We girls LOVE our millinery flowers don't we?? I was SO lucky to find a box of old millinery flowers this past weekend at the flea market. When I make my hats, I use ALOT of vintage flowers and so I am thrilled to find some pretty ones as they are not easy to come by (especially the roses).
I have had a few emails and questions along the way from a few gals wanting to know how to TELL an old millinery flower from a new flower made today. When I first started collecting vintage flowers, I was a little confused as to just exactly how to tell them apart myself so I thought it would be fun to do a little research and post about some flower making history for those of you who would love to know... :)
The art of making flowers was said to begin during the 12th century in Italy when they made flowers by hand from silk cocoons. By the 14th century the French had taken the art of hand making flowers and really began perfecting the techniques and materials. A fun little fact I ran across while doing my research is that it was said that in 1775 Marie Antoinette was given a single silk millinery rose, and because it looked so real she fainted! LOL! soo funny, especially if it is true! Eventually the craft made its way to England and then on to America. The Victorian's were huge fans of anything floral and over the top so at that time Milliners were a part of every community.
Fun, Huh?? I just love this stuff! :)
Starting around the 1970's is when it all began to change, we discovered how to make these flowers, that for all these centuries had been made by hand, by machine. The beautiful velvets and silk fabrics used for the petals were replaced with polyester and synthetics... the stems were assembled with plastic and no longer laboriously hand wrapped. We could make them cheap... just like everything else! So the art of hand crafting these beautiful flowers pretty much ended and this is what makes collecting them so desirable today.
I snapped a shot of the back of one of my finds this weekend... an original Paris label!! oh my... I just love it! anyway, do you see how the stem is hand wrapped. If you look at a modern flower you will see plastic stems. This is a dead giveaway when searching out vintage flowers, to see those wired leaves and hand wrapped stems.
Well, hope I didn't bore you all too much! I think it is fun to learn about how our ancestors did things... don't you? This pretty vintage rose I bought from Bristol, at Honey Bend Vintage. LOVE how it has the feathers attached.
I was SO excited to see that my friend Holly is offering some GORGEOUS millinery flowers in her shop! She is thrilled to have found a company that has been making millinery flowers for over 100 years. They are made with gorgeous REAL silks and velvets and hand wrapped stems. I just LOVE her selection that she has chosen to offer.. if you haven't seen them yet you must take a peek at her blog.... I NEED to get myself some of those beauties!
See you soon! xo heather