Design Consultations and Private Appointments – Are they really as Scary as you think they are?

One of the surprise repeat confessions that I receive from my customers is how intimidated they were to reach out and make their first appointment. Apparently not attending a shop front business can make clients very uneasy. Concerns raised were along the lines of “Will it be too expensive when it is custom made? What if I don’t like her designs? I will feel so guilty if I chose not to proceed with an order.”

Now to let you in on the first custom design secret- design consultations are a two way street.

A new client always means a surge of creativity for me. I love design consults.

When I sit and listen to the client describe the feel and look they are seeking for their day, I am being asked to think outside my own experiences and put myself in their shoes. So many of my original designs owe their existence to the design consults with my clients as new thinking makes me contemplate components or designs outside of my usual style. If you chose not to go ahead with a design, I consider that I have already received payment for my services in the form of creativity (and often a new design for my range.)
Clients are not wasting my time, they are giving me theirs.

Now for the second little secret – Custom made does not necessarily mean more expensive and it often means that your dream headpiece becomes a reality rather than a compromise.

Many of my clients will arrive with pictures of a few different styles that they love, but they can’t decide which style is their true favourite. Custom design means that clients may not have to choose one or the other. I can combine the favourite elements of the pieces and turn them into a truly unique piece. Further design appointments ensure that there is time to tweak the designs as they progress, giving the client as much or as little creative control as they feel they need.

Compare this with on-line purchasing. How many of us have ordered that on-line gem, only to be disappointed when the item arrives and we find that it does not suit as much as that lovely model on the webpage? How many of us return items we are not happy with? My cupboard is full of these never used, not so perfect gems and my wallet is the much lighter for all of them.

My business is home based so I do not have to contend with the expenses of running a shop front or employing staff. The lack of these overheads is reflected in my pricing.
Appointment times can be more accommodating and flexible for the busy schedules of today.
My design consults are free and most definitely “No Obligation”.

So what does actually happen after you have made an appointment to come and see me? What can you expect?

Firstly, you will be welcomed with a smile ….
I will then usher you through to my workroom where we will sit down.
One of the first things I will ask you is “How do you picture yourself on the day?” My job is to listen to what image you have created in your head for your day and to start to think of details that could bring this to life.
I will ask you about being indoors, outdoors, church, beach, overseas etc? All these questions help me to ensure that I have thought of details such as size of package for travelling, religious requirements, anchorage of your piece, and suitability of the piece for the type of occasion.

You do not need to know what you want exactly at this stage that is the fun of a design consult. It can lead you down many untravelled paths. I often say to clients, I learn more from what they don’t like because then when they see something they do like, it is very clear to me they feel that way.

If you do have a concept in mind at this time, I can create a simple prototype at this meeting for you to visually check that the proportions, height, size etc in the pictures are suitable and this is where client input is crucial. I can advise tweaks, additions or alternatives for you to consider, but the design is reached collaboratively. If you are unable to visualise the piece at this time enough to be comfortable with the direction, I will recommend that I create the prototype to a more advanced stage for you to come and check again before you make any decision. I like my customers to be confident with their design choice and to be comfortable that it is going to suit the occasion.
Please be aware that I will not copy other artists’ works. I can create a piece that will echo the elements but still be a unique design.

I am very happy to share with new brides the insights I have received from years of feedback from bridal clients and photographers. The accessories are often an afterthought to the dress, but if not chosen correctly, can instead of complimenting the outfit, distract from the overall look.
I will walk a bride through the many varied headpiece sizes and positions and draw their attention to how they would look in photographs that may not have been considered. I will explain the types, materials, cuts and falls of the many varied veils available along with the positioning of them to highlight areas they wish to draw focus towards or away from.

Once a design has been settled upon, the next stage is for me to send you a written quote wherein I will detail the important notes and preferences made at the consults for you to check prior to proceeding.
Custom design items may not be given a flat price initially as often there may be a design variation that the client may decide on as the piece progresses which may affect labour or material costs. How I manage these variations is to supply a minimum and maximum range for you in the quote so that as many of these variables can be accounted for. At any time that I think a client’s request would be out of the quotation range, I would notify them of this before commencing the changes. Often I find the end cost will fall in the mid range of the quote.

If you are happy with the quotation, a written email reply from you accepting the quotation is sufficient to place your order in my workbook. If the quote is not accepted, the design is never commenced.

