Summer Vacation Idea - A Week Long Workshop at Chateau Dumas

Straw Hats and Bonnets with Theatrical Milliner Jane Smith  - July 12 - 19, 2014

About the Workshop

If you long to inject real drama and stage presence into your hat-making then a workshop with leading theatrical milliner Jane Smith will help you to achieve exactly that. In a career spanning more than 40 years Jane’s film and television work has helped her to develop an unrivalled knowledge of hat construction and an enviable array of millinery skills.

Jane has a particular skill for working with straw braid and during this exciting week of millinery you can choose to create a contemporary straw hat of your own design (using a pattern or hand-moulded) or you can opt to make an authentic 19th century Jane Austen-style bonnet and a dashing top hat using strip straw plaits and buckram.

You’ll stitch by machine and by hand during the workshop, both straw-to-straw and straw to buckram, and learn how to create and cut patterns for more structured hats using sinamay and buckram.   Lining hats, wiring brims and fashioning trimmings using ribbon and lining material will also be covered. 

Chateau Dumas lies in the heart of one of the centres of hat-making in France, once world famous for its stitched straw hats thanks to Petronille Cantecor who set up the first factory in Septfonds in 1824.  During the workshop week we visit a local factory Etablissement Rey and meet Isabelle Rey, sixth generation hat-maker, whose stylish special occasion straw braid hats are made according to traditional methods. 

We will choose our straw plait skeins for the workshop from Isabelle’s wide stock of colours and styles.   

This wonderful week also coincides with the International Hat Festival which takes place locally (  We'll visit the Festival when you will have the chance to view the entries for the hat competition as well as meet milliners from all over the world and see their work. 

For more information visit the website.

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