5 Ways of Getting into the Business of Hat Making and Millinery


Once you find you have an interest in learning hat-making and millinery, you may be interested in getting into the business of hat-making and millinery. Below I have offered %% suggestions on ways that may assist you on your path.

Source Hats from Second Hand Shops

Explore second-hand shops for antique hats and caps. Working in the film industry gave me the opportunity of working with many antique hats. I learned many tricks on the construction of hat making by looking at these hats, inside and out. Although I say I was not formally trained, I do acknowledge that many Milliners from the past were my teachers. I learned through their example. After looking at their work, I would experiment with my own, using modern fabrics against the retro designs, which always resulted in something fresh and innovative.

Youtube Hat-Making Tutorials

Youtube has many free tutorials to offer, which can be beneficial for a beginner. The one flaw I have found in Youtube is that if one person has taught a method of hat-making, which is not engineeringly correct, others copy and teach this without knowing. The sewing together of a sun hat for example is not at all the way I professionally make my sun hats. The engineering is faulty but since one person taught this method, everyone copies. Youtube is great for learning about different trimming methods. For inspiration go and listen to what the top milliners are saying about their trade and have a look at their work. Top milliners often have a studio where more than one milliner works under their brand name.

Physical Millinery Courses

If you are fortunate to be living in a city or town where physical millinery classes are given then you will greatly benefit from the personal one-on-one teaching experience you receive. Some students prefer to learn alone but I would recommend that a class with other students will greatly inspire you. Not only will you see the hat through the eyes of your teacher but other students open up possibilities in design that you may not have considered.

Online Hat Making Courses

Online courses are perfect for the individual who does not have access to a physical teacher. Once you have exhausted Youtube you will notice that often there is a step or two which has not been explained fully. Paid online courses have the responsibility of giving you all the knowledge to complete your hat. Today the courses include video footage for a full visual and most are accompanied by an instruction book too. If the course does not come with some form of written instruction then make your notes and start building your own hat-making / millinery instruction guide.

On The Job Headwear Training

Learning on the job can be another way of getting into the business of hat making and millinery. Volunteering to create school costumes or joining the local theatre costume department will automatically bring you in contact with a variety of headwear. The film industry is also one of the best avenues to learning the hat-making trade. The variety of hats and headwear needed by the Theater and Film industries will force you to broaden your hat-making skills.

My Experience

Getting into the business of hat making and millinery can take time. Many of my millinery friends, including myself, never made the conscious decision to become milliners. This has something to do with the fact, that there were not many millinery teachers around when we were in our early twenties. We had no internet and hence no Youtube. The word Fascinator had no meaning and the word Milliner was trying desperately to uplift itself, from the grave.

The idea that I could learn a dying trade intrigued me. I appreciated that once I learned a trade, no person could take that away! As a youngster, my family traveled extensively, which influenced me in choosing a career that would travel well too. I also loved the idea of working as a self-employed person. That idea excited me.

Then I started to look around at the multitude of possibilities for a career path. They were endless. Being of the stubborn sort, I also knew that I had to teach myself. If I had a teacher from the beginning, I would not have continued. I don’t like being told what to do, as if there were only one way it could be done. Creativity comes through when you test multiple options and sequences.

Getting into the Business of Hat Making and Millinery Today

Today things are quite different. Millinery has taken back her position. The Internet offers a variety of free and paid courses to suit your ability. You can take a multitude of physical courses with reputable, highly innovative millinery masters. The Millinery trade been rejuvenated. It is also breaking new ground with experimental materials and illustrious symbolism.

I was interested in getting into the business of hat making and millinery, because there are two defined ways of making a hat, Blocking and Sewing. There was never a time that I thought, ‘Now I know everything!’ The more I learned, the more I realized, I hadn’t even scratched the surface. There is always a new style or new technique to learn. As I have stated before, it took me 19 years before I felt comfortable calling myself a Milliner. I felt that until I had a good grasp of blocking and sewing, I was a hat maker.

From Hatmaker to Hatter to Milliner

Once I felt comfortable about knowing that I could produce whatever was being asked of me, I graduated myself into the Milliners’ realm. This is probably the reason why I am such a stickler in defining the difference between a hat maker and a milliner. Defining the difference between a milliner and a hat maker is important for the customer to understand. If a hat is blocked using hydraulic blocks for mass production, every stitch sewn with a machine and trimmed with a feather, then it is the work of a hat maker. If the hat is hand blocked, using wooden blocks, and stitched by hand, it is the work of a milliner. Mass-produced products do not qualify for millinery work and it is important to customers to discern the difference.

To be clear, you can not be a milliner without having studied years of hat-making. You can be a hat maker without millinery skills. If you are interested in learning the difference between the two clicks on 888888888888.