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Fiona Fiona McToalFee McToal Millinery
I am Fiona or Fee as some know me as!! I am originally from Melbourne Australia and came here and settled in Donaghmore Co.Tyrone with my family in the late 80s, then, when I met the now hubby I live up on the North Coast, just outside of Ballymoney, also along with my arty 10 year old son, Nemo the fish, and not forgetting my folks with us too!
I began my millinery (hatty) business 7 years ago just after I had been made redundant (which was an emotional time to say the least!). I have done numerous jobs and courses over the past, cough cough 20+ years but I had trained in fashion and design when I first came to Northern Ireland and decided to return to it but in a slightly different field – of hats!! I re-trained with experienced milliners and I am also a self taught milliner, experimenting with all variety of fabrics and materials. I create custom made (or couture) headpieces for weddings and race day events. I specialise in creating unique pieces from my collection of shapes/moulds and also I design and make my own shapes for clients headpieces. I use a variety of fabrics, from leather, lace, silks, tulle and straw to name a few but I especially love working with guipure lace. Each piece is designed with the client in mind and they feel confident to wear the finished product. I have also recently began teaching classes for people wanting to escape for a few hours and make something fun!! And I also teach 1 to 1 classes using traditional millinery techniques for people who would like to learn more. I have definitely learnt a lot in 7 years and my plan is to have a shop/studio somewhere near the sea –vision board here I come!!! My studio is based at home between Ballymoney and Ballycastle and near the famous Game of Thrones “Dark Hedges”.
It is great to be able to balance family life with my work, and I definitely haven’t missed out on my son growing up. I really can’t remember how I got in the MAW group, but I’m delighted that I’m here! I have learnt a lot, not just from going to different events when I can, but also through the group page and meeting some really fabulous, interesting ladies!!! I find this group very knowledgeable and supportive when I’ve needed help – as I can be stubborn at asking for help too!!
I hope to meet some of you soon, maybe at a coffee morning or some other events!!
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