How to Make a Fabulous DIY Fascinator by Glam Hatters
Today we are talking to Janie Lawson, founder of the Glam Hatters and we couldn’t be more excited. Her resume is impressive; features in Vogue, Elle, and Glamour to name a few. What impresses us more is she turned her passion for hat making into a highly successful business. In fact, Glam Hatters has workshops for UK brides and bridesmaids that make for the perfect hen party. Don’t worry if you can’t get to a UK workshop, Janie is going to share with us some DIY Fascinator tutorials.
Janie, thank you so much for talking with us! Please tell us more about your business.
The Glam Hatters Girls are all highly skilled designers, as well as fabulously fun, and will teach you step-by-step with a lot of giggles along the way. They have made it their mission to provide you with a super fun Fascinator, Flower Crown, or Mask Making Workshop for your hen party and make sure you have the best time with us!
We have venues in Central London and also travel nationwide bringing the Glam Hatters’ parties to a location of your choice. The workshops are suitable for any level, even if you’ve never picked up a needle in your life! Prices start from £35 per person, and we have gorgeous packages to pick from including vintage inspired fascinators, Gatsby headbands, stylish masks, or a boho flower crown.
Can you give us a little background into the tradition of fascinators at weddings?
It’s a very British thing to wear a fascinator or hat to a wedding. These days if you haven’t got something on your head you look a little under-dressed! Since Philip Treacy spotlighted his first catwalk collection in the early 90’s, fascinators have catapulted to the top of the stylish list for wedding goers. All hail Philip for bringing a new generation of milliners to the forefront of British design!
Why did you decide to offer hat workshops?
I was selling millinery in Fenwick of Bond Street, Selfridges and Liberty London as well as in boutiques across the country, across Europe and even a far as Japan. One day a lady called up and told me she had bought one of my hats in a boutique. She was so in love with it because she could see it had been made with joy. She asked if I would allow her to come and sit in my studio one day and watch me make hats!
I said, “No, not really because that would be a bit weird. If you can get a couple of friends together and come into town one Sunday I can teach you all to make a little fascinator in my studio!!” She did, and they loved it. They came many more times but really it was the beginning of an idea.
At the time I was showing at London and Paris Fashion week and also London Fashion Weekend. I put a little sign on my LFW booth saying that I also hosted workshops. On the first day a very stylish woman said to me, “I’d love to book a workshop for my sister’s hen party.” It was a game changer! I’ve always listened to my customers but this was extraordinary and that one comment completely changed my business.
I started advertising more and more as a hen party service and soon realised I would have to change my name. At the time my business was my name – Janie Lawson Millinery. The problem with that was everyone wanted me to be the one to teach at their party and there was only one of me.
One night over a glass of wine with a copy writer friend of mine, I chatted with her about Alice in Wonderland which was showing at the cinema. I said to her, “I just love the idea of a Mad Hatters’ Tea Party feel to my parties but with a glamorous twist. I think I’m going to start serving cake and tea along side bubbles. Since I adore vintage china and I have tons of that, I could maybe do a vintage afternoon tea.” She sat mulling it over and then said, “How about Glam Hatters’ Tea Parties!”
Now I have 10 Glam Hatter Girls and run about 60 hen parties a year, along with corporate parties and events at The National Gallery.
Why do the workshops make a great hen party event?
The workshops are the perfect hen party event because firstly – you can make a hat to wear to the wedding! Also it’s the lovely part of the day where you get to relax and chat to your friends and family. You can invite your Aunts, Grandma, cousins, and friends. Everyone will be able to chat about the hats they are making and the colours they are choosing. It’s a real ice-breaker. The older generation can go home after the workshop, leaving the young ones to go on out for the evening part of the party.
Do you have any tips for our readers who can’t attend a party?
Of course! If you would like to make your own hat I have absolutely loads of tutorials on my YouTube channel. I would love you to subscribe as I am adding new ones all the time. For a tutorial about DIY fascinators check out How to Make a Pretty Feather Hair Ornament. Below is a video on how to make a flower crown:
What kind of tips do you have for planning a hen do (or bachelorette party)?
It’s very rarely the bride planning the hen party. If you’re the friend planning, make sure you know what the bride wants. One way is to get input from the bride, giving her options so it’s still a surprise. Another way is to get her full agreement to let you get on with it and trust your choices!
There are 3 parts to the day – an activity, dinner, and then dancing. Work out if your bride is crafty, outdoorsy, or just plain wild and then plan the activities accordingly. But do keep your bride in mind. Chances are a bride always in heels with her nails polished, is not going to want to do an extreme activity!
Have you ever been a bridesmaid? What was your experience like?
Oh my gosh, my experience as a bridesmaid was awful! I was 17 and dressed as an emerald green frou frou. At the time I was a goth and couldn’t believe that I had agreed to wear it. The make-up artist added green eyeshadow and a lot of blush. Which it turned out I needed.
Before the event, I was so nervous. My very naughty late-Grand Father gave me a large swig of whisky to settle my nerves. (My Father’s family is from Scotland!) I made it up to the front of the church and then started to feel really unwell. I remember whispering to my sister, “Jenifer, I think I’m going to faint.”
She looked horrified and then I very slowly collapsed backwards in to the front pew of the church. (We have a family video of this somewhere. I just fall backwards out of the frame with a very green face!!) My Aunty stuffed a hankie over my mouth and said, “Don’t you dare be sick on your dress!!!”
Do you have any tips on how to be a supportive bridesmaid?
On a more serious note, remind your friend that whilst the wedding day is a huge deal it is also just the first step of a very lovely journey with her chosen partner and that what really counts is the love they feel for each other. Be thankful for your friends, your family, and all the love you feel for them and from them. In the end that is what weddings are really all about. *Although if you want to wear hat whilst feeling blessed…..
What do you think of the Glam Hatters and Janie’s advice? Would you attend a Hen Party Fascinator Workshop if given the chance? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.