Milliners design and make hats and other headgear such as caps, berets, bonnets, fascinators and bridal headpieces, using materials such as felt, fabric, fur, leather, straw and artificial flowers.

Duties & Tasks

Milliners may perform the following tasks:

  • interpret fashion trends and use them in designing hats and other headgear
  • mark and cut patterns to desired shape and size, lay the pattern onto fabric and cut around it
  • shape, cut, twist, roll, fold and reinforce fabrics and other materials with wire to gain desired effect
  • assemble hats by hand or using a sewing machine
  • steam and press material into shape by hand and, if needed, stiffen it by using a special solution
  • sew trimmings such as ribbons, buckles, braids or chains onto hats
  • operate semi-automatic blocking machines for mass production
  • alter, renovate and re-block (re-shape) existing hats
  • package and dispatch hats for customers
  • display, fit and sell hats and accessories.

Working Conditions

Milliners employed by mass-production firms usually perform single tasks, such as trimming hats with ribbon or sewing in headbands. Milliners making 'semi-model' (limited production) hats hand trim shapes that have been moulded by machine. Highly skilled milliners create designs in fabric or on paper that can be followed by other milliners.

Personal Requirements

  • enjoy practical and manual activities
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • artistic sense of colour and design
  • patient and able to persevere
  • understanding of and interest in fashion trends.
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