Giving back our love of hats

Here at Isabella Josie we try our best to support local charities. With March’s ‘Wear a Hat Day‘ on the horizon (don’t you just love this pin badge!!!) I thought you might like to hear a little more about how we have been supporting some of our local charities and organisations.

I have been supporting St Wilfrids Hospice by giving my time to teach one of their wonderful volunteers to re-book and revive vintage hats so they can increase sales from hat donations. I love being able to help in this way – and it is a perfect excuse to get up close to some of the handmade creations and to learn more about their construction. I’m really looking forward to popping into their retro and vintage shop in Chichester to see how they have turned out.

One of the local residential homes, Nyton House, held a 1940’s afternoon for their residents and I was able to help by lending the staff and residents my vintage hat collection. The ladies and gents had a great time wearing the hats and reminiscing about their hat wearing days whilst listening to the wonderful voice of Fiona Harrison.

To help raise funds for brain tumour research, I will be celebrating ‘Wear a Hat Day’ a week early on 20th March at our millinery workshop at Denmans Gardens. £5 from each booking will be donated to this great cause. We still have a few places left, so if you would like to have a creative fun afternoon and do something that makes you feel good, just email me on to book you place.

Welcome to our Spring Summer 2020 Millinery Collection

I am very excited to be able to share with you a range of our hats, fascinators and headpieces from our ‘Spring Sumer 2020’ collection.

We have some stunning large brim hats, this oxidised blue hat has sparkling swarovski crystals bobbing from the feather flower stamens and the cerise and black disc hat is trimmed with an array of handcrafted flower and sinamay loops.

Smaller circular cocktail hats that perch at an angle on the side of your head are ideal if you need a headpiece that looks stunning but doesn’t block someone else’s view.

When designing the collection, colours draw me in, blue and yellow became a regular choice reminding me of the sun and sky, sandy beaches and blue waters. This mesh peek-a-boo brim hat is trimmed with curled quills and a handcrafted silk abaca flower. The yellow and blue in the boater has also been joined by a spring green – a colour combination I love.

Headband style headpieces are still hugely on trend this season, my lily headpieces are a firm favourite for ‘Mothers of the Groom’ or those who want a stylish fascinator. For ladies who love statement pieces for race events such as Glorious Goodwood and Royal Ascot the navy halo crown with its handcrafted teal flowers would be perfect choice.

I have also included a couple of felt hats in my collection. For example, this royal blue and yellow trilby with its ribbon cockade and a dewberry freeform felt 1940’s inspired headpiece, ideal for a whole host of events including Goodwood Revival.

To celebrate our workshop launch, we have recently given away a free place on one of our millinery workshops at Denmans Gardens, thank you to all those who entered. We do have a few bookable places still left, so please get in contact if you would like to join us for a fabulous afternoon creating your own headpiece. All materials and equipment is provided.

It is always a real delight to get out and about to meet new people, as well as be reunited with our current clients. There is something very special in being able to help someone find their perfect style which lets their inner confidence and personality shine through…..especially when the conversation may of started with ‘hats aren’t my thing’.

We are planning a series of ‘Hat Drop-In’s at Cherry Vintage in Chichester as well as a pop up shop at the monthly ‘Vintage and Very Nice Handmade Marketplace’ which is held in the Assembly Rooms in Chichester. Just check out our workshop and events page for dates and times. Private consultations are of course on offer too, just let me know if you would like to arrange a convenient time to discuss your needs.


Spring Inspiration

As I write this edition of ‘Hat Chat’ the sun is shinning and the daffodils and snowdrops are in full bloom, bouncing their heads in the breeze. I always love this time of year as it’s full of inspiration and hope for what is to come.

An Isabella Josie hat ‘in-the-making’ inspired by Spring Green and Swirls

My first ‘job of the year’ was to get my spring summer 2020 hat and headpiece collection ready for its professional shoot. I was lucky enough to be able to use the same model as last year. Here’s a sneak peek of a few collection highlights.

I’ve also been out and about meeting new people at wedding fairs and popped into some local ladies boutiques and bridal shops to introduce myself. You never know what opportunities will come of the meeting, one of the wedding shops has asked me to do their Easter window – a bit of a twist on the ‘Easter Bonnet’ theme. Photos will of course follow!

