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Learn the fine art of millinery. Create your own beautiful hats!


Beginning and Advanced workshops provide ideal opportunities to explore the world of millinery whether you're an aspiring milliner or simply interested in making hats for personal pleasure. Wayne is an experienced and skillful teacher who generously shares his knowledge. A well-equipped studio with an extraordinary collection of vintage and contemporary hat blocks provides a unique environment for your creativity to flourish.


Using traditional wood hat blocks, millinery felts and straw materials you will learn to block and shape hats, then create trims and embellishments to complete your wonderful hats. Small classes ensure personal attention and regardless of your experience, Wayne will adapt instruction and class work to your individual needs and assist you in creating wonderful hats.

Visit Judith Nowland Tricia Roush and Ulla Milbrath's blogs to read about their workshop experiences.

A Hat For All Seasons - Wayne Wichern - Ornament Magazine / Museum Studios Artist Profiles - Wayne Wichern By Daraya Mead, San Mateo Daily Journal / Wayne Wichern - Hat Maker - TalkArt Interview With The Artist / Wayne Wichern - Portrait of a Milliner by Tracy Martin / San Francisco Chronicle - Milliner Wayne Wichern by Edward Guthmann


Ballard Millinery Studio: 1149 NW 52nd Street, Seattle, WA (Ballard/Fremont Neighborhoods - across from Obec Brewery next door to Ballard Serious Pie.

We are currently organizing our 2024 Workshop & Classes schedule. Please check back. 

Email to be added to the mailing list for classes and workshops.

Felt & Straw Blocking - Millinery Workshops

Ballard Millinery Studio - Seattle, WA

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In this workshop you will learn to "block" millinery felt and straw materials using traditional hat blocks. The felt and straw materials are dampened and steamed and then quickly blocked – pulled-stretched-sculpted onto the wooden blocks and tightly held in place with blocking cords or elastics. The hats are then left to dry. This process conforms and molds the materials into the basic shape of the hat. Students are often surprised to discover how physical blocking a hat can be. You will learn how to maximize your physical strength and leverage to control the blocking process.


While the hats dry you will learn methods for finishing the hat brim edges: finishes such as hand-sewn or machine-sewn welts, rolled edge brims, bias binding or petersham ribbon bound edges. You will learn a variety of traditional embellishment and trim techniques to complete your millinery creations using ribbon, fabric, straw braid, feathers, veiling and millinery flowers. You will also investigate vintage inspired trims using the felt and straw remainders from the hat making process. 

The workshop goal is to complete a minimum of 2 hats from start to finish. This work is done in stages - after the hats are blocked and drying you will decide on brim finishes, sewing head size ribbons and deciding on trims to embellish your hats. During the workshop we will discuss the current world of millinery and hat making. You will receive handouts of the workshop notes and information for suppliers of felts, straws and other millinery and hatter's goods.

Historically, the hat industry was divided into women’s and men’s hat making. Current trends in hat fashions have blurred the traditional business distinctions. Designers and makers of women’s hats are referred to as milliners and the business or craft defined as millinery. Hatters or hat makers are makers of men’s hats or men’s hat styles whether worn by men or women. Women’s millinery fashion has borrowed from men’s styles over the years from the bowler, top hat, fedora, trilby, western, the list is endless.  

The workshops scheduled below are primarily millinery techniques. If you are interested in learning to make men's hat styles whether for men or women, please contact me directly to schedule one-on-one workshops. The materials, equipment and skills needed to make men's and western style hats are quite different.

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