19th Century Hat-Making

Inspired by Film and Theatre

with Jane Smith

Monday 25th to Thursday 28th June (4 days), 10am-5pm each day


Plus £5 per day for lunch (optional) – all dietary requirements catered for

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In this fascinating and eclectic class, hatter Jane Smith will introduce you to the nuances of theatrical hat making for film and theatre, creating an ideal starting point to learn more about the design and construction processes used.

Focusing largely on the 19th Century she will reference the period costumed films and TV which most successfully represented the novelists of the time like Jane Austen, Thackeray, Thomas Hardy or Dickens. She will also share the designs, working notes and swatches that were used for the  principal’s hats for Carey Mulligan in the film ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ and Felicity Jones in ‘The Invisible Woman’.

You will work with the basic styles and shapes of the period, using straw and buckram which can be covered with fabrics of your choice. The hats will be completed with trimmings which could consist of lavish ribboning, re-constructed birds and beasts, or an array of flowers, fruit or feathers.

This class is suitable for professionals, makers for re-enactment, and those starting a career in the subject, but it is also suitable for the less experienced maker.

About the tutor

Jane Smith started making hats for theatre and film in 1968. Currently she works almost exclusively with principal actors in prestigious theatrical or film productions. Her work relies on historical accuracy, so research is a crucial part of what she does, combining materials and techniques of the past with contemporary fabrics and fittings. She makes a wide range of styles including military caps and hats, naval bicornes and top hats, working in felt, straw, buckram, plastic and fabric. Alongside this work, she has also taught theatrical millinery extensively, both in the UK and worldwide.

  • To see her pieces in action on stage and screen, take a look at her website.

19th Century Hatmaking 1

19th Century Hatmaking 2

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