As an example of how the collaborative approach works, here is one of my recent Brides “A’s” design journey.
I received an email from “A” in which she sent me a few pictures of headpiece designs that had interested her as well as her dress before her appointment.
“ A” loved the feather band look but not as solid as shown plus she also wanted a diamante feature to compliment her dress sleeves.  I have tried to find the source for these images where it is not shown so that I can credit the designer or business but was unable.  If you know who they belong too, let me know so I can give the proper credits.

Screenshot_2016-01-17-13-18-01_resized bridal Feathered Headband Screenshot_2016-01-17-17-05-54_resized Screenshot_2016-01-17-17-09-16_resized Screenshot_2016-01-18-12-44-02_resized

At the design consult, “A” decided that she liked the look of the band extending further across the crown so we achieved that by breaking up the diamante motif and adding the smaller portion over the crown.

diamante bridal headpiece



Her hair was to be in a side bun leaving a space to the rear of the head looking sleek. After discussions about having more points of interest in her photos, it was decided to extend the feather pad to the rear to add a feature that would appear in photos taken from behind of from the side.  Below is an image of the two feather pads that I created for the design.  “A” liked a more feathery edge than a solid line, so the feather placement was a little wider so as to leave gaps in the outside edges.


Here is the completed design.   I always try to build flexibility into headpieces to allow for last minute changes to hair styles etc on the day (often happens).  For this piece, I made the rear feather pad moveable so that it could be re positioned up or down on the day.  It is also on a wire frame that can be curved and molded to the head and hair shape so as not to flatten the style if it was not as sleek as planned.

The diamante pieces also have a flexibility in that the shape has support that means they can be changed or tilted on the day for better positioning if required.  This piece has multiple anchorage points so that “A” would not have to worry about the piece slipping or moving on the day as the hairdresser could use multiple pins as well as a substantial metal hair comb  to keep it securely in place.

Feather and  diamante bridal headpiece


Feather and diamante bridal headpiece

This piece is now on its way to the other side of the world for “A’s” special day in late April.  Once the day is over,”A” has given me permission to post photos of her wearing it but as for now it is still a big secret……

To help you to see if custom made is more expensive, the final cost for this piece was $260.00 as the diamante motif was not Swarovski crystals which managed to reduce costs.

I hope that this post has made the thought of having a custom designed headpiece not so daunting for you, and I would love to help if you are having trouble finding “just the right one.”

till then


Posted in 1920's Bridal Headwear, 1950's bridal looks, Bohemian Bridal headpieces, Bridal headpieces, Custom Bridal Headpieces, Diamante Bridal Headpieces, Feathered bridal headpiece, Vintage bridal headpiece, Vintage Hollywood Bridal Glamour | Leave a comment

A Bridal Hairpiece for Short Hair

Hello Everyone.
After starting this post I realised how long it has been between updates.
My business life over the last two years has been turned upside down due to a change of health within my family circle. This has made me cut back on a lot of areas so that I can be of assistance when needed and unfortunately, keeping up the blog became very low on the list of my priorities.

What has drawn me back to blogging……a recent headpiece challenge that I had not dealt with before.

How do Brides with a very short (shaven) or pixie haircuts position a headpiece to stay in their hair or find enough ways to anchor the piece?

Leanne came to me with this problem after trying headpieces on in other shops and not having any success at getting them to stay in place. The position that she wished to wear the lace headpiece had very short hair so combs or pins were not going to be sufficient.

An alternative that I have used in the past is using velcro on the rear of the piece to “grip” the hair but because of the size required, this may not have been enough to anchor the lace, as she wanted to wear it quite forward on the face. We then explored the idea of making a frame which extended to the other side of her head that could be buried under the longer top hair and secured with pins, but I still had some concerns that the shorter side may not be anchored sufficiently.

Oh the dilemma….

The Solution?

short hair bridal headpieces

For short hair, sometimes compromises have to be made so as to ensure that the piece is properly secured throughout the day. Leanne’s compromise was having a slightly larger piece than she had anticipated initially, but during the consult it became clear that she did not want to have to “fuss” with her headpiece during the day. She just wanted to put it on and forget about it.

