What do we have in our Atelier?

IMG_4263The Tirra Lirra Atelier is full of all the things we need to make beautiful headwear. This includes hat blocks, feathers, shaping materials, embellishments and tools.




Stephen Jones has described a milliners workroom as part Aladdin’s cave and part artist’s studio, a place where each hat is carefully coaxed into being.




IMG_4264Hat Blocks are wooden shapes that are used to mould hat crowns and brims. Jo has inherited blocks that have been used by other milliners for years and are very old, and we also have gorgeous new blocks custom-made to our specifications. Hat block-making is actually an art in itself because each block is essentially a wooden sculpture – every curve, corner and dip is recreated in the hats moulded on that block. Hat Block makers have a great knowledge of wood and take pride in their craft.
Feathers are exquisite to work with and we continue to explore their potential and discover new ways to work with them. In our studio we use sustainably-sourced feathers.
Shaping Materials vary a great deal. When we design our head pieces, we take into consideration the properties of each shaping material to decide what will work best and give the desired look. Winter materials include wool, felt and faux fur. In Summer we create with Sinamay mesh, straw and other lightweight fabrics.
Our Embellishment drawers are crammed full of tiny treasures – vintage buckles and buttons, sparkly trims, velvet and silk ribbons, lace, berries, flowers and other fine things that we gather together.

There are many tools used by milliners, and our studio has it’s fair share. From pins and needles to pliers, awls and heating tools, there’s a good mix of modern and old-world tools that we use daily.