I am often asked what goes into creating a custom chapeau with MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®.
As a true custom millinery, the creation process for each hat is as unique and individual as the woman who will wear it.
To discover their uniqueness I begin by asking each customer a lot of questions. Is this hat for a special occasion? What colors and styles do you prefer? Do you already have an outfit for the hat? What fabrics do you prefer?
A sketch is the next step toward creating a custom hat design. A longtime stick-figure artist at heart, I am amazed how much I love playing with the colored pencils!
If the customer is trying to match the hat to an existing outfit or a color she has in mind, I ask that they mail me an actual swatch of the fabric or a sample of the color since computer monitors all translate colors differently. Customers have sent me everything from swatches to paint cards to Crayola crayons for clues along with shoes, dresses and purses.
At last the design is finished and approved by the customer.
Then the actual creation begins; I get out my tools, crank up my favorite tunes (anything from Kat Edmondson to Yo-Yo Ma) and dive headlong into the new chapeau.
Like painting, the art of hat making is a statement of individual style and expression, both mine and my customer’s.
My fabrics are my paints which can be textured, bold and bright or soft, silky and subdued. The hat foundation itself might be created out of dupioni silk, 100% linen, silk organza, shantung, tapestry or velveteen. Trims such as rose curls, leaves, sashes, bows and Marguerites are fashioned out of organza, silk, taffeta, chiffon and charmeuse.
The excitement builds as the hat foundation fabric is marked and cut. The hat is then prepped and stitched, yielding a sumptuous canvas upon which the trims will be layered and blended.
A custom MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® label is carefully hand stitched into the lining of the hat.
Trims are folded, pressed and basted, and then handstitched together, one by one.
Accents such as buttons, beads and bows are hand sewn into place.
Once the hat is finished and meticulously checked, photos are taken by my artist husband, Tom Steinmann.
Finally, the hat is ready to go. In the morning before she is shipped, the hat is final “tweaked” to make sure she is just perfect.
Most hats ship in a custom MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® hatbox which is lined with vanilla colored tissue mounded to create a comfy “nest” for the hat’s travels.
A garment tag is enclosed with a postcard and the buyer’s receipt.
And another MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® chapeau sets sail from Cape Cod.
In a few days, I check in with my customer to make sure that their hat arrived safely and that it fits well. Often customers will send me photos of themselves wearing their chapeaux which I add to my Photo Gallery pages at maggiemae.com.
Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses and letting me share my creative hat making process with you!
Until next time,