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Beginner Thermoplastics: An LHW Masterclass with Carole Maher

  • London Bridge Hive 1 Melior Place London, England, SE1 3SZ United Kingdom (map)

New high tech thermoplastic materials are revolutionising and changing the way we create millinery. In this Masterclass, Carole will focus on the best seven thermoplastic materials for millinery and will explore their extraordinary qualities and benefits. 

Thermoplastics are quick and easy to use, light and self adhesive, require no wire, stiffener or drying time and hold their shape well. They can be sewn by hand or on a machine, painted, covered, cut with scissors and are versatile. The opportunities are endless and these materials lend themselves well to all forms of millinery, from top hats to sculptural light weight headpieces, as well as traditional crown and brim hats. They are also fantastic for theatrical millinery and props. There is a thermoplastic for all applications so choosing the right one is critical. Thermoplastics can reduce time and materials and increase profit.

Students will:

  • Gain a good working understanding of seven thermoplastic materials including cutting, heating, forming/blocking, setting, covering and lining, sewing, painting and finishing.
  • Be able to block any shape using the new materials
  • Block a basic crown/brim
  • Learn to make trims
  • Discover other uses for thermoplastics
  • Be inspired by examples and class participation to take the new materials to the next level
  • Take home professional notes

Each students will be given their own Beginner Thermoplastics Kit with samples of the seven thermoplastic materials Carole will be teaching about. Students will start two headpieces during this class – one blocked piece and one free form piece. These will be finished at home.

Previous experience with thermoplastics is not necessary but students do need intermediate to advanced millinery skills – an understanding of blocking is essential. 

Carole Maher started her millinery training in England with Rose Cory and at the London College of Fashion before graduating from Sydney Institute of Fashion Technology as a qualified Couture Milliner. She has pioneered the global introduction, research, development and distribution of thermoplastics in millinery and the fashion industry and is very passionate about innovation and development in millinery. She currently teaches workshops and lectures around the world and is a regular visiting lecturer and tutor at The Royal College of Art, London. She also delivers millinery workshops at Kensington and Chelsea College of Fashion and masterclass workshops in Ireland, Scotland,France, Spain, AustralAsia and America, as well as in her own studio in Grose Vale, New South Wales, Australia.

Tea and coffee will be provided and there will be a 1 hour break for lunch. Students can bring their own lunch or purchase something to eat from one of the nearby cafes or restaurants.

Carole will be launching her new thermoplastic designed specifically for millinery use – “HatBondCM” – during London Hat Week and this will be available for purchase on the day.

All materials will be provided although students are welcome to bring their own sewing kit if they would prefer. The 1-day Beginner Thermoplastics course is a prerequisite to Carole’s Advanced Thermoplastics and Leather Masterclass, which will be held in the same venue on the following day. 

This class is fully booked. To join the waiting list, please send an email to