To create these totally unique caps and cloches, I've had to collect all sorts of embroidered items such as tablecloths and napkins. I also decided to utilise some pieces of fabric that once belonged to my beloved grandmother. She'd kept a few christening gowns, several of which were so old that they were literally falling apart. However I managed to salvage a couple with some embroidery work worth showcasing on a hat. Dying them blue gave the material a new lease of life and I was able to cut a couple of caps out of the long skirt panels. There's something very moving about imagining the human memories held within the weaves of the material. I also love the idea that embroidery is such a tactile and very real display of time spent creating something beautiful. Everyone is vaguely aware of how time consuming it is, so there's no way these little works of art should be neglected or kept hidden away in a drawer. Placing them on a hat is a celebration of needlework, however big or small, and a way of holding on to the little things that once meant so much to someone.
The exhibition 150 Years of the Royal School of Needlework: Crown to Catwalk runs from 1st April - 4th September 2022, at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.