What Do You Know about Designing Hats?

Springfield Artworks–Home to Hatmaker Margie Trembley

Photo Credit: Christian Baer

Step inside 183 Main Street in Springfield, Nebraska-a town of about 1600 residents, located six miles from I-80 (Exit 440) or about  10 miles south of Omaha’s Oakview Mall on 144th Street.

The energy in this historical 2500 square foot space, one of the oldest Peter Kiewit  built remaining buildings, may transport you back in time. A time when wearing hats was as commonplace as threading a needle.

Here these remain an everyday thing. The colors, vibrant. The products, exquisite. And, the owners, effervescent. One could spend hours viewing gallery items, taking a class or watching the owners create in their studio space. Every element is open and inviting.

Margie and Glenn Trembley, married 55 years, opened Springfield Artworks in 2009. Margie is a wearable art artist and couture milliner and Glenn is a glass artist. Together they co-owns the art gallery and support one another’s business operations, including loading and unloading of Margie’s hats for presentations or exhibits. Real teamwork. Real love.

Margie’s Hats Seen Worldwide

Photo Credit: Kathy Rae Photography

Margie’s designs can be seen in their Springfield, Nebraska gallery but also in other notable locations. Her work is recognized and appreciated worldwide. Go see her work at:


The Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA) at the Juried Adornment Exhibition in Kearney, Nebraska. Four of her hats are on display at the MONA. [Snap a photo of you by her exhibit. Share it . It may be posted here.]

Omaha Fashion Week 

Margie’s designs have been a runway favorite of this annual event with the encouragement and support of “The Style Guys”-Richard Carey and David Scott, her mentors.

New York City, New York

Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (Mid December 2018-January 31, 2019)

The Milliners Guild Organization from New York is invited to exhibit there for the first time and included one of Margie’s hats in the display. The hats are found in the Mezzanine Gallery store located inside the Museum on 5th Avenue. Go upstairs from the Met Store on the right side of the entry. [Share a photo of you by Margie’s hat display.  It may be posted here.]

One of her hats was also recently displayed with other hats from the NYC Milliners Guild Organization at a popular fabric store in the Garment District of New York City.


Her greatest achievement to date is having one of her designs win the 2017 “Viewer’s Choice Award” in the Social Media Competition. This was part of the annual Melbourne, Australia International Milliners Competition.

Horseracing + Margie’s Hats

Photo Credit: Heather and Jameson

Margie’s most frequent customer is a woman attending one of the major horse racing events.

Her hats have been worn at the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes and the Breeder’s Cup.

Breeders’ Cup Winner

In fact, Omaha’s Chaeli Souvannasoth was chosen by Carson Kressley and Bo Derek at the 2017 Breeders Cup in California as one of the top five fashion winners at the track.
And, at the 2018 Belmont, one of her hats adorned a California friend of jockey, Mike Smith, who rode Justify, the Triple Crown horse.

Press Recognition

In year’s past, the Churchill Down’s website used a photo of one of Margie’s hats atop a model’s head on their social media banner. And a Vogue photographer posted a photo of one of her hats worn at the Kentucky Derby on their website. A Louisville, Kentucky TV station featured her hats on a nightly newscast. Her hats have also appeared on NBC Sports as part of their horse racing coverage.

Work of Art + Labor of Love

Margie creates about 20 hats a year. She takes great pride in her Nebraska-designed headpieces. She’s delighted so many Nebraska women wear her hats to weddings, fundraisers and other special occasions.

How Do I Look in A Hat?

Many women think they don’t look good in hats. Margie says they have never had a professional try various styles on them. When she does, customers are surprised at how great they look. She collaborates with each customer on the design and prefers a 1-2-month lead time, depending on the design complexity, her workload and lag time of ordered materials. Others can be designed relatively quickly.

When custom designing a hat, Margie considers 4 factors:

  1. The Customer’s Height
  2. Hair Color
  3. Head and Body Shape, and
  4. The event where the hat will be worn

“What makes a hat look best is its tilt as well as the coordinating attire and hair style the client wears. It’s all about the overall look when wearing a hat.”

