Millinery silk flowers – making spring flowers with Anne Tomlin

Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Ref: S3D11492

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About this course

Make beautiful silk spring flowers, including narcissi, anemones and snowdrops. Learn lots of flower making techniques and experiment with traditional heated tools to manipulate silks and velvets to shape the petals.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to learn about millinery of silk flowers from observation of flowers and to interpret them using silk, velvet, paper clay, and wire. You will learn many techniques of millinery silk flower-making using a mixture of traditional French and Japanese Somebana heated tools. You will gain skills that you can use after the course has ended, to explore the craft and develop your own personal way of recreating many other flowers.

The course is suitable for all levels and all that is required is a basic knowledge of sewing.

Throughout the course, you will be shown how to construct flowers with several techniques; each stage will be demonstrated with samples. You will be encouraged to experiment with dyes and make templates. Advice on painting techniques with procion dyes will be at hand to create the effects you want. At the end of the course, you will have a basic understanding of the shapes that the various tools make, confidence in drawing from life, and you will take away a collection of experiments and techniques and flowers, some made into delicate brooches.

Techniques and skills

- Observation and some sketchbook work

- Preparing and stiffening silk.

- Making templates

- Bias cutting of silk from templates

- Mixing dyes and silk painting techniques

- Bonding silk and hiding wire

- Using paper clay

- Binding stems with silk

The tutor will help you through the different processes with plenty of individual attention. At the end of the course, we will review all the techniques involved and you will be given information of suppliers of silk, tools and materials used. Tools, wires, dyes, glue and silk will be available to buy from the tutor.


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 until 9pm, 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


  • The tutor will provide all the materials you need.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring a sketchbook and pencils, an apron and sewing kit containing sharp scissors, wire cutters. If you don’t have these they will be supplied.
  • Some spring flowers that interest you.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • For any materials you need to purchase from the shop, we suggest you do so during the first morning of your course, after having discussed with your tutor.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


Anne Tomlin

Anne has a degree in Textiles and trained at West Surrey College of Art (UCA, Farnham), then studied millinery at The London College of Fashion. She co-founded the Bailey Tomlin label in 1989 designing and making hats for many stores including Saks 5th Ave, Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Liberty.


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

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