Millinery silk flower making – dahlias with Anne Tomlin

Ref: S3D13099

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About this course

Observe and make a realistic silk dahlia using traditional flower-making tools together with Anne's own techniques that she has developed over her long career in millinery.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to make a realistic silk dahlia using traditional flower-making tools together with Anne’s own techniques she has developed over years of making. The workshop will begin talking through her work process and will be illustrated with flower and hat samples.

During the course you will use a variety of fabrics and learn skills that include:

Observing the construction of a dahlia and ways to interpret.

Preparing and stiffening silk

Cutting out from templates

Blending colour with dyes, and exploring mark-making using a variety of brushes.

Creating a textured centre for the flower

Making a framework of wire for each petal

Binding stems with silk

The course is suitable for all levels including beginners. All that is required is a basic knowledge of sewing and some patience.Throughout the course, you will be shown how to construct flowers from deconstruction of the real thing learning several techniques; each stage will be demonstrated with samples. You will be encouraged to experiment with dyes and advice on painting techniques with Procion dyes will be at hand to create the colours you want.

Anne will help you through the different processes with plenty of individual attention. You will gain skills that you can use after the course has ended, to explore the craft and develop your own personal way of recreating many other flowers. We will review all the techniques involved and you will be given information on suppliers of silk, tools and materials used, and a tutorial with templates. By observing real flowers we can learn so much about their relationship with pollinating insects and this increases our connection with nature.


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


  • On this course the tutor will supply all of the materials used on the course.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring as sewing kit containing really sharp pointed scissors, sewing needles etc and an apron.
  • An apron to protect your clothes and wearing covered footwear is essential.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Brushes, silk fabric, needles and pins
  • Available from tutor:
  • Tools, wires, dyes, special flower 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.

Courses of interest

Further study options

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

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.