With over 40 years of sewing and design experience, 20 of those years in the theater, Elsie Collins discovered her passion for millinery in 1990, when she owned a women’s retail and custom boutique in Providence, RI, located on the East Coast, about 60 miles south of Boston. In 1998, her millinery epiphany occurred when she was hand sewing 1860’s hats for the Shakespearean Theater of Maine for a summer stock play, The Heiress. Exhausted at 2am, with poor lighting in a tiny cabin on a lake, listening to the loons, Elsie tells of the rush of pure joy she felt doing what she loved, and realized, “I love this so much, I could do it for three more lifetimes!!”
She studied apparel design and pattern drafting at RISD, and served a three year apprenticeship to an Italian tailor. Millinery has been a very natural progression, and learning to block felt and straw has rounded out her skills as a milliner. Her extensive skills in embroidery, and silk ribbon embroidery, and ribbon flowers, have served as the perfect embellishment to her hats, as well as handmade silk organza flowers. Ms. Collins began collecting vintage hats in the 1980’s, and has a vast collection in her studio, that students can examine for inspiration, and see how milliners of years ago, made their hats. Some of that collections includes a 1959 Christian Dior bubble toque, a 1954 straw cap by Elsa Schiaparelli, a 1960’s straw cloche by Yves Saint Laurent, and a 1950’s straw golfing cap by Lilly Dache’.
She is predominantly self taught, and recently took a free form fur felt blocking workshop with Jasmin Zorlu, whom she invited as a guest teacher to her N. Providence studio last December.
Orsini~Medici Couture Millinery is a working and teaching millinery, apparel and costume design studio in Oak Hill, Pawtucket/ USA, offering classes in felt blocking, sinamay blocking, cut and sewn hats, pattern drafting/draping for hat making, buckram and wire frame hats, fascinators, and surface embellishments like silk ribbon embroidery, silk flower making, and feather work She also offers classes in mask making.
Elsie offers 3 day intensive workshops, and will tailor your classes to your particular skill level. Seminars for those who are travelling great distances can B&B at the studio for less than a hotel stay. We can also tailor longer seminars if desired.
Elsie is as passionate about cooking as she is about hats, and meals are included in a B&B stay!! Classes are limited to two student per workshop, as space is very limited, but, the one on one attention is invaluable!
Classes are on demand, so they can be scheduled at the students’ convenience.
Weekends or weekdays, as needed. Please email me at: orsinimedicicouturemillinery@
Classes: Oak Hill, Pawtucket,RI/USA
Please feel free to give us a call at: 401-475-3748