Millinery silk flower making – cosmos with Anne Tomlin

Ref: S3D31963

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About this course

Observe and make a realistic Cosmos flower and its feathery leaves using silk, millinery materials and traditional flower-making tools, together with Anne's techniques, which she has developed over years of making.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to make a realistic botanical study of a Cosmos, using traditional flower-making tools, together with Anne’s own techniques which she has developed over her long career of making.

The course will begin with a talk by the tutor about her work process and will be illustrated with flower and hat samples. You will then be shown how to make these delicate, complex flowers from a deconstruction of real flowers, learning several techniques; each stage will be demonstrated with samples. You will be encouraged to experiment with dyes, and advice will be given on painting techniques with Procion dyes to create the colours you are interested in.

Anne will help you through the different processes with plenty of individual attention. You will gain skills that you can use after the course to recreate and interpret many other flowers and explore the craft to develop your own personal way of working. The coure will cover all the techniques involved and you will be given information on suppliers of silk, tools and materials used, and a tutorial with templates.

During the course, you will learn skills that include:

Observing Cosmos, making drawings, studying colour

Preparing and stiffening silk

Bias cutting from templates

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

Creating the fluffy centre of a Cosmos

Experimenting with heated flower tools, both Japanese and French

Making of feathery leaves

Looking at ways of construction

Binding of stems with silk

By observing real flowers, we can learn so much about their relationship with pollinating insects and this increases our connection with nature. A walk in the beautiful West Dean Gardens will be perfect inspiration.

The course is suitable for those that have attended Anne’s previous workshops or have some experience in flower-making.


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.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring a sewing kit containing really sharp pointed scissors, small pliers, wire cutters, sewing needles, etc.
  • Brushes for painting petals (If you don’t have tools and brushes, Anne will provide you with everything you need.)
  • Any reference, real or printed
  • An apron

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Brushes, silk fabric, haberdashery, sketchbooks
  • Available from tutor:
  • Tools, wires, dyes, special flower glue and silk will be available to buy from the tutor.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes). Possible equipment restrictions in tutor absence.


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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Further study options

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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.