I made a custom shaped frame for around the top of the forehead from millinery wire that could be molded to Leanne’s head shape by applying hand pressure. The frame was seated at her hairline and extended around the sides like a pair of sunglasses. Being positioned so high on the hairline meant that the piece could not slip down (even when she shook her head) and the piece could be easily adjusted during the day by herself – no hairdresser required. (although her BFF was attending as her hairdresser)

Bridal hairpieces for short hair

Bridal Hairpiece for Short Hair

The larger lace side feature sat forward and above her hair and was wired so that the petals could be 3D’d away to be more front facing, with soft extensions falling onto the forehead to soften the line. The front right frame extended up above her hair line in a pleasing curve before sweeping along to the side above her ear.
Having the frame so far forward meant that Leanne could style her hair in the usual way of having height at the top (think Miley Cyrus but better) without the frame interfering. The wired lace sat comfortably on top of her hair without flattening it as may have occurred if she was to wear it further back.

So don’t despair if you have very short hair – there are ways to give you a fuss free day.


Posted in 1920's Bridal Headwear, Bridal Headpiece for Short Hair, Bridal headpieces, Custom Bridal Headpieces, lace bridal headpiece | Leave a comment

Passchendale’s Accessories Closure

If you have found this blog, I am sorry, but I have to tell you that Yes, Passchendales Accessories in Perth is now closed.

Don’t panic though, I would love to help design your new piece of headwear for any occasion.

I have had a few frantic phone calls recently from previous clients of Passchendale’s Accessories as they were unaware of the closure of this business.  The confusion has arisen through business details still being available on-line but with no physical shop present.

I offer a very friendly, relaxed and personalised design consult service with business and after hours appointments available.   During the design consult,  I ensure that I  have understood your requirements and preferences for your headwear.  If required, I am able to dye the millinery fabrics to match your outfits.

So if you are looking for a hat in Perth, I would love to help you .

Till we meet.



Posted in Hats In Perth, Milliners in Perth, Passchendales Accessories | 2 Comments

A Very Special Wedding

It is not very often that I get to attend the wedding of my clients and get to see my pieces in their full glory, but March 1st this year was different and very special.

It was the wedding day of my niece Peta and her partner Dave.

orange blossom bridal veil

Peta and Dave

Peta, while studying in Perth, would come and help me in my workroom during my busy times and make my silk flowers and do the beading and wiring of the headpieces for me as well as help  at the bridal fairs that I attended.  She always kept me amused with her quirkiness and would often sit working with a bouffant veil or headpiece on at the workbench “for inspiration” in her words.  There would be many changes during the day as the ” inspiration” required.  I was very sad to lose her skill and joy of life in the workroom when she finished her education and then moved on to her now new position as a researcher on Christmas Island, but am very proud of her personal achievements.  Her partner has the dream job of a marine biologist at Exmouth from which he has taken leave to follow her to Christmas Island while she follows her career.  A firm start as partners in their life journey together.

Although we had over a year to decide a headpiece for the outfit, Peta couldn’t narrow down her choices easily after working in the business and knowing what was possible.  The final decision was made with 10 days to go due to those sort of Murphy’s Law circumstances that you never think of.  Peta had started her new career on the island and due to one volcano and its released dust, was unable to leave the island for 2 weeks – not something that you would ever account for in your timing.  :).  This caused many headaches – hen’s night cancelled, final dress fittings, and of course, headwear decisions…

This would also be the only headpiece that I have made blind to the dress design.  I chose not to know what her dress looked like so I could be surprised on the day, I only knew the silhouette and feel of the day. Peta had a dress  design that she had envisioned and was able to collaborate with the very talented and helpful team at Paula and Jo in Oxford St Leederville to create her vintage look outfit.

The wedding was held at her parents’ property in Stratham which has a beautiful expanse of lawn and natural habitat landscape that provided a beautiful backdrop for both the day and night events.  The weather was absolutely perfect – I think after all the trouble getting to the day , the god’s must have smiled on the couple as it was a very pleasant evening to be outside and enjoy the occasion. (apparently there was 400m of bunting hand sewn here)

outdoor wedding seating

Peta and Dave live by the “Re-use, Recycle” mantra.  Peta, family and friends had spent many months collecting the crockery, candlesticks and centre piece items from Op shops, trash and treasure meetings etc  to complete the table settings for the day.  Family members made plum sauce and other preserves to complete the look.  (These were highly prized to the point that people got off the bus to go and retrieve forgotten jars).  The apple place card holders were eaten by many too.

