I love hats and always have, as a little girl I would enjoy dressing up in my Granny's collection. My passion for vintage fashion began at university and I longed to wear a 1920's cloche hat. Unfortunately, I have a huge head, hat size seven and three quarters( I blame my Dad) so these beautiful creations just wouldn't fit me. I collected a variety of styles made from felt, straw and velvet, dating from the 1900's to the 50's and not one would go near my enormous bonce !
The answer came to me with the fashion in the late 80's for soft fabric headgear, I would make my own. I drafted my own patterns and when I had perfected the fit I made them in corduroy, tweed, cotton and linen. As an extra touch many of them had appliqued and embroidered details.
They started out just being for me and then friends asked if they could have one, eventually I ended up making them commercially. Every Saturday I had a stall at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, this was brilliant until the IRA put a stop to proceedings with a terrible bomb that ripped the heart out of the city centre.
So many years have passed, my passion for hats is undiminished, I started making hair adornments featuring my butterfly 'hatchlings' about 4 years ago.
These are still popular for ladies who shy away for a complete hat.
A couple of years ago I noticed the work of milliner Karen Geraghty, on Face Book, her business name is Mind Your Bonce. Her hats are so beautiful and combine references to vintage fashion with wonderfully, witty touches. We started conversing and this led to a collaboration on a couple of autumn/winter hats. One featured a tweedy moth and the other a wool Monarch butterfly.
Later we created two spring/summer hats featuring a dragonfly and a silk butterfly.
The really lovely thing was meeting Karen and her husband in the queue at last year's Liberty Open Call.
Finally this December I had a lovely commission to create a cocktail hat for a Christmas wedding. The customer sent me details of her outfit and I knew she had a love of butterflies, so once again with the help of Karen, the Monarch hat was born.