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Sarah Havens' Profile

About

I have been making hats for 20 years for professional theatre companies, but now I opened a studio to create my own line of fashionable hats. My hand–made hats are made using either the hand blocking or a cut and sew method. If I am working on a new design I start by choosing a concept for the season's collection. I then collect images and research things that represent my concept. From these ideas I do a sketch. Then I choose a block from my collection of antique and modern hat blocks. When I block a hat I start with a shapeless felt or straw hood. I steam it to get the wool and straw malleable in order to shape it over a hat block. After each hat is formed in straw or felt I then remove it from the block and cut away the parts that aren't part of the design. I then size it to an appropriate stiffness; add millinery wire to the brim to keep its shape; and then add the sweatband inside the hat. Then I add trim and lining if ne…

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  • Female
  • Joined April 11, 2010

Favorite materials

Fur felt, leather, vintage broaches, feathers, waxed cotton and wool

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About

I have been making hats for 20 years for professional theatre companies, but now I opened a studio to create my own line of fashionable hats. My hand–made hats are made using either the hand blocking or a cut and sew method. If I am working on a new design I start by choosing a concept for the season's collection. I then collect images and research things that represent my concept. From these ideas I do a sketch. Then I choose a block from my collection of antique and modern hat blocks. When I block a hat I start with a shapeless felt or straw hood. I steam it to get the wool and straw malleable in order to shape it over a hat block. After each hat is formed in straw or felt I then remove it from the block and cut away the parts that aren't part of the design. I then size it to an appropriate stiffness; add millinery wire to the brim to keep its shape; and then add the sweatband inside the hat. Then I add trim and lining if needed. I then style it with a little steam and pinch it in certain places to compliment and frame the clients face in an attractive way. Weather it is a hat based off a traditional style or a free formed hat, like my cloches, I strive to make the hat suit each individual face.
For the cut and sew method I start with a paper pattern that I draft from a sketch or photograph. To make final adjustments in fabric, I then make a mock up of the hat in muslin or something inexpensive to the final fabric choice. The finalized pattern is then cut out in different fabrics; sewn together; and trimmed to create a soft easy care hat. A sweatband is then sewn in place, but can be easily replaced to add longevity to the hat.
All my hats are well made and well designed with the intent to last a lifetime.
My inspiration evolves out of work I have created for the stage, ranging from the whimsical, to special occasion head wear, to the classical millinery styles that can be worn every day. I have created my own line of original fashionable hats, while still offering traditional styles such as straw, fur or felt top hats, fedoras and straw boaters. I offer similar hats for women with a feminine flair. The classic look of these hats endure not only because of their lasting impact of fashion history, but the purity, simplicity and beauty of their forms.

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