Shabby Chic table setting

The night light transformed the settings into a private canopied area.

Wedding bunting and fairy lights

The lighting around the gardens created beautiful night time backdrops.

Bridal Veil and Bridesmaid- bush wedding

The advantage of having such a large expanse was that separate areas for guests to meet and mingle were created and well used by the guests.  I think the whiskey, port and cigar lounge was the big hit of the night with many people trying out  cigars for the first time.

whiskey and port lounge2Whiskey,port and cigar lounge

Another nice area was the family history one which had an old manual typewriter that where personal notes to the couple could be written.  The younger attendees could not get their head around there not being a delete or backspace key…..

generational  family weddingsThe wedding ceremony was held within the natural environment of the property in keeping with their strong environmental beliefs.  I had envisaged that the wedding would occur on the grassed area so when I was told that she had over a metre length train on her silk and fine beaded lace dress and “no – there isn’t going to be any carpet”.  Throw in a fine tulle cathedral veil on top of this and you can imagine what was going through my head.  :) . I didn’t ask Peta if she had told Paula and Jo the terrain that their handiwork had to contend with either.  Needless to say – the dress and veil survived and survived beautifully too.Bush Setting weddingFor Peta’s veil we combined the look of two eras to make a contemporary look.  Her dress was a combination of the bias cut Vionnet dresses of the 1920’s , the Grace Kelley elegance of sleeves and lace and the contempory backless dress of today.    Paula had described to me the styling of the dress as classic but sexy- which after seeing it, I would agree.

Peta did not want to cover up the beautiful detailing on the back of her dress with too many veil gathers, so the design of the veil had most of the fullness gathered to the sides and mounted on to a frame over the top of the head. This design does not readily allow the addition of a blusher veil which Peta had always like the romance of.  The lifting of the veil for “you may kiss the bride” moment can be quite magical.  We overcame this by the addition of  a tulle visor veil that was attached to the sides, but could be pulled over the crown if she elected on the day not to wear it down. (which is what happened – but she had the alternative if needed)  I sewed some of the lace garland areas to the rear of the crown of the veil to add detail over the hair and to tie in the lace of the sleeves.  The 1950’s addition to the piece was the small corsage of orange blossoms added to the side gathers.

These following pictures show the beautiful detailing of the lace of her dress and veil as well as the cut and fall of the skirt. (and as the terrain that they had to traverse).

bias cut backless wedding dress

I love how the following picture has the sunlight highlighting the details.

This is a closer picture of the detail where the visor veil can be see worn to the rear and resting over the crown.  The orange blossom side detail can just be seen peeking through.

Backless lace wedding dress

And this is a picture of the orange blossoms during their construction – still very raw and untrimmed.

silk bridal orange blossom

The bridesmaids wore dresses of the same hue, but different style dresses from the 1920’s era.  The girls all had different personal styles, so Peta elected to have the design flexible to account for the personal tastes.

A wired garland strand of crystal, pearl and silver beading was added to a silk organza flower.  The garland could be worn over the forehead, over the crown or draped to the rear and it was long enough to be bent and curled into a flowing design around the head or a hairstyle if required.  The girls did wear them differently on the day .

Below the piece is worn over the forehead 1920’s style.  Peta’s niece is being carried here as the little flower girl.  Her dress was an exquisite lace creation.

Bridesmaid flower headpiece 1920 styleBridesmaid hair flowers and accessoriesHere is the detail of the silk organza flower.  This style flower is named Honni.

bridal silk flower organza bridesmaid headpieceWeddings are now one of the few times that our large extended family seem to get all together these days, so I take these opportunities to record these moments in time. My mother commented to me on the day that when she was looking at the family’s wedding history photo area, she looked around at the crowd and realised that their union had created so many families.  This photos captures 4 generations of my family (minus the bride and groom)

4 generations

I think growing up in very much a man’s world may have contributed to my love of all things “girly”  Below is a rare picture of myself, my four brothers and younger son together, enjoying the comfort and company of the port, whiskey and cigar area. (I notice that the Winston Churchill cigar is not in my hand – I spent 20mins trying to give it to somebody with no takers)

harveys and dixon

Peta, Dave and  parents, thank you for all the work that went in to making this event so enjoyable for all that attended.  Something that goes that seamlessly, doesn’t happen by chance.

