Congratulations to Rachael Henson!!

Lovely Interview with RMA Member, Rachael Henson, 2nd Prize Winner of  the Melbourne International Millinery Competition.

Read all about Rachael’s MIMC experience here.

I am not much of a competition maker; while it is an interesting exercise to make a hat that turns heads or is fashion forward, I have ended up with a number of memorable hats that everyone loves but ultimately end up stored in a box at home. Which is a sad end (or rather non-beginning). Hats are made to be worn and so now, if I enter a competition,  I tend to try and make something that is of my style, contemporary and executing a new idea that might turn into the basis of range for the coming season. An rather unromantic pragmatic approach I know!

When this hat was finished in a way I was satisfied with, the MIMC competition offered the challenge for making for a competition again but also the opportunity for both exposure and scope to sell. So I entered. If I am honest, I really just wanted to make a hat someone would want to wear. And much to my surprise, I tied for second place.

Inspiration: I can’t really say I had an epiphany with this idea, rather I had been thinking in general about how I might execute traditional ideas in a different way, such as a flower on a hat. Which is essentially what this hat is, a flower on a band with its own cupped leaf (to give the flower a reason for being there).

Materials: just plain good old millinery materials – sinamay covered with stitched silk, flower was cotton organza (painted with dye), butterfly was silk (painted with dye). There is a row of single starbright braid on the inside of the leaf.

Making: a dome block was the only block used for this hat. There were multiple blockings (about 7 if I am remembering correctly). The shapes were created when wiring each cut shape. The silk was made more interesting and relevant with machine stitched leaf veins which appear on the back of the leaf and the two pieces of the band. The flower was my own pattern made with dyed cotton organza. The butterfly was also my own pattern with the wings painted with dye.








Gallery 2017

Congratulations to 1st Place Winner, Katherine Cherry and co 2nd placer Sarah Larkin. Many thanks to Catherine Ellen of The Essential Hat for organising the competition and the sponsors for their generous prizes, particularly given the tied second place – because of this a number of sponsors doubled what they had offered as a prize.

Prizes for each recipient of second place were:

$250 cash from The Essential Hat

£125 Gift Voucher from Guy Morse-Brown, United Kingdom

$50 Gift Voucher from House of Adorn International Millinery Supplies

“Essential” Tools worth $50 from House of Adorn International Millinery Supplies

A $200 voucher for on-line millinery workshops from

1-year subscription to The HAT Magazine valued at (up to) £67

Subscription to Ladies in Racing Magazine

You can find Rachael at:

Hughes ACT, Australia 2065