Year course professional hat making

Do you have a passion for hats and do you have ambitions to become a milliner? Would you like to learn the tricks of the trade from one of the Netherlands’ most experienced and renowned milliners and become a professional milliner? Or do you love the craft and just want to learn how to make hats?

Year course professional hat making

Do you have a passion for hats and do you have ambitions to become a milliner? Would you like to learn the tricks of the trade from one of the Netherlands’ most experienced and renowned milliners and become a professional milliner? Or do you love the craft and just want to learn how to make hats?

The Berry Rutjes Dutch Hat Academy can teach you!

The Berry Rutjes Dutch Hat Academy can teach you!

Professional artisan hat making is a specialist course in which you will learn all aspects of hat making. You will be trained to become a skilled milliner. You will learn all about tailoring from existing molds, making patterns, and using different materials & techniques.

Every week you will practice your skills in making different models and learning methods of making hats by hand. With me you will learn the craft and design of hats yourself. It’s about making something that is completely yours and developing your own style as a result.

The course has three levels, with each level taking one year. Registration for the course goes by year, so you are always free to stop or pause your studies Each year a certificate of participation is awarded.

After following this course you will be able to make hats for every occasion. Every year ends with the certificate of a craftsman hatmaker and you will have learned to make at least 4 types of hats. At the end of the three years, you will have learned to make 12 hats in the most popular classic models.

To crown your work, you can display your own collection for a month in Berry Rutjes’ hat salon on Noordeinde in The Hague!


You start in the first year. After that, you can move on to the second and third year. It is also possible to complete only the first year. For the other grades, basic knowledge about hat making and design is required.
You register per module and do not have to commit to 3 years!

Each grade has a clear step-by-step plan of action that is discussed and explained beforehand for each hat style. In addition to the classroom work (small groups with a maximum of 6 people), there is a lot of room for personal input and creativity with personal feedback and one-to-one communication. You will also receive the textbook and 4 illustrated e-books about the hat trade.

What you are going to learn:

  • Basic knowledge and basic skills
  • Tools
  • Moulds
  • Materials knowledge
  • Learning how to make your own felt
  • Learning to paint materials naturally
  • Learning to dye materials chemically
  • Sewing skills
  • Finishing Techniques
  • Trimmings & Fascinator/ cocktail hats
  • Custom made sizes and how to measure them
  • Which hat suits which face?
  • What styles are there?
  • Silk flower making

What are you going to do:

  • You will learn how to create 6 couture ladies hats by hand: 
  • Winter hat in 2 parts (felt hat with grosgrain ribbon finish and steel wire)
  • Winter/cocktail hat (1 piece felt hat with gussets and decoration)
  • Summer hat in 2 parts (parasisals with grosgrain ribbon trim and decoration)
  • Summer/Ascot hat (parasisals with silk biais and/or other materials)
  • Fascinator/ cocktail hat
  • Silk flower corsages

What is included:

  • 2 textbooks
  • 4 excursions
  • Professional starting sewing kit
  • Personal guidance

First Year starts Friday 19 January 2024 at 10:00. Course hours are 10.00-16.00.

What you are going to learn:
Specializations couture custom made hats & headpieces

  • Working with felt. Incrust technique, a special technique to work with different colours of felt in one hat and design a pattern through cutting techniques and a kind of embroidery.
  • Materials knowledge
    Working with Feathers .
    Fabulous Feathers. How to dye, cut, trim the feathers yourself. How to use them by a design on your hat or head.
  • Making minoches from feathers and how to use them.
  • Feather hat & Feather cocktail hat.
  • Sewing skills
  • Finishing Techniques
  • Working with Sinamay. Summer & cocktail hats.
  • Working with decorative straw braids. How do you make a hat from it?

What are you going to do:

  • You will learn how to create 6 couture ladies hats by hand: 
  • Winter hat with incrustments.
    Feather hat / Cocktailhat with feathers of Fascinator with feathers.
  • Summer hat in 2 parts (parasisals with sinamay)
  • Summer/Ascot hat (parasisals with silk biais and/or other materials)
  • Sinamy trimmings
  • Fascinator/ cocktail hat 
  • Your own Masterpiece

What is included:

  • 2 textbooks
  • 4 excursions
  • Personal guidance
  • Second year starts Wednesday 15 January 2025 at 10:00. Course hours are 10.00-16.00.

On which day is the training? 
2nd year

The training starts on Wednesday 15 January 2025 and is once a week on Wednesdays.

what you are going to learn:

  • Creating patterns = flat patterns.
  • Learning to work with sinamay.
  • Making a base of buckram or sparterie.
  • Reusing old textiles to make new hats.
  • Bridal hat and/or fascinator
  • Apply everything learned in previous years.

what are you going to do:

  • Making a floppy hat / flat pattern hat (using a sewing machine) in fabric
  • Hat of sinamay (sphere of two parts with separate brim + finishing in sinamay)
  • Make a hat from buckram recycling your favorite dress or scarf
  • Bridal hat and/or fascinator with all the skills and processes you have learned in previous modules.

