Exploring machine embroidery techniques with Wendy Dolan

Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Ref: SLW11312

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Places available

About this course

Develop skills in freehand embroidery to create a variety of effects using whip and cable stitch. Fabric is layered, painted and worked into to develop textured samples to use as small pictures or cushion covers.

Course Description

This course will give you an opportunity to explore and develop freehand machine embroidery techniques. After gaining an understanding of how to set up your machine and ‘draw’ with your thread, you will be encouraged to adjust the tension settings on your machine to create a variety of effects, using whip stitch and cable stitch. Fabrics will be layered, and worked into, creating exciting textured samples which can be mounted up as small pictures, cushion cover panels, or greetings cards.

After demonstrations of the techniques you will develop your own skills, 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.


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


  • Materials shared amongst the group – stitch ‘n tear, coloured dupion silk.

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 sewing machine, please email us to reserve one - email: bookingsoffice@westdean.org.uk).
  • Scissors – small embroidery and fabric
  • Pins
  • Spare machine needles (90 (14))
  • Fabrics: Lightweight coloured fabrics – e.g. Dupion silk, cotton, organza
  • Machine threads: These can be general sewing threads – Drima, Guterman etc. or machine embroidery threads.
  • Pencils and paper
  • Apron, overall for fabric painting.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • For any materials you need to purchase from the shop, we suggest you do so during the first morning of your course, after having discussed with your tutor.
  • Available from tutor:
  • Calico – pre-washed
  • Wooden Embroidery hoop – 7 – 8 inch
  • Coloured Dupion silk
  • Textured fabrics in cream and white (cotton, silk, linen, scrim – small pieces)
  • Organza
  • White cotton machine thread
  • Madeira 40 machine embroidery threads
  • Stitch ‘n Tear – stabiliser
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


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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