Milliner in the making

We CHANELed Coco Chanel’s early millinery days this week, creating a vintage boater-style hat from cardboard and paper!


We were inspired by the story of acclaimed fashion icon, Coco Chanel, as told by Spanish author, Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara. This sweet biography celebrates the inspiring achievements of an incredibly strong woman, who started life as a little French orphan with a big dream. 

The book is part of the Little People, Big Dreams series, which showcases the lives of courageous, high-achieving women who were brave enough to pursue their dreams. Other titles include Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Maya Angelou, Agatha Christie.

I love everything about this book, from the interesting facts about Coco’s life at the back to the beautiful illustrations by Berlin-based artist, Ana Albero. What I love most, though, is the message of encouragement to be yourself, even if that is “different”. This message is perhaps best articulated in Coco’s own words:

To be irreplaceable one must always be different” ~ Coco Chanel


One of our favourite parts of the book is when Coco opens up her own hat shop to sell her modern designs, which “surprised the mademoiselles in Paris”. We always pick our favourite hats and are in complete agreement that the red hat is the best. So, we made it!

What we used:

  • Circular cardboard gift box
  • Cardboard, for brim
  • Red paper
  • Red paint
  • Ribbon
  • Masking tape
  • Glue
First, we glued red paper to the top and sides of the box…
We then painted the brim red and cut a hole in the middle to size…
Finally, we taped the top to the brim and tied a ribbon around it.
Modelling her first millinery masterpiece!


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