Millinery silk flower making autumn leaves and berries with Anne Tomlin

Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Ref: SWE11184

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About this course

Make a unique collection of leaves and berries for millinery inspired by the colour, texture and shape of autumn foliage. Use silk, leather and paper clay, and experiment with traditional heated tools and dye for colour.

Course Description

The course aim is to learn about millinery silk flower-making from observation of leaves and berries and to interpret them using silk, leather, paper clay, and wire. You will learn many techniques 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 way of recreating not only leaves but flowers too.

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, and 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, the confidence to recreate any leaf, and you will take away a collection of experiments and techniques.

Techniques and skills:

- Observation and some sketchbook work

- Preparing and stiffening silk and leather

- 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 each student through different processes with plenty of individual attention. At the end of the course, we will review all the techniques involved and students 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, 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 are included.

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.
  • A collection of leaves and/or berries

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.
  • Available from tutor:
  • Tools, wires, dyes, glue and silk will be available to buy from the tutor.


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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