In the Studio – The art of creating a Custom Bridal Headpiece

Today, in the twenty first century, we live hurried lives.
We barely have time to sit down and breathe and when we do, we can’t help but fill those few seconds with likes and shares and buys and downloads and… who knows what’s going to be next!
As a milliner, though, my life follows a completely different rhythm to most people’s.
To craft bridal accessories and bridal headpieces, I need to slow myself right down and abide by a very careful and precise process. One which, has been followed by milliners around the world for centuries.

One which, takes time, commitment, craft and compromise.
Find out how your custom bridal headpiece is crafted in my Perth studio My day starts early.
Perth is barely showing its beautiful face when I’m already in my studio planning the day ahead.
A very important part of my work as a milliner, and one which I adore, is to personally meet each of my brides.
A face-to-face appointment helps me understand the style and personality of the bride and have a very clear idea of what she wants.
I also like to reassure each one of them (over a lovely cup of tea, of course), that everything that comes out of my little studio is a one-of-a-kind headpiece that will be lovingly custom made to match her vision.
I so love these appointments.
There’s just so much excitement about the future in the eyes of a blushing bride! And it truly is contagious!
We sit down and look over the photos of her dress, her jewellery, her shoes… some of them even show me their mood boards on Pinterest! (After all we live in the twenty first century!). Discussing their ideas and the theme of their wedding helps me create a clear picture in my mind of the overall look and feel she is after.
Then, it’s dress up time!
The bride gets to try on headpieces and veils!
She gets to sample laces, fabrics, crystals, pearls, feathers…! We look like two (or three, many times mom comes along) little girls having a tea party dressed up in fancy rags and jewellery! At that point, I’m ready to roughly ‘build’ the headpiece so she can see exactly what it will look like and I draw a provisional sketch.
        Crystal-headpiece-Sketch                   Crystal-headpiece-Sketch-2
Crafting Bridal Headpieces: A true labor of love
Once the sketch is finalised, I begin sourcing and ordering the components of that headpiece.
I have a weakness for the most exquisite materials – fabrics, crystals, beautiful laces, feathers and pearls from France, Italy, Spain…! And there’s no doubt in my mind these quality materials give the headpiece a stunning feel and exquisite finish that will photograph beautifully on the big day.
I can also incorporate brooches, jewellery and fabrics from Grandma’s wedding dress or other sentimental objects into a headpiece or accessory. This is a wonderful way to keep a precious memento of loved ones and to pass something so treasured on to future generations.
lace headpiece being pinned Drawing done, fabrics and crystals sourced… it’s time for the sewing to being!
I love the brides’ reaction when they see all those luxurious silks, chiffon, organza, crystal, and pearls… sprinkled across the table for them to choose from.
I hand-stitched every single piece and component using traditional millinery and couture techniques.
There is no compromise with my work.
It’s all very carefully designed, crafted, and finished.
Laces are stiffened and trimmed to size ready for any beading. Well, when I say “laces are stiffened”, I should really say, I (Holly), stiffen the laces!
Just like I (Holly!) sew every single Swarovski crystal, pearl and delicate seed bead on.
Bec's crystals and pearlsIn fact, I should underline the word sew because nothing gets glued in this process.
I prepare all the crystals in little bowls so I can see the colours and shapes together and then begin the intricate beading process.
How long does this process take?
It all depends on the design, but a bridal headpiece can take me anywhere from 5 hours to 36 plus hours to complete.
They are true labours of love, as no two are alike!
(And while my poor hands feel the pain by the end of the day the exhilaration of having made something so beautiful just makes it all worthwhile!
But don’t you imagine that makes things easy fKirrilee headpiece in the makingor myself!
Being a perfectionist and having an eye for detail I will often redo anything I’m not 100% happy with until I’m completely satisfied!
Over and over again! Front and back!
Because don’t forget that the back of each headpiece is just as important as the front and all Holly Barker Millinery headpieces are strengthened and backed to protect the delicate fabrics, so they can be re-worn and kept to pass on to future generations!
A joyous and collaborative process
Brides usually come to me a few months before their wedding. This is ample time to have the headpiece created and to organise other accessories like shoes and jewellery. (Orders usually take 4-6 weeks to complete).
Some brides like to be kept up to date with particularly intricate pieces, so I ‘m always happy to send them progress shots along the way to check that they are happy with how it’s going.
I generally like to have the headpieces ready for the brides to take to their hair trial.
This is not a common practice in our industry but I find it’s really handy for brides and hairdressers to have the bridal headpiece or wedding accessory with you, so you get a clear idea of how it will all look before the wedding day.
  Once completed, headpieces are boxed up ready to be collected by the very happy bride to be.
Would you like to experience the magic of the bridal headpiece-making process for yourself?
Give me a call today on 0405 823 076 or get in touch via email. Together, we’ll bring your vision to life!
New Limited Edition Ready to Wear One Off Bridal Headpiece Debuted on the Catwalk at One Fine Day Wedding Fair
Discover Holly Barkers NEW Ready-to-Wear bridal headpiece collection. Perfect for brides that don’t have the time for custom made.