To Peta, I love this picture below, as it shows so clearly the joy, love and happiness that you as a bride were feeling on the day.   All the best thoughts and wishes for you in the rest of life’s adventures.  (Get the guest room ready at Christmas Island )

Beautiful bride

Posted in Beaded Bridal lace headpieces, Bridal headpieces, Bridal Silk Flowers, Bridesmaid headpieces, lace bridal headpiece, Orange blossom bridal veils, Tulle Birdcage Veils, Vintage bridal headpiece, Vintage Bridal Veil styles | Leave a comment

1950’s Bridal Sweetheart Pillbox


It is not very often that I get to make actual “hat” headwear for a  bride these days, so I just wanted to share my excitement about my latest commission .

Nadia came to the studio wanting some headwear to match her shorter style cocktail bridal dress.  Her first ideas were along the lines of a round pillbox or of an airline hostie’s shape.  We played around with these shapes for a while till I remembered that I had made what I called my “Sweetheart” hat block and brought it out for Nadia to see.  I think it was love at first sight (or should I say first fitting.)

A hat block is a firm shape that millinery straws and felts are stretched over under steam to make them conform and stay in that shape (along with many other processes that I won’t bore you with here.)  When I am experimenting with a new look, I will carve and sand polystyrene foam into a shape that I think will make a pleasing style.  Once I am happy with the shape, I will then block my materials over it and through another process make this block very hard and strong so that I can be quite firm and rough when I stretch the materials over the block.  It also needs to be able to withstand a fair amount of steam and pressure, so the blocks have to be very durable.  Below is a picture of my block – the blue one on the left.  The lighter one on the right is my reject in ivory which has now been stored for a later date – I blocked the hat and then remembered that this was a white hat not an ivory.  I have included this in the image so that you can see what a “raw” hat looks like before we work our millinery magic.

Pillbox Hat Blocks

Sweetheart hat block and blocked sinamay hat

Nadia wanted the sinamay base of the pillbox to be covered in her lace that was on the bodice of her dress.   I shaped and then applied the lace carefully to the sinamay so that it looked continuous without too many double lace areas.  This is the picture of the lace that Nadia supplied.

Nadia's embroidered lace

We toyed with the idea of embellishing this lace, but deferred this decision to a later time as this is something that could be done as the final trimming.  Just as well, because the final decision was to leave it as it was.  :)

Nadia fell in love with my retro style four loop silk bow and thought that this would be an ideal trimming for the top of her hat.  She left with me some beautiful white duchess satin silk which had me purring at its touch – I can’t help it, I am such a textile girl. With fabric, I can be attracted to the print, but if it does not make my hand want to glide over it, the fabric will remain on the roll.

I made this bow slightly smaller and reduced the lengths of the tails to be proportional to the hat base.


Nadia also had  a piece of jewellery already that she wanted to include in the design.  I used the pearl/diamante brooch in the centre of the bow as a feature.

Pearl Brooch for centre of bow

Nadia decided upon a long asymmetric visor veil made from russian veiling that would  drape softly over the top of the hat and  bow and tuck behind her ears at the side. The reason the visor veil was decided upon instead of attaching the veiling to the hat was to allow for Nadia to remove the veiling at the reception but keep the pillbox on during the rest of the event. To help tie the two pieces , I added a little bit of veiling to the rear of the bow to give the hat some height detail.

And here is the completed hat sans the visor veil. Apologies for the poor photo but as per usual, I was taking picture’s of this as Nadia was waiting for me to box it up for her.


retro 1950s lace bridal pillbox hat

Sweetheart Bridal Lace Pillbox

During the design consult I had mentioned to Nadia that the hat would need some veiling height at the the rear of the hat for balance.  It was not until the pickup appointment that I realised that Nadia had imagined with some concern, a humongous veil gathering at the rear of the hat and was coming to pick up her hat with some (a lot) of trepidation.   When the hat was placed on her head I noticed this huge wave of relief come over her face, and when I asked if there was anything that I could change, she laughed out loud and then went on to tell me the story and explained what she had imagined the rear veiling would be like.  We both had a good laugh about how hard it is to describe a picture with words effectively some times.  Just as well I have such trusting clients.

