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Learn millinery

Learn how to make your own hat!

Ignite your creativity and feel confident being guided by Louise Macdonald, who has over 20 years of millinery teaching experience.

View details about Louise Macdonald Milliner's:

Live streaming courses

  • Delivery: Millinery classes are presented online using the Zoom platform. Workshops can be watched on a portable device or desktop computer – go to Zoom's Download Center to install its software or mobile app (a meeting invitation is sent to students following registration and payment)
  • Class size: Limited to a maximum of 12 students per session to help you feel connected with others in this online learning experience
  • Materials: Participants are sent a list of materials on registration and need to source them from local suppliers (recommendations can be given if needed)
  • Handouts: Notes are provided to assist you with the learning experience

(click or touch the link to view details)

Ribbon Halo (May 2021)

Ribbon Beret (May 2021)


Express your interest so new dates can be offered:

Freeform with Buntal Mats

Freeform Parisisal Sculpting

Ribbon Origami

Ribbon Halo

ribbon halo created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald ribbon halo created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald ribbon halo created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

Create an intricate trans-seasonal halo headpiece in this 2.5-hour live streaming course. Louise Macdonald draws on her 30 years of millinery experience (read more) to teach you how to achieve this traditional ribbon folding technique and apply it to a contemporary "on trend" design. No specialised equipment is required, making it suitable for beginners to advanced students.

  • Materials: A detailed list of materials is sent on registration, but essentially you will use 50mm (2 inch) wide millinery petersham and a covered, padded headband.
  • Skills: Suitable for beginner to advanced students. You need to be proficient in using a needle and thread for hand sewing.
  • Duration: 1 session of 2.5 hours.

  • Dates (check your local time on World Time Buddy):

    Australia – Sunday 2 May 2021, 9am to 11.30pm AEST
    USA and Canada – Saturday 1 May 2021, 7pm to 9.30pm EDT | 4pm to 6.30pm PDT

  • Cost: $75 AUD (overseas students); $82.50 AUD (GST inclusive, for students in Australia)

  • Testimonials:

    "I really enjoyed it. As I'm away from home and all my millinery supplies, this one was great as I only needed a few items to participate."

    "Easy-to-follow instructions with assistance from the well-placed overhead camera view of worktable. Fantastic as always. Great instruction of the steps. Great handouts/resources. Comfortable and welcoming environment over Zoom. Good encouragement of all students."

    Read more testimonials


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Ribbon Beret

ribbon beret created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald ribbon beret created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald ribbon beret created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

Drawing on her knowledge of 1920s ribbon cockades, Louise Macdonald reveals clever ribbon twisting and folding techniques to cover a pre-blocked button beret. The result is a gorgeous contemporary trans-seasonal headpiece. You'll learn how to prepare, measure, fold, set and transfer the manipulated ribbon to the 3-dimensional beret form, before stitching into position – effective in plain or striped ribbon.

  • Materials: A detailed list of materials is sent on registration, but essentially you will use 50mm (2 inch) wide millinery petersham and a pre-blocked button beret
  • Skills: Suitable for beginner to advanced students. You need to be proficient in using a needle and thread for hand sewing
  • Duration: 1 session of 2.5 hours

  • Dates (check your local time on World Time Buddy):

    Option 10
    Australia – Sunday 16 May 2021, 6pm to 8.30pm AEST
    UK – Sunday 16 May 2021, 9am to 11.30am BST
    Europe – Sunday 16 May 2021, 10am to 12.30pm CEST

  • Cost: $75 AUD (overseas students); $82.50 AUD (GST inclusive, for students in Australia)

  • Testimonials:

    "Louise is an excellent tutor! Very kind and generous with her teaching methods and all instructions and steps are explained/shown very clearly."

    "Really loved the notes that were given in advance, so you can be prepared for the Zoom [millinery course]."

    "Even though not face-to-face, Louise is there to answer any questions, and the live demonstrations were fantastic – just as good as being in the studio."

    "I have been a reluctant online course participant, but was very impressed with this [millinery] class, and would definitely do it again."

    "I really liked that there wasn't the pressure to complete the hat and that I had time to tweak at my own leisure."

    "Loved seeing each step. I can now see so many different possibilities with this technique."

