the Green custom ordered Cav hat. It's all wired and ready for the ribbon on the edge. I need to choose a hatband, but I've got a cornucopia of green feathers which I'm just salivating over. It's going to be a little non-standard, and totally made of awesome.

Found the best silver trim EVER for the purple one too. I've been saving it for something special, and this is definitely IT! Going to look ROYAL, that one.

OK - and that's entirely enough.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Found a picture of my old French hood!

It's a pretty funny picture, but at least there IS one.

French Hoods - rethinking again and again

So - Ages and Ages ago, I did what research I could and came up with my version of a french hood.
I wish I had a photo for you, cuase it actually doesn't suck, and I still occasionally wear it (to my husband's great disamy, since I can't hear very well in it.)

Recently, I've discovered Flickr, and some amazing collections of images of effigies in various English churches.

 The fabulous French hood 3D side views I've found on these sites are making me totally rethink how I should make a reproduction French hood.  Here are some of the images I'm inspired by:

Though there are still a number of options in my head for what layer might be part of what other layer, I've done a little experimentation, and I've come up with some serious improvement over my earlier efforts. 
Hopefully tonight will provide a little more time in the shop to work on  the outermost layer, and then I'll be able to grab some process shots of what I'm thinking.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Two Cavalier hats, and my budding designer

New lovely red and black cavalier hat, size 23", I believe, with a 4 1/2" brim.  Really came out like a million bucks. I'm thrilled that I'll have some of these at 12th Night for sale (including this one). Especially since they are looking SO NICE!
 Here's the first completed custom ordered Cav hat. Yummy chocolate brown and all ready to go to his new home. First of six custom orders! I adore the new, sturdier blanks; they are worth the additional cost (to me) (I'm not passing along the increased cost over my usual large blanks.) (yet) (hopefully I won't ever have to, since they reduce the time and trouble and produce a knockout product.)

And finally, a lovely photo of the hat that my 10 yr old son "designed." He did this by digging through all my trim to find the "prettiest one" and INSISTING that I use it on THE hat I was finishing that moment. May I say that it is much better to cooperate with him rather than to keep trying to work (ignore him) and discover that he's cut  1-foot long pieces of five different really nice ribbons to "sample them" to "see if they work".

Fortunately, I think this is fabulous, so he's very interested in who this one goes home with. I think it's a 22"

New custom order finished!

Simplicity can be just gorgeous.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cav hat progress and the blue beaver

SO - A productive hat morning!

I got to size five hats today, some of which are of particular interest. I've got one of the custom Cavalier hat orders pulled, sized, and wired, and it's working so well that I went ahead and ordered the rest of the blanks in the other requested colors. Though they were not the cheapest blanks out there, this particular company does several steps for me (blanks are indivudulaly made to order with the crown/brim break right where you ask for it to be, and you can specify a nice small starting headsize, which means no chance of having to shrink a head opening) AND seems to produce a thick, luxurious product. They are sturdy and lovely to work with, and I'll be proud of the end result. I call that a win! Here's the first custom order-in progress, in chocolate brown fur felt.

Here is a prototype of a similar in-progress hat, out of a rusty brown velour fur felt. It's coming together nicely, but these blanks can only be used on the larger headsize hats, or on this particular curvy topped block, which uses up the height of the crown that is naturally in the blanks. With these - one size is all they offer, and it's more like a 23 for starters.  It's coming together very nicely, and will look gorgeous all finished up. The color is sortof like russet velvet. 
 Now, in order to use these velour blanks,  I CAN cut the brim and the crown apart, pull and stiffen them separately, and reattach them. I've got two black cav hat prototypes that are going this way right now, and are working fine. Sadly, that technique adds about 50% more time and isn't as clean looking as all-in-one.

Also, I am finally using a one-of-a-kind blank I was given by a friend back in Ontario. It's a long-haired blank, very probably beaver fur. It's also screaming blue, and dyed the whole bathroom when I pulled it.

I have to say it has really exceeded my expectations. It looked like a hairy, nasty mass, till I got it stretched on the blocks, and then brushed in the direction of the fur. (Which I learned back in grad school to most professionally refer to as "with the kitty.") Now it looks all gleaming ad well-groomed and silky.
Still electric blue :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feathers, blanks, and two finished Cav hats!

Finally got some pictures of the lovely new feathers and blanks that came in!

Grey, white, chocolate brown, olive, gold, and black. Loving those green ones in particular, as you will see.

Below are the hat blank samples that I just got yesterday! There are two brown ones with wide enough brims for me to make the pre-ordered brown Cav hat (GS - this means you! Do you want me to try for the bronzey chocolate one in the center, or the slightly tanner but still definitely brown one on the left? The so-called "emerald green" one on the right is more like "screaming kelly green",
which is not what I think you were interested in, but let me know.)

So - OK cavalier hat folks. I've made a few cav hats, to see how it works. Below are the results of my initial experiments. Two hats are currently finished and available, neither of which were part of the pre-orders. Here's the first one, a VERY sweet, sueded fur felt hat, size 22, with a smallish brim (for a cav hat.) I have some more of these blanks, but this is the widest possible brim I can get out of them. It's perfect for someone who wants shade and style,
but who is a little less flamboyant.
 Looks great on ME. :)

Here's the second one. A large (size 24, I think?) very WIDE brimmed wool felt cav hat with those yummy olive green feathers and matching green band. Came out lovely and clean, and I've got a call in to the supplier of those blanks to see what colors I can get them in. This blank was a dream to work with.

Second shot of same hat, with kitten, cause I'm just kinda like that. 

And - that's all for today!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cavalier hat spa therapy

The 12 yr old Cavalier hat reblock and repair project is DONE and mailed off! and looks just almost like a squeaky brand new hat. Here's a before picture, with kind permission from the man himself:

He's looking pretty spiff, but the hat looks like it could use a vacation. Below is the same hat after its visit to the TrulyHats Spa:

I'm thrilled with the way it came out. It got a bath, a steam, a brim press and re-sizing, a new wire on the edge and a new ribbon. It also got a new decorative hatband and a fabulous new gold feather to match.

Yay hat-spa! It's all mailed off. I hope he loves it.

New Hatblog - first post!

Yay new hatblog!   Not too much here yet, but I'm hopeful that I can keep the hat news flowing. Here is where I hope to add photos of hat progress and what I'm interested in and working on.  I figured out how to link this blog to the website (which turned out to be stupid simple), so I'm feeling all techno-pleased with myself.

This last weekend, I worked on several hat orders and finished two preliminary Cavalier hats. (watch for them in the Store to get a preview.) I'm generally happy with them - especially the little camel suede colored one. She's so sweet I may just need to keep her. Wait, who am I kidding - I almost never KEEP them, especially after I decide to. The first hat I sell is usually whatever hat I'm wearing.

I added a few Links, too, but it's still pretty skimpy there. Now that all this is up and running, I'll try to make that more robust as well. Lots to do!

I'm thrilled to have ordered hat blank samples from my both usual place and a whole new supplier (to me) out of Tenessee! I'm really excited to receive those in the mail and try them out. I have one more place to order samples from, and then it's try-them-all-and-decide time.
I've also got four new brim blocks coming from ebay. In short - I'm in TOTAL HAT MODE!