Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Hand embroidered Mexican blouse with Hilary Simon

Ref: SLW10753

Suitable for all

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Places available

About this course

Hand embroider a traditional Mexican cotton blouse with a lace collar, using simple stitches to create flowers and foliage.

Course Description

Join artist and curator Hilary Simon for a Mexican fiesta weekend as you learn to embroider colourful patterns and motifs to personalise a traditional white cotton Mexican blouse.

You will be given a blouse with a lace collar with an area to be embroidered. Create a bespoke garment inspired by many original hand embroidered Mexican pieces and designs on display, including popular flowers and birds motifs.

Beginners are welcome, as the stitches used are primarily stem and satin stitch, with chain and running stitch. You will be given help with the design and with the skills to embroider, and you will work on design sketches and colour preferences. West Dean Gardens are beautiful in the summer and may be an added source of inspiration.

Satin and stem stitch are practised in the indigenous communities in Mexico, on many of the hand embroidered garments. Each design differs from every village, and one can distinguish where someone comes from by their embroidery. We will be looking closely at the embroidery practised in the highlands, and the coast of Oaxaca.

We will study embroidery techniques, and will have a clear understanding of methods to create effects. You will gain the skills and basic techniques to be confident in embellishing a blouse and to continue using embroidery at home. There will be demonstrations at each stage, and a clear background of Mexican culture shown in images with a slide presentation.

The tutor has a planned exhibition about the Mayan woven and embroidered ‘Huipil’, the rectangular top worn in the southern regions of Mexico. Reference images will be available, and many samples to enthral and excite.


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, 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


  • One Mexican blouse (multi-size) embroidery threads, and a sheet of cartridge and tracing paper.

What students need to bring

  • Any specific ideas and images for designs
  • An embroidery hoop if you have one (may be borrowed)
  • Your sewing kit – with scissors, and embroidery needles
  • Pencils and coloured pencils/chalks may be useful if you have them.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Embroidery needles
  • Embroidery scissors
  • Additional paper if needed


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

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