Practical issues

For whom?
No experience is required for the first year however, being able to work neatly is a useful skill. For years 2 and 3, a basic knowledge of hat making and design is required.

Number of participants
You will be taught in a group with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 6 students.

The training takes place over three-year training and comprises 3 modules. Each year you follow a module that consists of 40 days. This is a fixed day per week. (Excluding school holidays) Lessons start at 10 am and last until 4 pm, with a half-hour lunch break.

Study load
The annual training is set up in such a way that you can achieve the learning objectives within the fixed teaching days. You are not obliged to work on the assignments at home, but of course, you can.

Days (start dates 2024)
Module 1, year training 1 Basic technique. Start Friday 17 January 2025.
Module 2, year training 2 Specializations. Starts Wednesday 15 January 2025.

Atelier Berry Rutjes, Hoge Gouwe 71, Gouda.  A visit to see  Berry Rutjes Jr. Hat Designer is an experience. In a beautiful impressive canal house, you will find an extensive collection of hat molds, and materials in all kinds of colors and structures. Boxes with laces/straps/beads. Everywhere you look there is something to see. You can sit and work here surrounded by inspiration, with plenty of space and there are professional steamers. The location is within walking distance of the central station.

The annual professional hatter training course costs €4,950,- per module (per year) and excludes materials.  The course is CRKBO-recognized and VAT free. You register per academic year and therefore do not have to commit yourself for 3 years. Payment is possible in 12 parts or in one payment.

Additional costs
To attend the course you will need a basic sewing kit plus cutting pliers. In addition, there is a cost of approximately between 30 and 100 € per hat for materials. You can purchase the basic set and materials yourself or through the Dutch Hat Academy. You work on existing molds, which are made available free of charge. If you want to buy your own molds, the Dutch Hat Academy can take help and advise you. We can also advise you on the type of materials.

Apply for 2025
Berry Rutjes

About Berry Rutjes

The annual professional hat-making course is a unique opportunity to learn the craft from start to finish from renowned hat maker Berry Rutjes. With thirty years of experience, craftsmanship, and creativity, she teaches you all facets of hat making and design.

After her fashion education in The Hague, Berry specialized in the classic, traditional techniques of hat-making at the London College of Fashion. In 1990 she founded her own hat salon & studio in the Netherlands: Berry Rutjes Jr. hat design. Here she designs and makes hats in the traditional way, from fashionable slouch hats to classic fedoras. Since September 2017, ‘making hats’ has been on the intangible heritage list of the Netherlands. Berry has a lot of experience in training and supervising interns (approved training company at SBB since 1992), students, and hopefully soon you too.

student stories

Read what students are saying
about Berry Rutjes

  • My role model is Coco Chanel. She started her career making hats. In my home country (Iran) people do not wear many hats and I would like to promote that more. Berry is someone from whom I can learn a lot and develop myself creatively. Are you also interested in the professional hat making course? Then go for it!

    Year Course Hat Making
  • 'From an early age I loved hats. So when I learned about Berry I went to Gouda to visit her first atelier at the Spiegeltent. I loved her hats and asked to make a custom hat for me. In fact over time she made me three hats! Because of my work I lived in Brussels, Paris and Washington DC and had no time to do more with my love for hats than only look at them. Some time ago at the end of september I returned to The Hague and live there now as a retired person. So when I read about the Dutch Hat Academy I decided to turn my passive love for hats into a more active one. Full circle back to Berry. And I love it!'

    Year Course Hat Making
  • 'The shared passion with my mother for hats made that after 27 years in Italy my choice fell on Gouda for my return to the Netherlands. For years I wanted to learn how to make hats and that's where Berry's workshop was located. How inspiring, it's like being at art school again and once again having the freedom to express my creativity. It had to be like that.'

    Year Course Hat Making
  • As a child I loved to walk through the "Haagsche Passage" and I would always look into the window of that one milliner. In 1994 I graduated from MTS Fashion and Clothing. At that time I didn't know what I wanted to be and I still don't! During my studies I would have liked to learn more about fur and leather, but unfortunately that did not happen. After walking along Noordeinde Past Berry Rutjes' salon many times, I thought; it's time. Time to learn how to make hats myself.

    Year Course Hat Making
  • I have always wanted to make hats. Even as a child, I chose arts and crafts. Unfortunately, there was no training in millinery at the time. I ended up doing sculpture for years and later came into contact with Berry. Professional training in hat making was now available and I was finally able to follow my heart.

    Year Course Hat Making
  • I started the course to use my creativity again. Beforehand I worried a bit if I could cope with the level of the course. But the videos are really helpful in every step. Every stitch is explained by Berry. And I enjoyed the live Q&A sessions with Berry very much. From her atelier, she gives good advice ánd inspiration. Making my own hat makes me feel proud and I wear the hat with love and pride!.

    Klasina Groeneveld
  • I’ve always wondered how a hat was made and how to use a hat block. Thanks to this masterclass, I got answers to these questions and I have made a hat that suits me.

    Frederike Maathuis-Backerus