The Making of a Milliner by Jenny Pfanenstiel

The Making of a Milliner is a short, easy-to-read introduction to the art of hat making. Covering examples from cowboy hats to hat pins, fascinators to cloches, the book has some easy projects for beginners to follow. Despite the excellent amount of photograph examples and directions, I did find the book to be a bit thin, especially on the inspiration side. But everything needed to make a hat (or hat pin) is included.

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The book shows how to make the following hats: wool cowboy hat, plastic fantastic cloche, straw brim hat, fascinator disk, bridal fascinator, horsehair fascinator, and a jinsin fascinator. Hat accessory instruction include making a feather flower and hatpins. Other topics covered include measuring a head, choosing a hat (face types e.g., round, square, etc.), what is a milliner, embellishments, caring for your hat, and setting up a hat studio workspace. Where to get specific supplies such as hat blocks is also included.

At 140 pages or so, the book did feel quick. That means it can be viewed as focused or slight, depending on what you are looking for in a millinery book. Certainly there are many other books on the subject of hats alone and this is intended as a starter how-to and not a comprehensive bible on the topic. But at the same time, I wish I had been more inspired by the examples, which honestly did feel a bit art-school beginner.

Thanks to the excellent photographs and step by step instructions (including where to get the very specific supplies) this is definitely a solid 4-star how-to book. It’s a great way to get started in making one’s own hats for costumes or self. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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