5 Hand Sewing Tips for milliners

How many times have you sewn in a wire and as you get to the last inch the thread snaps? Whether you’re a seasoned milliner or a beginner you’ll know how easy it is to (pardon the pun) tie yourself in knots with your hand sewing! Here are top 5 needlework tips for milliners.


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  1. Wax on–run your thread through the wax 2 or 3 times to coat it.  Wrap it in a paper towel or scrap of muslin and iron it. The wax helps strengthen the thread as well as helping it glide through whatever you are sewing.  This is great for millinery when working with foundation materials such as buckram and sinamay. For light coloured fabrics always do a test in a small corner.
  2. Wax off—as an alternative to beeswax if you are worried about transfer. Try running your thread through a folded sheet a few times. It will help reduce static cling and tangling.
  3. The sharpest tool—an obvious one but still valid always cut your thread with a sharp pair of scissors or snippers. The clean cut makes it much easier to thread especially as millinery sharps tend to have a smaller eye. 


  1. Less is more—an extra extra-long thread might seem like a good idea but chances are you’ll spend more time trying to undo knots and as you repeatedly pass the length through your fabric the thread is weakened by the friction making it more liable to snap. The tip of your fingers to your elbow crease is a great guide to the ideal length you should work with.
  2. Double trouble—do you really need to use a double thread?  It is more likely to tangle up on itself. A good rule for deciding which to use in millinery is: single thread for invisibility, double for strength.

For more tips keep an eye on the blog or why not book a course and ask us in person? If there isn’t a course that covers what you want to learn drop us a line and ask about 121 sessions.