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Sandra Buchanan
Sandra BuchananMilliner

In 1983, I inherited a box of my Auntie’s lovely old hats from the fifties and the millinery addiction seed had been planted. As a professional ladies wear manufacturer, I found this medium of three dimensional wearable art intriguing. Shortly after that, I saw an “add” for hat making classes at the local Adult Education Center, and seized the chance to delve into this mysterious world of creating.

From there I dabbled in various workshops and classes. Without realizing at the time I had the privilege of refining my skills with under the guidance of some of the best Milliners Australia has had to offer. Jill Nolan, Doris Chivers, Peter Jago, Louise Macdonald – lucky me! I enjoy experimenting with different styles and textiles, playing with colour and texture. Lots of fun can be had with feathers and putting steam on straw.

Somewhere between now and then millinery became a large component of the couture business I have established in Melbourne (Australia). Supplying clients with clothing and headwear for their weddings and special occasions as well as the spring racing festivities Melbourne is reknowned for.

Considering the Client’s style and requirements are key factors when embarking on a commission but so is my desire to play with a unique combination of colour/shape/texture to produce a piece that will delight the wearer.

My most enjoyable commissions are where the Client allows me to produce their entire look, from clothing, hat, shoes and accessories; resulting in a gorgeous “total” outfit.

About 5 years ago the lack of block making services available lead me to team up with a very gifted wood carver. Since then we have been able to make blocks in many wonderful and exciting shapes for milliners both here in Australia and more recently in the United States and Britain. In fact most millinery materials seemed to be very hard to source, so it became a natural progression for me to hunt for suitable supplies, too. I now am able to offer milliners through out Australia and aboard a growing selection of interesting bits out of which they can make hats. Things like: sisal and ramie straws, vintage rochello and swiss-braid hat bodies and braids, stiffeners, wires, feathers, flowers,veiling-including French silks, hat elastics,combs,fur felts-melusines and velours,straw cloths,sinamays and sinamay prints and fancy weaves. The list keeps growing by the day.

Having said all that, it may seem like there is little time for anything else but I do enjoy time with my husband, who works in the Petroleum industry and my 10 year old son Kyle and 7 year old daughter Dominique. It is very rewarding being Mum to the two little ones, who are busy developing their own interests in sport and hobbies as well as school activities. And of other interests… collecting Carlton Ware, a little early morning walking, an odd glass of wine and good chats with friends.

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