Swiss straw work – hat decorations with Veronica Main

Basketmaking, chair seating and willow work Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Ref: S1D11591

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About this course

An introduction to Swiss straw work techniques used to trim Victorian and Edwardian women's hats. You will make some simple straw thread and split straw motifs to leave with a small hat decoration.

Course Description

The course will begin with a brief contextual introduction to the Swiss straw industry. You will learn how to select and prepare straws for successful working and there will be the opportunity to spin straw into threads. Progressing through a structured development of skills you will make some simple straw motifs. By the end of the course you will produce a small decorative hat decoration.

Please note:

You will be working with wheat and rye straw which can be dusty.

Manual dexterity is required to manipulate the straw.

Please bring glasses if required for close work, some of the work is small and intricate.

The course includes an introduction to the Swiss straw industry, followed by a session learning to prepare the straw and make your first motif. The tutor will demonstrate spinning straw threads and you will make your first motifs with straw threads, before you assemble your pieces to complete your decoration.

This course is part of our 50th anniversary celebrations – learn a traditional skill with a selection of 50 special one-day courses inspired by original 1970s subjects or focusing on heritage crafts.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course the tutor will supply the essential material, including straw and straw thread. A straw splitter is also provided.

What students need to bring

  • Notepad/pen or pencil
  • Scissors: needlework size
  • Small container, approximately 15-20cm square or oblong and 5-10cm deep
  • Hand towel/absorbent tea towel
  • Box or bag for storing samples
  • Work mat
  • Pin board
  • Glass-headed pins (strong)

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • Veronica’s book, Swiss Straw Work: Techniques of a Fashion Industry
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.

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