Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer is Here...Cover Your Noggin!

Just dropped off some new hats at Bonnet Boutique...just in time for all that summer sunshine...or so we hope?!  You can never be too sure what summer will be like in fact they are calling for rain this weekend...but we do often get some very hot weather and one of my snazzy fedoras or caps would be a lovely way to provide some shade for your noggin!

I'm using some colorful and textured prints for my fabric fedoras and caps letting that be the dominant decorative aspect of the hat with some simple trim for accent.  I tend to be a minimalist in my designs compared to the BIG hats that some milliners are making these days.  I think subtle design is classy and elegant...and quite honestly I believe it takes more thought and talent to place a simple trim "just so" than it does to pile on stuff everywhere.  I also want people to be able to wear my hats...those big hats are great for special occasions but most people won't want to wear a gigantic flower on top of their head for everyday walking down the street or on their way to work.  Here are some photos of two hats now available at Bonnet Boutique...a fedora and a cap:

Sage and Ecru Flower Print Fabric Fedora


Turquoise Linen-Textured Floppy Beret Cap


Next up...I'm working on some color-themed hats and I've got some beautiful orange ones in progress.   I also have a plan to try a series of hats designed with a "distressed look" to's going to take some considerable effort on my part as I'm such a crazy perfectionist but I think it will be good therapy for me to let go of that.  In August I may be selling my work at "The Hip Happening" taking place in Sellwood which should be a lot of fun...more details coming up soon.
always remember that life is a journey...
it really doesn't matter where you're going
just make sure you're wearing a hat when you get there!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fat Cat Hats and Sacks is Now Available at Bonnet

I'm very excited to announce that my hat designs are now available at Bonnet in the Pearl District here in Portland.  I just dropped of my first round of spring and summertime hats for women and in a week or two I will add some designs for men...and today we talked about including some of my purse designs as well!  Yipee!

The women's hats that I brought them today are all fabric sewn hats with the detailed top stitching and color accents that I love to do.  I made them light and airy for a sunny day and in some cases blocked them with tulle rather than the usual heavier foundations that I use to construct my hats.  Here's a peek at one of my favorites:

I used a rosey shantung to create a cloche with a six-sectioned beach hat crown and an asymmetrical brim...and then trimmed it with a brooch that used to be a vintage earring.  I top-stitched the crown sections and along the edge of the brim...the tip of the crown has an "art deco" feel to it due to the way I attached the sections and the stitching that follows the seams.

I'm now brainstorming on the men's hats I will take to may be a little while as I've been told that the men in Portland are rather conservative in their hat wearing and the colorful fedoras I've been making probably won't work.  Simple blacks, browns, greys and olives are the colors preferred by Portland men...and they often seek an opinion from friends, partners and others before making a least those men who shop at Bonnet...which surprises me living in the land of VooDoo Donuts and the Portland Zoo Bombers but it only goes to show that there is a lot to learn and consider when you try to make a living as a hat maker!

Bonnet is located at 412 NW 11th Avenue in the Pearl District.  Everyone there is super nice and they have a wonderful selection of hats and accessories for men and women.  I hope you visit them...and perhaps buy a hat!   Meanwhile...

always remember that life is a journey...
it really doesn't matter where you're going
just make sure you're wearing a hat when you get there!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Hat Fit for the Queen

I've just entered one of my hat designs in a Talenthouse competition hosted by Dillion Wallwork and HATalk e-magazine.  Milliners from around the world were invited to create hats inspired by the Queen of England and her Diamond Jubilee.  The hats can be seen from May 4th - 11th and viewers can vote for their favorite to help the design receive special consideration by the judges.

My entry was inpired by the Crown Jewels...and the Imperial State Crown in particular.  I used elements from the Royal Collection to create a modern day tiara-styled cocktail hat that could be worn while celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  I made everything by hand...from the wire frame supporting the hat to the crystal brooch and hat pin I used as trim...and it required a lot of hand-sewing to assemble it.

