Millinery – My Passion
I inherited both my passion for millinery and the nimble fingers I use for my bespoke work from my grandparents, Hayden Sidney and May Congreve who made bespoke hats for many years under the name of Roach and Congreve. I am also very fortunate to have some vintage blocks that I still use. My great uncles, Stan and Reg Clark, worked for block makers in Luton, Bedfordshire in the UK.
I remember that as a child I always saw my grandma busy with her sewing and it seems as if she was never without one of her beautiful hats with its tiny, neat stitches.
“I used to love the stories she would tell about the Easter bonnet parade and how there would be great excitement as my great aunt, her younger sister, Constance was always chosen to model the hats for prospective buyers.“
Originally from Oxford, I moved to Ireland in 1999 and by 2004 my millinery business was truly up and running. Devotees of Irish fashion were demanding well-crafted, quality pieces and I was happy to create them.
I specialise in one-off, handcrafted designs ranging from theatrical large-brimmed showstoppers, in a range of fabrics embellished with beads and veiling, to the more subtle styles such as cloches, pillboxes, trilbies and fedoras.
Wendy was introduced to the art of millinery at an early age. I inherited both my passion for millinery and the nimble fingers I use for my bespoke work from my grandparents.
My studio is set in a rural part of County Longford, just outside Newtown Forbes. It is a relaxing environment where I can work with my customers to create perfect pieces that they are happy and confident to wear.
Because I want customers to take their time choosing the right hat design for them I operate an appointment-only system. This allows my clients to browse and try shapes to suit them in comfort and stress-free in a full-sized showroom equipped with huge mirrors and fitting rooms that enable them to see the complete look.
I have more than ten years experience and pride myself on being honest and helpful with my opinion. I would never sell my customer a piece unless they felt completely comfortable wearing it. I have a vast range of materials to choose from and take care to match colours as closely as possible at all times. I firmly believe that you should wear the hat, not the hat wear you!
A Passion for Craft
I am a proud supporter of Irish craft and have been a member of the Design and Craft Council of Ireland for many years. I have exhibited at Showcase Ireland and have been highly commended for my work.
I love to see my work worn by elegant women and have made pieces for customers from all walks of life from the high profile and famous to the more modest mothers and daughters we all know. Many of my hats have won prizes at race meetings.