Contemporary Millinery by Sophie Beale

Contemporary Millinery by Sophie Beale | Millinery Book Review

Textile Art Book Reviews

At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.


Contemporary Millinery, Hat Design And Construction by Sophie Beale is a comprehensive overview on how to make hats. Packed with useful information and over 450 helpful photographs, it’s an essential book for wannabe milliners.

About The Author

Sophie Beale is aa award winning milliner and millinery teacher. She learned her art at the Kensington and Chelsea College, and has exhibited across the world. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook

Contemporary Millinery Sophie Beale images pasted over two pages
You’ll learn how to create several stylish types of hat – be excited!

Who Is This Book Aimed At?

Those who are studying Millinery will find this book an all-round learning guide, thanks to its detailed content, including the required patterns, tools, stitches and instructions.

As an aside, if you are reading this and you want to learn millinery, we’ve got a post you’ll want to read!


As an artist and designer myself, I have to admit I had no idea how to create a hat, so this book has been a real education for me.

Helpfully, the contents list states the difficulty level of each of the ten projects individually.

Contemporary Millinery Sophie Beale contents list
You can choose which projects to tackle, based on their difficulty.

As you might expect, hat making requires a range of specific tools and there are lots of technical terms to get to grips with. Sophie’s experience as a teacher shines through in the book as she takes plenty of time and space to demystify the topic.

There are plenty of photographs to provide support and I’ve no doubt this will be a much-thumbed section of the book.

Contemporary Millinery Sophie Beale tools explained, in picture and written text
Prepare to discover a whole new toolkit!

Oh goodness, if you gave me an exam on Millinery terms, I would fail. This page of useful millinery terms is an introduction to a new language!

Contemporary Millinery Sophie Beale a detailed page on the terms used within this book
useful terms to know when creating your own hat

Hat making is as much about engineering as it is about needlework, and there are certain stitches which may be new to you. Again, Sophie doesn’t let you down, as she provides detailed instruction.

Contemporary Millinery Sophie Beale stitches to use
Each new stitch is accompanied with step-by-step photography.

Each project is set out more or less the same, with a finished image, instructions, list of all that is needed and all the key steps to get there.

Contemporary Millinery Sophie Beale hat project
One of the projects, with finished image and then the stages to get there

There are enough images alongside the instructions to make sure you won’t get lost along the way. The finished hats and headpieces are all captured in their glory so you know what the end result should look like.

Contemporary Millinery Sophie Beale up close hat image
The power to create this beautiful headpiece is within you (and this book!)

Finally, at the back of the book all the templates and patterns needed are set out, ready for you to copy.

Contemporary Millinery Sophie Beale hat patterns at the back
The final pieces of the puzzle – your hat templates.


Millinery is a vast craft form, and we’ve got dozens of blog posts on the subject, so a book that aims to teach you millinery has got a lot of prove.

Thankfully, Sophie Beale is the perfect author for such a task and in this book you’ll get all the information you need to get to grips with the craft. While it might not guarantee immediate success – practice makes perfect after all – it will help you get set up and ready to make your first hat!

Contemporary Millinery, Hat Design And Construction by Sophie Beale is available to purchase through this link!

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