Laura Amy Dunne (Abbeyleix, Co. Laois) 

“I first attended a millinery course with Niav back in 2014, and have returned many times since. Niav was, and still is, my top choice after doing extensive research on classes and teachers available. She covers a superb range of skills and techniques and I honestly feel she is one of Ireland’s best kept millinery teaching secrets!! 

From day 1 you will be equipped with skills and knowledge to begin your own millinery adventure. Niav is extremely generous with her time and knowledge and goes above and beyond to help you achieve the piece you plan to make. I would also add that Niav is exceptional at encouraging students to embrace and develop their own personal style and I have really seen my own style emerge and flourish, along with being encouraged from seeing many other people I’ve learned with go on to have successful millinery stories. I have covered a range of topics and techniques under Niav’s guidance using straws, felts, sinamay, leather, lace, jinsin and many more. 

Using what I’ve learned I have been able to make and sell my own pieces, and have had friends and family commission pieces for various events. I have also purchased 4 blocks from Niav’s range and can highly recommend them for both price and quality. I look forward to continuing to grow and develop my millinery skills, and am very excited to take it to a further level in the near future! I would be more than happy to recommend Niav to anyone else who might be considering it for themselves.” 

Maria Birmingham Marie Claire Designs (Birr, Co. Offaly) 

I am a Hairdresser and makeup artist and I also make my own headpiece’s and neckpieces This works well alongside my own business. I completed 2 workshops with Niav working with felt and a leather and lace workshop in her fabulous studio and have also purchased some of Niav’s hatblocks. Niav share’s her craft in a fun and relaxed atmosphere and lunch is amazing too. It’s clear to see that Niav is passionate about millinery and teaching. I feel I have learned so much and hope to do another course with Niav. I would recommend to anyone interested in millinery. 

Catherine Buckley Millinery (Mullingar, Co. Westmeath) 

I have attended several workshops with Niav including an Introduction workshop, an advanced workshop and a leather workshop. I had never sewn before, yet after two sessions with Niav I was addicted to millinery…! Niav’s classes are fun and relaxed, and are used as a space to share concepts, techniques and ideas. I’ve also made some great friends here! 

I work full-time, and in my spare time I have started to build a small millinery business making headpieces for family and friends. I wear my pieces to weddings and ladies days, and last summer I scooped a Best Dressed Lady title at a Leopardstown race meet wearing one of my own creations. In recent months my confidence has grown immensely:- 

In May 2018, I was a runner up in the ‘Best New Business’ category of the 2018 Westmeath Style Awards, which was incredibly exciting! In February 2018, I featured in the ‘Up & Coming’ showcase of HATWALK 2018 in Derry. In April 2017, I was invited to feature alongside some of Ireland’s top milliners in an exhibition organised by Só Collective in Kildare Village. 

Michele Fallon (Newbridge Co. Kildare) 

I attended the “ Millinery for beginners “ course in February 2017 with Niav . The course was completed over one weekend and at the end of day one, I came away with my first headpiece and a great feeling of accomplishment. By day two I had developed techniques and the all important confidence to get started on my own Millinery journey. 

Following the course I purchased 3 hat blocks , No.’s 3 , 7 & 12 , and that was enough to get me started as they can be combined to create amazing pieces . I set up my own business “ Michele Fallon Millinery “ shortly after from home. I have two young daughters and Millinery gives me great freedom to work from home. 

Within one year one of my hats won 1st place in Naas “ Best Dressed Lady “ competitionI I myself , have won Fairyhouse “ Most Stylish Lady” competition, and I have just created two specially commissioned pieces for Royal Ascot . 

I’d highly recommend the course as it’s such a lovely way to spend a weekend, if only for Niav’s scones . Thank you Niav, you’re an absolute lady. 

Michelle Ruddy (Luan Millinery) Athlone, Co. Westmeath 

I had wanted to learn Millinery for some time and was seeking a short course that I could do to see if I enjoyed it. I started with the Introduction to Millinery weekend course and enjoyed it so much I knew I wanted to learn more! Since my first course I have completed an intermediate and masterclass with Niav and most recently a buckram and Lycra twists workshop. Each course with Niav has small numbers so you feel you are getting individual attention. Her studio is well equipped and she creates a lovely atmosphere for learning. Her classes are well planned and full of useful guidance. She is a wealth of information and a great mentor! In addition to her workshops I have bought hat blocks from Niav which I use regularly in my work. They are really affordable and a great way to start building up your colllection of blocks. Niav’s courses have given me the skills and confidence to start my own part time Millinery business which I am happy to say I love and is going well! I couldn’t recommend her workshops or blocks highly enough! Michelle – Luan Millinery 

Siobhan Daly Designs (Navan Co. Meath) 

I’ve been attending courses with Niav for several years now. She is a Millinery master. Her patience knows no limits and she has a practical solution to all my Millinery errors! I cannot recommend Niav enough, or her wonderful (really well priced) blocks. Niav has taught me many skills but she has also given me the confidence to start my own business which is going from strength to strength. 

I have had my hats placed in the top 5 at The Races and also I won best dressed myself last year in Navan and came 2nd place in the Leopardstown Best Dressed. My designs are currently stocked in 3 shops around the country.

Claire Anderson (Hats Perfect) 

My name is Claire from Hats Perfect, I have attended 2 workshops with Niav. She is a wonderful teacher and so very knowledgeable about all things hat related! I’m a scientist by trade so making headpieces is a creative release for me. I have a little hattery in my home in Castleknock, Dublin 15. 

I won Best Dressed Lady at Navan Racecourse in 2016, and placed as a top 3 finalist in Bellewstown 2017 & Fairyhouse 2018 wearing my own headpieces. I love making custom pieces for my customers, I have made pieces for many mothers’ of the bride/groom, wedding guests & racegoers! I also have a small selection of pieces for hire.

  • Facebook: @hatsperfect 
  • Instagram: hatsperfect

Berr Upton (Beautiful Millinery) Waterford 

I found Niav’s Millinery Block page on Facebook and was delighted when my first one arrived. Not only was it handy to order, but delivery and customer service amazing. I received information on care as well as advice contact info too. 

I have been working with sinamay for a number of years, and was delighted to find a one on one leather/ lace class with Niav available. The class itself was so relaxing, but best of all I walked away with new skills, confidence and a new block which I could purchase on the day. 

Niav is a pleasure to deal and work with, and I honestly look forward to next purchase or class as I adore learning new techniques.

Michelle Treacy Millinery (Kilkenny) 

“I’d been making hats on a very part time basis for years but wanted to launch myself properly as a serious milliner. I found Niav on Facebook and realized firstly that she did great hat blocks which I immediately ordered! My favourite were the teardrop and both large discs! 

I then figured there is little point in having great blocks if you do not use them properly ! So I booked a group course with Niav where I learned how to use the blocks and that fantastic material Buckram!! 

I was completely hooked by Niav’s lovely manner and excellent Millinery skills ! I then went back for her leather course and booked numerous one-on-one days to upskill. 

Niav was instrumental in my launching my business! She was a fantastic teacher and mentor. Michelle Treacy Millinery has since had a hat win best dressed at the Scottish Grand National, feature in the advertising campaign for Visit Kilkenny , been featured in local and national media and had gone from strength to strength over the past 6 months!! 

I cannot recommend Niav enough!!”


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