To be a milliner you need to have finger tips of leather. It’s the only way. In my millinery dabbles I made about six hats of varying styles, but they all had one thing in common; my bruised and sore fingers. There are just so many layers of buckram, lining, brims and facing, and none of these materials really stretch unless you dampen them so you end up with pleats galore. And somehow one sharp needle is supposed to get through all of that. A millinery needle is one hell of a needle though; pointy enough to cleave through all those layers and thick enough not to bend when you apply a serious amount of pressure. Sadly this means when you slip, which you will do, it is also pointy and thick enough to make an impressive hole in your finger.
In the following extract from Braving Madness, Betty is sat in Edward’s carriage, in the process of attempting to mend her hat. Her maid, Annie has just made a dash for the inn, partly in need of the facilities and partly to avoid Betty.
The girl didn’t have the sense blessed to a newly hatched chicken. Betty made another viscous stab at the bonnet’s brim. There was no reason why the girl shouldn’t feel free to talk to her. Hadn’t she ever seen anybody sew a hat before? Straw was tough. You had to deal with it firmly. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Edward hadn’t apologised.
Mind you, there had been no apology for the bonnet-eating episode either, so she was a fool to think he was going to apologise for kissing her. Or not kissing her. She let out a groan. It was beginning to make her head ache.