Nadia all the best for your day – your company and hat was a joy to be around and the hat has a lot of love sewn in.

Update – Nadia just sent in these gorgeous first photos from her day.  I love the lighting achieved in these pics by Velvet Photography.  Thanks for sharing.

Bridal tea length dess with pillbox head wear accessory





Bridal tea length dess with pillbox head wear accessory

Posted in 1950's bridal looks, hat making, lace bridal headpiece, Pillbox Bridal, pillbox hats, Vintage bridal headpiece, Visor Birdcage Veil | Leave a comment

Flapper Style Headband using Relative’s Heirloom Jewellery

Beth’s wedding is being held in January 2014.  Unfortunately for the family, there will be one member whose absence will be sadly felt on this special day.  Beth was trying to find a way to include this member in their ceremony so family members could feel near to her on the day.

Beth arrived with a piece of the relative’s jewellery and was hoping somehow to include this in the design of the headpiece.  The brooch reminded me very much of the bracelet from the Wallis Collection designed by Cartier.Wallis Simpson Leopard bracelet

The brooch was hinged in all the different segments which made it very easy to use as a cover for a ribbon headband as it was able to bend cleanly over the top of the head.  The head and the paws were left to drape over the side of the head which allows them to move slightly.

Ribbon,crystal,diamante flapper bridal headpiece



Here is Beth’s Mr Leopard.  I tried very hard to call this Mrs Leopard, but for some reason, it was more natural to say “he” instead of “she.”  Beth said that she had the same problem, so we just gave up, and so Mr Leopard he became.

At the design consult, we decided that the head was better close to the ear as it wanted to just naturally fall that way and it allowed for the head and paws to fall in a more balanced position for the piece.

Beth is styling her hair with some height at the top and with a sleek fringe at the front which lends itself beautifully to a ribbon headband.    Beth was also very fond of the swags of the diamante, crystal and silver chain as in another of my designs called Starkiss Swing seen below. These swags drape onto the forehead and add some softness to a sleek fringe with a flapper 1920 style.

Flapper 1920 diamante, crystal bridal headpieceI sewed all the individual swags onto a ribbon headband first which as you can see in the picture below, just looks like a beautiful chaos up close.   I count myself lucky to work with the beautiful materials used within the bridal industry and for a girl that was never too keen on bling, I now have to stop myself adding it to absolutely, (and I mean absolutely) everything.
Ribbon,crystal,diamante flapper bridal headpieceThese trimmings need to be draped in position on my vintage hat blocks to ensure that the fall of the swags are correct.  I originally used to do these flat on the table, but then discovered the moment that you asked them to fall on a rounded, oval shape, (a head), they did not fall correctly.  There is lots of putting on and then taking off the block to sew each of the swag’s anchor points.  (plus a few un-pickings….aaagghhh)

Once I was happy with the drape and fall of each swag, Mr Leopard gets attached into his position.  In this picture, I have placed a little bit of black leather over the silver comb so that it didn’t detract from the final look in the photo.  I love how his paws are different lengths giving the illusion that he is lazily draped over a tree branch.

Ribbon,crystal,diamante flapper bridal headpiece

This ribbon headband has a comb at the front and an adjustable elastic rear to help with the anchorage of the piece on the day.   The elastic at the rear will be covered by pulling some hair over it and then placing it in the bun on the top, leaving only the ribbon visible at the sides and front.

Here is Beth’s Mr Leopard ready for his big day.  I love to think of the image of your relative sitting on your shoulder showering you both in love on your wedding day.

Happy new memories Beth.

Ribbon,crystal,diamante flapper bridal headpiece

Posted in 1920's Bridal Headwear, Bohemian Bridal headpieces, Bridal Garland headpiece, Crystal beading bridal headpiece, Diamante Bridal Headpieces, Diamante Chain Bridal headpiece, Flapper Headwear, Heirloom Jewellery Bridal Headpiece, Heirloom Jewellery for Weddings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Black and White Wedding


Beautiful Sally

Sally was married during 2012 and  had chosen the very elegant black and white wedding colours for her bridal party.  She had fallen in love with a dress style that had contrasting black lace draped from hip to the bust but her problem was finding a replacement lace similiar to add to the style of dress that she had already chosen from Aubrey Rose Bridal.   Eventually, after several twists that could be the plot to a novel, she managed to find exactly what she was after.

