As in my previous post, I mentioned that I always look forward to visiting Parkin Fabrics roadshow in September, especially when they start the roadshow off in Bristol as you can be assured of first pickings. Often if we follow on after London, the best of the stuff has already been taken. However this year, Bristol was first and I arrived at 8.50am to get first dibs. I have to say that their prices seem to have risen and I was a bit ‘gobsmacked’ at some of the pre-formed felt forms that they were charging (considering they are fast pressed industrially). However, undeterred I purchased what I needed for the coming year. Something that they do not supply, and for which I now realised is vital when working with delicate fabrics, are non slippery soft gloves. I have just done two commissions which used delicate silk and satin trims. As a milliner, your hands work hard, they are often damp and the skin becomes quite hardened around the finger tips, this is disastrous when handling ‘snaggy’ materials. I had to use some soft cotton gloves, which were slightly too big and therefore made manoeuvring the silk and satin difficult and clumsy. I wonder if there is anyone out there making dressmaking gloves?

On a purchasing note once again, I set off to visit Owen at Guy Morse-Brown, the wooden hat block maker near Devizes who can pretty much turn any design in my head into a hat block. I bought three more vintage small crowns and ordered two bespoke designs. Can’t wait for them to be done so that I can start creating more wonderful vintage style hats.

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