Interview with a Dublin Milliner Part 1 by Thomas Bartlett

What made you decide to become a milliner? I’ve always had an interest in millinery and one Sunday I decided to sign up for a one day course in The Irish School of Millinery. I absolutely loved it and have been making hats ever since. Over the next couple of years, I took some courses with Jeanette Pegley-Reed and Davina Lynch to get the basics laid down correctly. Since then I’ve been mainly self-taught through experimenting with different millinery materials, fabrics, etc

Where do you get your inspiration from when you are coming up with a new millinery collection or piece? I usually pick a theme, then I do a mind map of ideas for that theme – then focus on one idea and hone in on that idea to create a collection – for example my S/S16 Collection was all about the rainbow and the bright vibrant colours of the rainbow.

What is your process? Once I come up with my theme I then source what fabrics, beading, materials I’ll be using. After that I block my bases for my collection, wire them, and cover them with my chosen fabric. I also spray a lot of my pieces too and sometimes the embellishments on the pieces, add the embellishments, line them and then finish the hat off – ta-da complete!

Although it’s not as quick as it sounds! There’s a lot of time down time in-between each piece – you have to wait for bases to dry and stiffeners to set, then spray paint to dry and gloss to dry!!! A LOT of drying! I usually try to make 4/5 pieces a go so I can be working on one while another dries…It can take between 4-8 hours per piece. Not including inspiration, drawing and conceptualising.

What is the last item of clothing that you added to your wardrobe? A lovely sparkly top from one of my favourite shops in Dublin – Om Diva!