Black and White wedding dress

Sally gave me some beautiful jet beads of all different shapes to embellish this beautiful lace.  When you are given such a large area to bead, it becomes very hard to say “enough”.  You keep thinking that there is room for “just one more”

Black lace on wedding dressHere you can see  some of the details of the jet bugle beads with clusters of round beads for the centres of the roses.

wedding dress with black laceThe silk flower motif was embroidered originally on to a tulle backing which was cut away after beading and then it was stitched on to the dress in the sideways cascade displayed with a beautiful feature on the hip.

black and white wedding partyI love how the softly styled hair of all the bridal party adds to the elegance of the two colours for such a timeless photo.

Sally did not want to extend the black colour theme to her hairpiece, so using the exact lace but in ivory, I constructed a 3d type flower out of the lace  to copy the floral theme.  An asymmetrical russian veiling birdcage veil was added to the rear of the flower to complete the headpiece.  This was made as a separate piece so that Sally had the option to remove the veil if she wished but still be left with a bridal look for the rest of the day.  (I think the wedding dress may be a give-away though. :))

Black and white wedding dress

The center of this flower (Style = Monet) was embellished with random size pearls and diamantes to give extra texture to the centre.   The petals and leaves are able to be bent, curled and fluted to positions that suit your hair on the day.

Black and White wedding dress



black and white wedding dress

The Monet flower sits quite flat (small profile) on the hair, so it tends to look less dramatic or pronounced than a natural or silk flower when worn to the front of the head.   The picture below shows how the Monet does not dominate the hair in this photo, but is just a soft addition.

black and white wedding dress

It was so much fun meeting Sally and designing these pieces.  I was very grateful to add another fabric wholesaler to my list  due to Sally’s many hours of research and thank her again for supplying these images so that I can display them here.  I love these next two photos – they make me believe in happy ever after.  Thanks again Sally.

Black and White wedding dress

black and white wedding dress


Posted in Beaded Bridal lace headpieces, Birdcage Veils, Black and White wedding theme, Bridal Silk Flowers, lace bridal headpiece | Leave a comment

Holidays at Last

December and January have been a flurry of activity in Hat Camp.

I managed to  hold 7 millinery classes during this period as well as finish off all my February Bridal orders – pheewww – I need a holiday —–so I am going to relax in tropical climes next to a pool and hopefully with a pina colada in hand along with a few good reads that I have been promising for myself over the last year but have not had time to get to.

I will be checking emails daily but I will not be taking any phone calls or making appointments during this time.

Only two more sleeps…..

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Bridal Lace Headpieces- To embellish or not to embellish….

Lace is such an historic fabric associated with the wedding dress.  I love it and I love working with it and I am so lucky working within the bridal industry that I get to handle and work with such beautiful pieces of fabrics.

Brides will often bring in little scraps of their fabric unaware that a beautiful headpiece may be hiding in plain site.   I work with fabric everyday so I often forget that others don’t “see” my grand vision for a piece of fabric and how I can sew the beautiful swan in what others see as an ugly duckling.  I decided to post these before and after pictures to help show what I can see in your beautiful fabric.  :)

Embellishment can be very subtle to a few pearls and clear crystals and beads, or it can be a fully encrusted piece that totally changes the look.

For example, here is a the Daisy Lace headpiece in its standard form.

Bridal lace beaded headpiece

Daisy Lace headpiece

The bride who wanted this design had a belt on her dress that was heavily encrusted with pearls.  I made the addition of extra pearls to help match the two.  What a difference a little embellishment can make….

Bridal lace beaded headpiece
Daisy Lace Embellished


Lace can be cut out and joined together to  turn into a 3D headpiece such as the Juliet pictured below.

Bridal lace 3D headpiece

Juliet Lace


I have cut and joined various elements of the lace to turn it into this flower that can be raised and rippled to give a 3D effect as the headpiece.  I have used silver and diamante beading to highlight areas of the design.  The stamens have been created from pearls and bead.

Guipure lace bridal headpiece

Juliet headpiece

What a difference a bit of embellishment……

Below is the lace used to create the Wisp headpiece.   It is a beautiful curlicatured guipure lace which just screams ‘embellish me please’

Guipure lace bridal headpieces

And here is the beautiful piece that has arisen from this lace.

