Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Millinery – handmade organdie flower headpiece with Eleanor Vallerini

Ref: S3D08858


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About this course

Learn the traditional millinery techniques used to create a blocked base hat in sinamay, trimmed with delicate organdie flowers and to finish it using wire and petersham ribbon. The techniques of dip-dyeing, cutting and shaping individual petals, wire mounting and creating a 'flower branch' with cotton covered wire are taught.

Course Description

The course will consist of perfecting the series of millinery techniques, experimenting with balance and design, and refining the finished piece. By the end of the three days, you will have completed a trimmed blocked hat. In addition, the skills gained on the course will enable you to pursue millinery interests on your own with a solid foundation of couture millinery techniques and an increased confidence in their design skills.

Materials and techniques covered:

- Blocking a sinamay base

- Wiring and setting a blocked shape

- Sewing a head ribbon and sizing a hat

- Dip-dyeing organza fabric

- Making handmade organza petals and flowers and creating a rolled-edge effect

- Wire covering and arrangement of flowers

- Demonstration on placement, flow and balance of the trimming

- Securing the trim to the hat with a professional finish

Each session will be a mixture of demonstrations and individual work. The tutor will begin by introducing/explaining the materials and general techniques. As you begin to develop your own designs, you will do more independent work. The tutor will circulate to give individual advice and tutorials. The course will end with a brief presentation of the finished pieces and review of techniques used to create them.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • All materials to make one hat, this includes sinamay, organdie, dye, wire, cottons, needles, thread, pins.

What students need to bring

  • Thimble
  • Apron
  • Small sewing kit
  • Any trimmings/materials you have and may wish to incorporate

Available to buy

  • Basic sewing equipment, threads, needles etc


Eleanor Vallerini

Ellie Vallerini is a London based Milliner. After completing her BA in Contemporary Crafts Ellie moved to London to pursue her love of hat making. She learnt practical skills from several short courses, whilst developing her own creative style through self practice. She has been Senior Designer and Milliner at John Boyd Hats for five years.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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