    Read more testimonials


    enrol now


Freeform with Buntal MatsExpress your interest Live streaming millinery course with Louise Macdonald: Freeform with Buntal Mats

Buntal mats are one of Louise Macdonald's favourite millinery materials. She offers 3 online courses on HatAcademy showing you how to create structured hat shapes without blocks. In this live streaming course, you will learn how to prepare, assemble and sculpt to create more organic hats and headpieces from the buntal mat. Being formed by hand, your piece will be unique to the creator. Channel the sculptor in you and enjoy wonders of buntal mats.

  • Materials: A detailed list of materials is sent on registration.
  • Sessions: The course has 2 sessions. The first session (1.5 hours) is an in-depth demonstration of the technique. You will be able to work alongside the demonstration to a certain point, then will be required to do some homework before the second session. The second session (1 hour) is designed as a review of your results and for you to ask questions.

  • Dates – Inform location and preferences in the expression of interest form, so we can work out a suitable option for you!


  • Cost: $75 AUD (overseas students); $82.50 AUD (GST inclusive, for students in Australia)


Freeform Parisisal Sculpting (beginner to advanced students) – Express your interest

free-form parisisal sculpting hat free-form parisisal sculpting hat free-form parisisal sculpting hat

Learn how to prepare and manipulate parisisal straw to produce contemporary organic headpieces without the use of a block. This great technique produces unique flowing pieces that free you from the confines of a hat block. At the end of the session, you will have received instructions on how to prepare, sculpt, reinforce, stiffen and finish your unique headpiece.

  • Equipment / materials: A polystyrene foam head, a steamer (but a kettle will suffice), an iron and a sewing machine, along with the materials (the full list is provided on registration, but the essential item is a parisisal cone, also known as sleeve or hood).
  • Skills: This millinery workshop is suitable for beginner to advanced students. You need to know how to thread and use the sewing machine, needle and thread for some hand sewing.
  • Sessions: The course has 2 sessions. The first session (1.5 hours) is an in-depth demonstration of the technique. You will be able to work alongside the demonstration to a certain point, then will be required to do some homework before the second session. The second session (1 hour) is designed as a review of your results and for you to ask questions.

  • Dates – Inform location and preferences in the expression of interest form, so we can work out a suitable option for you!


  • Cost: $75 AUD (overseas students); $82.50 AUD (GST inclusive, for students in Australia)


Ribbon Origami – Express your interest

ribbon origami created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald ribbon origami created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald ribbon origami created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

Louise Macdonald started her millinery career making hats for the BBC series The House of Elliot (read more). This gave her a taste for beautiful ribbon cockades of the 1920s. In this live streaming workshop she will share her love of the ribbon trims with you. Learn some twisting and folding techniques to create a selection of trims that can be applied to hats, headbands and fascinators for a vintage or more contemporary look.

  • Materials: A detailed list of materials is sent on registration, but essentially you will use 25mm (1 inch) wide millinery petersham and 1 metre / 2 metres of 5cm (2 inch) wide millinery petersham
  • Skills: Suitable for beginner to advanced students. You need to be proficient in using a needle and thread for hand sewing
  • Duration: 1 session of 2.5 hours

  • More dates – Inform location and preferences in the expression of interest form, so we can work out a suitable option for you!


  • Cost: $75 AUD (overseas students); $82.50 AUD (GST inclusive, for students in Australia)

  • Testimonials:

    "I appreciated Louise's patience. She is good at breaking things down and explaining them."

    "In a couple of hours we picked up skills to use in so many different and unique ways."

    "Louise was incredible. The instructions were clear and easy to understand."

    Read more testimonials


Face-to-face courses

  • Students are required to observe the 2-square metre "rule" between participants
  • Students are required to apply hand sanitiser on entering and leaving the millinery studio, and before using any shared items: steamers, irons, sewing machines and the toilet key
  • 70% alcohol cleanser will be readily available for further cleaning of the equipment and surfaces
  • If any student feels slightly unwell, they must not come to the course

  • Location: Room 3, 8th floor, 37 Swanston Street (corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Lane), Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
  • Materials: Participants are sent a list of materials list required for the course on registration

Thursday Millinery ClassMillinery course at Louise Macdonald's studio in Melbourne: Thursday Millinery Class

Learn basic traditional millinery techniques to create 2 hats of your own design. You'll be shown how to create a hat from felt or straw that suits and fits you personally. Steaming, blocking, stitching, trimming – all the essentials will be covered in this 4-day course. The course will take place in Louise Macdonald's professional millinery studio with views overlooking St. Paul's Cathedral in the iconic Nicholas Building in central Melbourne.