Guipure lace bridal headpieces with diamantes


The highlights for the Wisp piece are ribbons of diamantes along the curlicatures with centre features of Diamantes.   Small silver bugle beading adds to the other areas.

This lace is a standard type of corded lace that is used on the bodices and hip areas of many bridal dresses.  It often comes with a tulle backing.

Corded  Bridal Lace

I had already started to embellish the lace when I though that it would be a good example for this post.  I started by putting diamante chain and a few diamante flower centres together.

Guipure lace bridal headpiecesThis client liked the teardrop pearls as centres but wanted very minimal pearling to the rest of the piece so I sewed silver bugles and diamante chain as a light embellishment.  To embellish or not to embellish – the problem is sometimes I find it hard to stop – there is just that one more blank spot that I could possibly sew something else.

The Sianne lace below is another example of a lace typically found on the bodice and hip area of a wedding dress.  It is a corded lace on a tulle backing.

Guipure lace bridal headpiecesHere is the Sianne piece in its finished glory.  Amazing what a pair of scissors, needles and beads will do…   embellish me please.

Guipure lace bridal headpiecesThis one the client was wearing on the left hand side and had the lower curlicature kiss her cheek near her ear, and then the right extension came onto her forehead.   Beautiful.

Here is another type of lace that is heavier and more detailed.  It is often used as a strap for bridal dresses or as adornment on the bodice.  When I see this piece of fabric I can sort of understand how it is hard to visualise a headpiece from this.  I am able to take a leaf from there, a flower from here and then join them into a totally different look or ‘footprint’ for the headpiece.

Guipure lace bridal headpieces

Here is the same lace that has been totally altered.  I have used flower AB crystals and pearls to this piece, but you could easily just go pearls and diamantes if you wished.

I hope that this post helps to demonstrate how your beautiful piece of lace can be worn in many ways with just the addition of a little bridal magic.

Posted in Beaded Bridal lace headpieces, Bridal headpieces, Crystal beading bridal headpiece, Diamante Bridal Headpieces, lace bridal headpiece, pearl and lace headpieces, Vintage bridal headpiece | Leave a comment

Bohemian Bridal Headpiece Diamante and Crystal

Clarissa came to her design consult with a beaded headpiece that she wore all the time and loved and wanted to use it as a basis for her bridal headpiece.

Clarissa knew that she wanted diamantes as well as crystals for her piece but wanted to keep the overall look quite delicate but still dramatic.

We headed off to our local bead shop to narrow down the colours and choices of beads.   I already had the diamante metal ribbon used on the bottom row just because I am a hoarder of all things blingy – I can’t help myself when I see something shiny I just seem to magically come home with it.

We decided upon a beading combination of one silver bead to one crystal which I think worked really well.  The centre front and back joins were covered with a diamante centre piece whichI adhered some felt  to the rear for comfortable wear.

Please excuse poor Diannah – she is still getting over Melbourne Cup Madness and hasn’t done her hair yet.


Bohemian Bridal Headpiece

Bohemian Diamante and Crystal Bridal Garland

On the sides, the garland was swagged to give it a softer look than Clarissa’s original piece.  This also allowed for a few more curls and volume under the piece so that the headpiece did not give the dreaded ‘hat hair” look.  This then doubled as a place to anchor the headpiece with u pins

Bohemian Bridal Headpiece

The rear was left soft and loose to allow for the extra volume of hair planned for the day

Bohemian Diamante and Crystal Bridal Garland

 The diamante ribbon for this piece is no longer available, but I am trying to source something similiar as I think this piece is going to be one of my favourites for this year.

Update – thank you for all the positive comments and queries regarding this piece-  for some reason the replies are not always displaying on the post so I will answer them in the main window.

This piece can be ordered through this website – just use the contact email. The price for this piece is $320 but costs can be reduced by using different materials. The top strand of this is hand made with swarovski crystals and beading,  so every little link has been turned between my fingers.  Sometimes finding other pre-made chain can reduce the costs.

I have been unable to get exactly the same diamante ribbon as displayed but I am now sourcing different styles or a similiar replacement and once I have them I will post them


Posted in Bridal Garland headpiece, Bridal headpieces, Crystal beading bridal headpiece, Diamante Bridal Headpieces, swarovski crystals, Uncategorized, Vintage bridal headpiece | 10 Comments