Millinery silk flowers – making spring flowers with Anne Tomlin

Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Ref: S3D12547

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Places available

About this course

Make beautiful silk spring flowers, including narcissi, anemones and snowdrops. Learn lots of flower making techniques, experimenting 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, which you can use after the course has ended, to explore the craft and develop your own personal way of re-creating 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 help you 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, 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.


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, including wires, dyes, glue and silk. Also tools to use during the course.

What students need to bring

  • Some spring flowers that interest you
  • Please bring a sketchbook and pencils, an apron and a sewing kit, containing sharp scissors and wire cutters. If you don’t have these they will be supplied
  • An apron to protect your clothes and wearing covered footwear is essential.

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 them with your tutor.
  • Available from tutor:
  • Tools, wires, dyes, special flower glue and silk will be available to buy from the tutor.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


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.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

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