Latest Trends

Most of her pieces are one-of-a-kind. However, she’s currently working on one specific design in various colors due to popular demand. “It is a wide-brimmed felt hat that is perfect with jeans or any dress-up event.” It’s loved for its versatility. Many celebrities are seen wearing a similar style for evening wear or casual dress.

The most popular hat designs are black for the winter and white for the summer. Hats of these colors can be worn at multiple types of events. In addition, “by changing the embellishments, it increases the versatility and life of the hat.”

Hat Materials

Margie uses sinamay, crin, wool, felt, parasisal and covered buckram in her hat designs. “It is important that I use high quality materials.”

These are often found in countries with more milliners than in the USA and “some natural fibers are not grown here.”

Own a Hat Designed by Margie

What could be more impressive than owning a hat from a world-renowned hat designer?

Margie keeps a fairly large supply of ready-to-wear hats in the Springfield, Nebraska showroom. She also enjoys participating in trunk shows and ladies group presentations where hats can be purchased on site.

Contact her through her website to arrange a presentation.

Samples of her work are found there or on her Facebook and Instagram pages at @margietrembleychapeaux. She collaborates with many customers through email and Messenger.
[Share a photo of you wearing one of her designs. It may be posted here.]

Congratulations, Tammy!

CLOSED. Won by Tammy Hill of Georgia. 

Win a Margie Trembley Chapeaux  Design

Margie is giving away a headpiece (Lilly), designed using a metal base wrapped with ribbon and re-sculpted crin. It is similar to one featured in Omaha Fashion Week. Enter here to win. Contest runs through December 21, 2018. Must be 18 or older and open to USA citizens only. Contest not affiliated with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Winner must submit image of her wearing the design and agree to photo being posted and shared. Immediate family members of Margie and Linda are not qualified entrants.

Margie’s Journey to Hat Designing

Flowers & Floral Design

Who knew a flower garden could impact a child’s career choice?
Margie’s mother grew flowers in her Arkansas garden, exposing her to the beauty of flowers and floral design. She was introduced to Ikebana-Japanese floral design, by a friend.

Together they attended numerous floral design events in Omaha and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She took classes at the Philadelphia flower show taught by Denmark designers. She also took lessons from an award-winning Japanese designer.

Garden Club

While living in a Chicago suburb for the 13 years she and Glenn were not Omaha residents, Margie’s Naperville, Illinois Garden Club greatly impacted her creative journey and eventual career as a hat maker. She joined an Ikebana group and experienced the creations of many local, talented Japanese designers.

Margie learned about the elements of design, color combinations and other qualities that create a desired design. Today she often purchases handmade and silk flowers as hat embellishments.

Influencers Guiding Her Path

Margie has always been interested in art and design and felted with wool before designing hats from natural fibers. She found the best instructors and became an engaged student.

A felting class she took from Margo Duke sparked an interest in hat making. “I learned to make a hat out of wool roving, using an embellishing machine.” Margo encouraged her to take professional millinery classes.

She did. Laura Hubka taught her about hat blocks and the materials and processes necessary for any successful hat maker. “The impact of learning an age-old skill was immense. And, Laura was a skilled and patient teacher.”

A creativity workshop led by Katie Passquini Masopust http://www.katiepm.com/
-a quilt artist, instructor and author-awakened Margie’s creativity, an essential quality for any designer.

Margie has an eye for detail taught to her by famed fashion doll designer, Robert Tonner, whom she’s met on several occasions. She’s seen his exquisite designs at many of his doll conventions, both in the USA and in Paris, France. “His attention to detail sticks firmly in my memory both in his current work and in my collection.”

Duchess Meghan & Interns

The one thing in life Margie wants to be remembered for is being a creator of extraordinary hats. Of course, she’d be flattered to have one worn by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, and photographed with the Duke of Sussex, Harry, by her side.

In the meantime, she’s looking forward to partnering with regional university fashion/apparel, merchandising and design departments and to locating a student or two who’d like to intern with her business (design and business or marketing).

If interested, please contact Margie through her website or email her at margietrembley@gmail.com.

©Copyright. November 2018. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission prior to using any images on this site. All are copyright protected and available for sale.

Linda Leier Thomason is a former CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business.
She specializes in undercover studies of communities wishing to attract visitors for economic impact. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

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