romantic millinery magic

a still life with a bouquet of flowers

The skies are gray at Rose Cottage, and winter’s uninvited chill is lingering a bit too long. Snow is once again in the forecast. I am longing for warm sunshine again! Are you feeling this way, too? Wouldn’t you love to walk out to the garden and bring in a huge bouquet of freshly-picked flowers…spicy sweet pink roses, armloads of fragrant peonies and stately blue bird delphinium…into your home?

Maybe, a bouquet that is somewhat reminiscent of famous sumptuous Dutch oil paintings from the 17th century, such as Jan van Huysum’s Still Life with a Bouquet of Roses and Other Flowers? I can almost smell the old rose fragrance of the bourbon roses in that painting!

a reinvented 3-D still life

There aren’t any van Huysum’s and, in the middle of below freezing temps, the gardens are not in bloom at Rose Cottage! (Sigh!) So I envision my own version of a still life using a bouquet of millinery roses and other flowers. My still life will be a curtain tieback on the bedroom raspberry red buffalo check silk curtain. But, I will need to gather a lot of flowers–it needs to have the feel of a van Huysum!

Some of the bouquet’s elements are carefully wrapped in tissue and tucked away in a vintage hatbox. Other elements are currently in service in another small arrangement; time to “re-purpose” that one.

Lovely Vintage Millinery

Lovely Vintage Millinery

Realizing there aren’t quite enough millinery for the voluptuous bouquet of my dreams, I am off to Rose Mille–just up the river, to pick more flowers for the still life. Mi has fabulous millinery to add to the bouquet!

The white silk rose from Dulken and Derrick gathered at Rose Mille is spectacular with the gently rolled petals!

Vintage Millinery Trio

Vintage Millinery Trio




Mi has a gorgeous small vintage piece of  “drapey” black velvet–perfect for the base of the bouquet!



For a bit of the unexpected, I decide to use a few pieces of vintage spun cotton fruit gently sprinkled with fairy dust–glass glitter.

Some Gathered Millinery and Spun Cotton Fruit





Some Gathered Millinery and Spun Cotton Fruit

creating millinery magic

Now, it is time to create some millinery magic! Some of the little beauties need a gentle freshening. Mi glady shares a tip with me: simply hold the flower over a steaming tea kettle, and the petals will unfurl right before your eyes! It takes only a few minutes to liven up more than 50 pieces of millinery.

The black velvet is cut the length and width of the tieback needed for the curtain. I decide to use some pellon as a stabilizer between the front and back of the black velvet. Two six inch pieces of black silk cording are cut to serve as the hooks, and each are looped at each end of the tie back. The black velvet is stitched with the fronts facing, leaving a small opening. The velvet is turned right-side out through the small opening. The tieback is gently steamed, and the opening is whip-stitched closed. Now it is time for more fun!

Romantic Millinery and Great-Grandmother Myrtle's Needlecase

Shades of White: Romantic Millinery and Great-Grandmother Myrtle's Needlecase

The millinery is laid out in a design that balances size, color and texture. The first step is to create a base with the vintage black and green velvet leaves. The leaves are carefully handstitched to the velvet.

Starting at the inside end (opposite of where the tieback hooks to the wall), the roses, apple blossums, flower buds and spun cotton are carefully stitched to the tieback.

After careful stitching, the romantic millinery magic is done! Time to see the results on the raspberry silk curtain.

Romantic Millinery Tieback (2)





Romantic Millinery Tieback (2)


What do you think about this still life of romatic roses and other flowers?

Can you leave me a comment below about how you have created millinery magic? Or just let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by for a chat!


Woman Making Millinery Magic (c.1893)

Woman Making Millinery Magic (c.1910)


Filed under Family, Home, Sewing, Uncategorized, Vintage

8 responses to “romantic millinery magic

  1. Your millinery bouquet is just beautiful!! I love how you put it all together… I bet it is stunning in person.

    Good luck with your new blog! You are off to a great start. xo Heather

  2. rebekahp

    I love how the tiebacks carry the same elements as the beautiful painting at the top of the post. You captured the feel perfectly–only the tieback is in 3-D!

    Its amazing how with a little steam the tiebacks come into full bloom and look gorgeous. What a great project.

  3. hi there 🙂 i found you via a comment you left with my friend Heather…you have a lovely collection of millinery…lucky you, i have such a hard time finding it here, when i do i consider it precious…i love using it to embellish my collages…and some i just have sitting out in baskets or hanging from pegs…just looking at it makes me happy…your millinery curtain tie back is gorgeous!!!

  4. Robin

    Love the tiebacks! I’m going to keep my eyes peeled while antiquing! Where did you get yours?
    Your blog is beautiful, your pictures inspiring. I look forward to easing into spring with you and your beautiful things!
    Happpy Saturday!
    Robin Rane’
    All Things Heart and Home

    • debbykay

      Glad you came over for a bit! You made my day with your encouraging words! I made the tiebacks using vintage millinery from my person collection and also from several pieces I picked up from Rose Mille. I had stitched each piece of millinery onto black velvet. The Web address for Rose Mille is Tell Mi that you saw the tiebacks and she would know the millinery pieces I used from her shop. Hope we can visit again!

      Enjoy your day!

  5. Pingback: Inspired by Red « rose cottage gardens and farm

  6. Oh we are kindred spirits! I can tell your blog will soon be a favorite of mine. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Blissful Lavender Pomanders « rose cottage gardens and farm

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