STEADY HAND: Yeppoon milliner Julia Watson will show one of her designs in the prestigious millinery awards  in Melbourne this week. INSET: Sarah Parker models Julia's design 'Moonlight dreaming' winner of Best Accessory at the Busi Women Inc Art to Wear competition in Yeppoon.
STEADY HAND: Yeppoon milliner Julia Watson will show one of her designs in the prestigious millinery awards in Melbourne this week. INSET: Sarah Parker models Julia's design 'Moonlight dreaming' winner of Best Accessory at the Busi Women Inc Art to Wear competition in Yeppoon.

Julia puts bets on design

MILLINERY is a very tedious and time-consuming form of art that requires a lot of talent, passion and can take years of practice to perfect. But not for Yeppoon's Julia Watson.

The local milliner and owner of Hats by Zarbella is one of the finalists in the Victoria Racing Club's Millinery Award competition this Oaks Day where she'll present her chosen headpiece to the panel of judges.

Julia's interest in millinery started when she finished her degree and wanted to find a hobby. Two years later she never thought that hobby could win her an award that's considered to be one of the most prestigious in the millinery world.

Julia Watson, Yeppoon Milliner enters prestigious millinery awards.
Julia Watson, Yeppoon Milliner enters prestigious millinery awards.

Julia, 40, said she found out last month her submission was selected to be in the running for the grand prize.

"It's only been a short period of time for me as a milliner but I've put a lot of hard work into it and a lot of long hours,” she said. "I've always loved fashion and I've always ridden horses and I've always loved the races so I thought I'd start learning how to make millinery. It's a very skilful art, there's lots and lots of different techniques in millinery and different elements which are all handmade so I don't think people actually understand how much time can be put into just one headpiece or hat.

"This piece I've entered took 40 hours of hand stitching so they are extremely time consuming and there's been a lot of times where I've been up to 3am sewing and stitching.

"I actually make and design my own hat blocks, so no one has the same shape as me. The piece I've entered in this Oaks Day competition is a custom design of mine which I think is something that will set me apart because no one else will have the shapes that I have so it will be bring something different to the table. This award is the pinnacle of millinery so I'm just excited to even be going down and able to show off my design but to win it would be unbelievable.”

Julia said she had a lot of local customers after her designs but had also received a lot of interstate orders.

"I've had a lot of orders for customers over in Western Australia and New South Wales,” she said. "In this day and age you can express post a hat and it will be there within two days which is great because it means I can get my designs out there all over Australia plus I do a lot of orders for race days out west which is great.”



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