Monday, January 11, 2010

Washington, DC Millinery Class--Straw and Felt Blocking

This past weekend I was pleased to teach a millinery class, for the first time, at the Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia--a suburb of Washington, DC. I've been trying for years to find a place to teach in the DC area because so many people have expressed an interest from that area. I taught a class called Hats For All Seasons: Blocking Straw and Felt. I believe this is the first millinery class to be taught at the Art League School. Hopefully I'll be going back.

What you will see in this blog entry are the results of the student's felt blocking experience. They started with a 100% wool hood, and were asked to free-form shape it. I always ask them to block, re-block, and re-block using this skill, as I want them to get a real sense of what the medium will do. Until you play with the wool, by steaming and shaping, will you not get a real feel for what great abstract shapes you can achieve. It's fun!

Check out the next few pictures showing some of the class in the process of blocking their hoods. You'll see the results later in the blog entry.

Millinery students begin the process of steam blocking the wool hoods over hatblocks.

Modeling their creations in the next few pictures!

Below you will see all the hats lined up in a case. It was a great way to display all the hard work these ladies and gentleman put in to fashion their fabulous millinery creations! See what you think.

Can you believe all the diversity of shapes and colors? That's the beauty of free-form styling.

There was no time to add any embellishment to these hats, and quite frankly, many probably don't need much, if anything added to them. They are truly sculptural and works or art in their own right.

Thanks to all the Washington, DC, students for participating. You all did a super job! See you next time.


  1. Fantastic Jan!!! You Rock It! Super description of your class. Looks like everyone made a great hat.


  2. Wonderful, I just did a week with Waltraud Reiner at the Sturt Summer School. I learned so much! Look forward to seeing you again down under!

  3. HI Jan-

    I am jealous I didn't know about the class. I would have loved to take it. I am a hat FIEND, sell hundreds of vintage hats in my shop and would love to hold a class for you (but not sure how much space you would need?). If you are inclined please visit to see if you think it would be a good fit for you... Also do you know of anyone in dc that does reblocking? My lst referral has moved away from the area.

  4. Thanks, Rosie! Did you know Waltraud was my millinery instructor...many years ago! She's fabulous, isn't she? So much creativity! I'm really hoping I'll be invited back to the International Millinery Forum in 2011. I do love Oz!!

  5. Theresa, thanks for the offer to host a class. Looks like I'll be going back to the Art League School, perhaps as early as October. Keep checking my website for updates at I do lots of re-blocks. Contact me at jan (at) hatshatshats (dot) com for details...if interested.