Pretty Nostalgic

I was really chuffed when I got asked by the lovely ladies at Pretty Nostalgic magazine to do a write up about my millinery and what inspires me, but where to start?

The story of Daisy Darling is a personal one that began with me making cloche hats for my daughters, Eleanor and Martha and it grew from people stopping me in the street and asking where they could buy them. At first I just produced childrens millinery but I soon realised after watching customers trying to squeeze their heads into them that it was time to focus on adult designs!

For me, millinery is a real labour of love; hard work but artistically fulfilling. It takes upwards of two days to manufacture each hat but my clients know that the end result is unique. The art of bespoke hat making is a skill which could so easily have been lost without the support of customers wanting something unique and understanding the importance of something being handcrafted.

The felts themselves are sourced from British supplier Baxter, Hart and Abraham, a Luton-based family business who have been trading for over 200 years. Britain has a huge history in millinery. Places such as Stockport were once home to over 100 hatting businesses and now even boasts a museum dedicated to millinery.

The hats themselves are blocked on antique blocks in the traditional way. I don’t use a pattern, preferring instead for each piece to be individual. The smaller pillbox style felts are more difficult to shape but can be piled high with wonderful vintage flowers. To me they are like the cupcake of the millinery world, a small base topped with delicious looking flowers and trims. They are always worn at a slight angle and further forward on the head making them ideal for occasions like weddings.

The cloche is my favourite style as it looks great on most people and can be made in felt or straw. It frames the face and gives the wearer a slightly coquettish look as they peer from beneath its brim. It’s a classic 20’s style and became popular due to the fashion for shorter hairstyles and drop waist dresses. It gives me lots of choice with trim from simple felt shapes with vintage buckles to antique silk flowers and vintage French ribbons.

I source original trims from antique fairs, dealer friends and The Vintage Bazaar that I run with my friend Liz Van Hasselt. Originally designed to showcase the most eclectic and inspiring of traders and designers in the UK, the VB has grown to become a real celebration of the best of British vintage and chic recycling. I have built up quite a collection of vintage ribbon, silk flowers and other embroidered trims although parting with them can sometimes be a bit of a wrench as I know it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find them at a reasonable price!

 In the past few years I’ve seen hat wearing grow from a niche fashion into an increasingly popular trend, perhaps in part thanks to Angelina Jolie in The Changeling, the women of Downton Abbey or Baz Luhrmann’s hotly anticipated new production of The Great Gatsby. Personally, the roaring twenties have always fascinated me. It seems that women really found their voice during the period with changes in fashion reflecting their newly acquired role in society. ‘The Bright Young Things’ were gadding about London, Dorothy Parker was beguiling and offending in equal measure and the era just oozed decadence, wit and elegance. I hope that in some way my work reflects this mixture of style and  joie de vivre.

--My work can be found at The Vintage Bazaar events in Frome, The Original Vintage and Handmade Fair events in Chipping Sodbury and the vintage haven ‘Poot’ in Frome, Somerset.

Summer Stock

New Spring/Summer stock will be available shortly from 'Poot' in Frome but if you would like a specific colour please feel free to contact me about bespoke pieces. I have started to create other vintage fabric pieces which are available through the blog or you can email me directly at

Only 4 more sleeps......

This Saturday (29th) is The Vintage Bazaar in Frome, Somerset from 9am-3pm. A huge hall full of the most wonderful vintage fashion, fabric, homeware plus designers who use vintage materials to create beautiful things. You can get unique and beautiful Christmas presents that you wont find anywhere else......Daisy Darling Millinery hopes you can make it!

Pretty big and little hats

Just a quick look at some new small pillbox designs I've been working on which can be made in a number of colourways. I also have some wide brimmed straws which have simple petersham and vintage buckle trims seen here at the wonderful Vintage Bazaar event in Frome

The Vintage Bazaar

Just a small glimpse of the designs taken to The Vintage Bazaar in Frome. This is the first event that Liz and I have organised and it was a wonderful day...if you couldn't make it the next date for your diary is Sat April 20th ( )where there will be over 40 quality vintage dealers and I will have more summer millinery designs for sale. I also have some new smaller tilt designs which were very popular at The Bazaar.

New Stockist

A selection of Daisy Darling millinery is available at 'Poot' vintage in Frome and will also be available to buy from 'Qetty Bang Bang' http://http// in Tetbury.

New Designs in Parasisal and Peachbloom

This image was taken by a lovely lady of my stall at the wonderful 'Vintage and Handmade Fair' on Saturday. It shows some new colourways in parasisal and peachbloom felt. You can look closer by clicking the image.