I chose a beautiful royal blue/purple silk velvet to create the coils of the headpiece as well as the velvet feather...I played with the edges to create a feathery appearance as I often do in my designs.  I hand-dyed the veil slightly lighter than the velvet so the tiny details in the fabric and trim could still be seen and I swirled the veil to create a crown-like effect.  Then, I made the cross pattee brooch and royal septre hat pin by wrapping and weaving swarovski and vintage crystals with sterling wire.

The design is secured on the head with small hair combs and can be worn in many ways...tilted back on the head like a traditional tiara or tilted more to the front or one side of the head. Here are some other views:

My submission is now available for viewing on the Talenthouse website and I would be so grateful if you voted for it!  Voting opens on May 4th and continues through the 11th.  Here is the link:

always remember that life is a journey...
it really doesn't matter where you're going
just make sure you're wearing a hat when you get there!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Feathers are for the Birds!

Some of my best friends are birds.  Every morning after I make myself a cup of coffee and feed the kitties I put walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts and sliced almonds out in the big tree by the kitchen window.   When the crows see me they let everyone in the neighborhood know it's time for breakfast...and within minutes a menagerie of birds...and squirrels...are feasting in the tree and on the lawn.  It's a morning ritual for me and the kitties...we sit at the window and watch...and for the birds too...they gather and wait for me to appear.  It's a nice friendship.

As a hatmaker I think quite seriously about the materials I use...where they come from, how they were produced or obtained, and the effects they have on the environment or the quality of using feathers on my hats has been a rather big issue for me.  I certainly understand why they are so fashionable and why other designers use them in their creations...feathers are very beautiful...but it's impossible for me to set aside where they come from just so that I can make a hat.  I love hats...and I love making hats...but feathers belong on birds. 

Not to get too preachy the Turn of the Century when the millinery and plume industries were at their heyday entire species of birds were wiped out...gone forever!  The devastation was so bad that strict laws had to be put in place and groups like The Audubon Society were formed to prevent anymore damage.  And now in present day...animals are kept on farms so that they can be used for their fur, skins and feathers.  They are raised and killed in ways so horrible that I can't even get myself to write about breaks my heart.

Sometime ago I gave myself the goal to discover as many cruelty-free ways to create a feathery-look for my hats as I could and I was thrilled when I stumbled upon some wild clematis on one of my walks through Portland.  When these flowers turn to seed they become puffs of feather-like flues!  Since then I have been collecting not only feather impersonators but all sorts of organic creatures like seed pods and withered leaves and flowers to use in my designs.  I just finished two hats that include pampas grass as feathers and flowers made from garlic skins for the trim.  Take a peek:

These hats are now available in my etsy shop if you want to see more photos or get more details on specifics of the hats.  In the meantime...
always remember that life is a journey...
it really doesn't matter where you're going
just make sure you're wearing a hat when you get there!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Study in Grey

I'm growing quite fond of the color grey...something that comes in handy when you live in the Pacific Northwest or when you look in the mirror and realize you really are getting...uh...older.  But my love for grey is more than just really is a beautiful color.   It's misty and moody...and subtle and quiet.  It can be classy and traditional when all on it's own or lively and flamboyant when in the company of others...I particularly like it with orange, fuschia or yellow. 

This affection for grey has inspired me to work on a series of hats...some in only shades of grey and some in combination with other colors.  I've just finished two dove grey felt hats...sort of his and hers...a fedora and a beret.  Both hats are hand-blocked...the fedora has a wide and full crown and the beret slopes over the side of the head.  I trimmed both with hat pins that I made with hammered sterling silver wire and two beautiful pieces of black silver leaf jasper.  Take a peek:

Both hats will be available in my Etsy shop starting Jan 5th if you want to see more views or buying details...wouldn't you and your honey look smashing in them!  And more designs in grey are in the making...meanwhile...

always remember that life is a journey...
it really doesn't matter where you're going
just make sure you're wearing a hat when you get there!

etsy shop:
facebook: Fat Cat Hats and Sacks