Machine embroidered textiles – patterns and colours of India with Wendy Dolan

Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Ref: S4D11988

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About this course

The patterns and colours of India offer endless inspiration for textiles. Fabrics will be pieced and layered, then embellished with paint and freehand machine stitching. Wooden printing blocks will add decorative elements to your individual designs.

Course Description

This course offers you the chance to creatively develop a variety of textile skills, as you explore the vibrant colours and patterns of Indian textiles.

Applied fabrics, fabric painting, machine and hand embroidery will be combined to create unique designs. Natural fabrics will be pieced and layered, creating textured backgrounds. Paper collage will facilitate the development of colour schemes before painting the layered fabrics with water based fabric pigments.

The art of block printing textiles by hand is a thriving activity in India and the wooden blocks are individually carved by hand. A selection of wooden Indian printing blocks will be used to embellish the surface, and freehand machine and hand embroidery will be worked into the designs.

On this course you will

• Create a unique design inspired by Indian textiles.

• Develop freehand machine embroidery skills, learning to ‘draw’ with your machine.

• Combine assorted fabrics in order to create textured surfaces.

• Apply surface decoration using wooden printing blocks

After demonstrations of the techniques, you will be encouraged to develop individual designs, with guidance and encouragement from the tutor. Group reviews will be held during and at the end of the course, so that ideas can be shared and discussed.

During the first evening session, the tutor will give an illustrated talk about her textile visit to India. Design sources will be discussed to inspire your course work and you will begin preparing fabric samples.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the tutor will supply some of the materials including:
  • The use of fabric paints and Xpandaprint supplied by the tutor for use amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • • Your sewing machine: with a darning foot, if you have one, and your extension table. (If you wish to use a College machine, please email us to reserve one:
  • • Fabrics: Selection of plain, un-dyed, pre-washed natural fabrics, e.g. cotton, calico, muslin, scrim, linen, silk, ideally varying in texture and tone. Small pieces of coloured silk fabrics.
  • • Small pieces of lace fabric or trimmings
  • • Tear away stabiliser – Stitch’nTear or medium weight sew-in Vilene
  • • Threads: Coloured machine threads, according to chosen colour scheme. White cotton machine thread. Fine coloured hand embroidery threads, e.g. Cotton Perle, Coton a Broder, for cable stitching and hand stitching, according to chosen colour scheme.
  • • Wooden printing blocks if you have any, depicting patterns and Indian images.
  • • Scissors, pins/needles.
  • • Pencil/paper/tracing paper, masking tape
  • • Coloured papers, pritt stick
  • • Overall/shirt

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • • Madeira 30 machine embroidery threads
  • • Sewing machine needles
  • Available from tutor:
  • • Calico – pre-shrunk
  • • Textured fabrics, Scrim fabric
  • • Coloured Silk fabric
  • • White cotton machine thread,
  • • Madeira machine embroidery threads
  • • Stitch 'n Tear (fabric stabiliser)
  • • Machine needles
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals).


Wendy Dolan

Wendy Dolan is an experienced textile artist, tutor and lecturer, specialising in freehand machine embroidery. She is a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen and author of Layer, Paint and Stitch.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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