Dates (4 days in 4 weeks):

Group 2: Thursday 15, 22 and 29 April and 6 May 2021, 10am to 4pm (sold out; join the waiting list)

Group 3: Thursday 3, 10, 17 and 24 June 2021, 10am to 4pm

Group size: 5 participants (in line with the Victoria Government social distancing requirements)

Cost: $693 AUD (GST inclusive)

enrol now

 

 


Online courses

  • Pre-recorded online courses can be watched 24/7 on Hat Academy's website
  • Millinery students can learn how to create their hats in their own time and pace
  • Registration and payments are made directly on Hat Academy's website

(links to Hat Academy's website)

Sinamay Brim Extensions Deluxe Course NEW!

Buntal Trims Deluxe Course

Saucer Buntal Hats Deluxe Course

Classic Buntal Brims Deluxe Course

Contemporary Sinamay Deluxe Course


Watch a preview of each online millinery course



Previous millinery courses: These courses have already taken place and may run again soon.

Millinery course at Louise Macdonald's studio in Melbourne: Silk Abaca TurbansSilk Abaca Turbans

Learn traditional millinery techniques while making a turban. You will block and reinforce a hat base, then shape and drape to make a delicate flowing turban from lustrous silk abaca.

 

 



Berets and Caps from Buntal Mats

cap from buntal mats created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald beret from buntal mats created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald cap from buntal mats created by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

Learn to make caps and berets from a buntal mat, using a flat pattern technique and sewing machine. These style hats are easy to wear and can be dressed up or down for everyday wear. On this 2-day course you will get the chance to create 2 hats.

 

Buntal BoaterMillinery course at Louise Macdonald's studio in Melbourne: Buntal Boater

Create a buntal boater without the use of blocks. When you first venture into the world of millinery, compiling a collection of good blocks happens over time. In the absence of an extensive block collection, the ability to make and create a diverse range of hat shapes is a bonus.

In this 2-day workshop you will make this boater style hat and a bandeau support for the desired tilt and fit for this shallow crowned hat. Learning two very useful techniques, creating a structured hat without the use of blocks and creating the supporting bandeau underneath, which can be adapted to any hat you want to give a lift, tilt and fit on the head.

Suitable for intermediate to advanced millinery students.

 

Saucer HatsMillinery course at Louise Macdonald's studio in Melbourne: Saucer Hats

The saucer hat suits any face shape and can be trimmed in a host of ways to reflect the wearers personal style. Learn how to manipulate the base buntal material to create this versatile shape. The only block required for this piece is a simple dome block. This workshop gives you a great set of skills and shape to add to your millinery repertoire.

Suitable for beginner to advanced millinery students.

 

Upcycle your Hat

Perhaps you have a contemporary or vintage piece you would like to freshen up? Bring it with you to this evening demonstration and milliner Louise Macdonald will show you how to bring new life to your old hat. Learn how you can clean, restore shape, repair and renovate giving your hat a new lease of life. This demonstration focuses on felt and straw hats.

 

Dior Brims from Buntal MatsMillinery course at Louise Macdonald's studio in Melbourne: Dior Brims from Buntal Mats headpiece

Create a structured "Dior" style brimmed hat from a buntal mat without the use of blocks. When you first venture into the world of millinery, compiling a collection of good blocks happens over time. In the absence of an extensive block collection, the ability to make and create a diverse range of hat shapes is a bonus.

In this 1-day workshop you will learn techniques that enable you to create a hat with structured large down turned brim without blocks, giving you skills to create your own shapes.

 

Fashion hat designed by Melbourne milliner Louise MacdonaldTwist and Shape Sinamay Manipulation

Understanding the bias weave and how it can be manipulated to create 3D shapes is one of the keys to using traditional millinery materials. In this weekend workshop you will come with a pre blocked base and make several trims including a double-sided sculpted trim. You will also be shown how to create a sinamay brim without blocks.

 

 

Sinamay Brim ExtensionsSinamay Brim Extensions headpiece

A sinamay brim extension is a light and delicate way to extend or finish a brim. Learn this technique with Louise Macdonald to complete a parisisal straw hat with a brim. Suitable for intermediate or advanced millinery students.

 


Enquiries – For more information, please contact Louise Macdonald Milliner in Melbourne.


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