If you live in West Sussex, you may of seen our recent millinery article in February’s ETC magazine – we are featured on pages 34 and 35. If you would like to check out the online copy you can find it here.

With the announcement of a May royal wedding it’s going to be exciting to see what hats everyone wears. If you are off to your own wedding, race event or special occasion and would like to create your very own headpiece, you might like join us at a millinery workshops at Denmans Gardens. The sessions are going to be great fun and also make a unique Mother’s Day present or gift for someone special in your life. To book a place just email me at

To celebrate the launch of the sessions we are giving away a FREE place at one of the workshops. As a newsletter subscriber, all you need to do to enter the prize draw is just drop me an email at by 10pm on Sunday 16th February 2020. For further information just check out our workshop page

Latest News – New Workshops and Pop Up Show

I hope this update finds you well. Here, at Isabella Josie Millinery, we have some great news to announce.

Firstly, we are delighted that our handcrafted hats and headpieces are now available though Cherry Vintage in Chichester. Cherry Vintage is a local independent shop that specialises in vintage inspired ladies clothes from various eras. To celebrate we will be holding a ‘millinery drop-in’ to answer any hat, fascinator or headpiece questions. If you are in the Chichester area on Saturday 22nd February from 12-2pm please do pop along and say hello.

Our second piece of exciting news is that we will be delivering some millinery workshops in the Botanic Room at the beautiful Denmans Gardens, Fontwell, Arundel.

To book a place on craft course email Spaces are limited to ensure everyone has just the right amount of attention.

If you would like to visit Denmans 4 acre garden which were designed by one of Britain’s influential landscape designers John Brookes MBE, before or after the workshop, you can purchase a ticket for a small additional fee at the gift shop. These photos were taken just this week in January – even in the depths of winter the gardens are stunning. Refreshments are also available at the gardens’ lovely tea rooms.

Season’s Greetings from Isabella Josie

Thank you so much for your continued support over the last year, your encouragement has helped to guide me on my hat making journey. 2020 is going to be an exciting year for Isabella Josie (we have some fabulous plans in place!) and I very much look forward to sharing them with you. I hope you have a very special and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Hats off for Headbands

If you have picked up a magazine or popped into a hair accessory shop, you will of noticed the growing trend of chunky padded headbands. From a milliners point of view, it’s great to see headwear being worn as an every day fashion staple.

It has been great fun designing the headbands for my pop up shop in Bosham Walk – some trimmed with feathers, pearl beads, and other with sparkly Swarovzki crystals.

Originally on-trend in the 80’s, the padded headband is back, bigger and better than ever before. I’m loving the creative names that the media are coming up, ‘Power band’ with a reference to the 80’s era, ‘Halo band’ for the shape and perhaps my favourite name to date the ‘Hat band’.

Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, is an avid wearer of the headband, choosing a beautiful Jane Taylor halo style headpiece for her sons (Prince Louis) christening. These halo headbands are blocked like a traditional hat on a wooden shapes and really do make you feel like a princess. I have been creating my own range which are proving rather popular with clients.

I’m currently developing my Spring / Summer 2020 collection and I’m sure you will be seeing a headband in there. If you were to design your dream headband what would it look like?

Goodwood Revival 2019

This time last week Goodwood Revival was in full swing. Thousands of people were dressed in their finest vintage outfits at the famous historic motor race meeting.

At Goodwood Revival, you will find me soaking up the atmosphere at the fairground, marketplace or watching the dancing – there is so much to see. My ‘must-go’ to place is the Earl Court Motor Show which, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of ‘The Italian Job’, was themed with a recreation of the filmset.

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Royal Ascot Hat Highlights

With the racing season in full swing, I thought you might like to see a few photos from my first Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. It was an amazing experience with a brass band playing on the lawn, singing at the bandstand and a fashion feast for the eyes. Here are a few pictures of some my favourite hats, of course I had to include a couple of my own designs too. I was so excited that one of my sculptural headpieces recieved some lovely media attention!

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