Machine embroidery – architectural textures with Wendy Dolan

Art textiles

Ref: SLW12322

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Places available

About this course

Create stitched pictures inspired by architecture. Develop designs as you piece, patch and layer fabrics and then work into them using a combination of machine embroidery, hot air tools and textured paint effects.

Course Description

Inspired by architectural images, this course will offer the chance to explore and develop a combination of skills in a creative way. Plain natural fabrics will be pieced, patched and layered and then worked into with paint and freehand machine stitching to create a stitched and textured picture inspired by architecture. You will develop skills in freehand machine embroidery, applied fabrics and fabric painting. You will also be introduced to textured paint effects and the use of hot air tools.

In the first session, the tutor will show examples of her own use of stitched textiles to represent architectural images. You will then begin to prepare a sample piece of work. The tutor will give demonstrations of the techniques and you will be encouraged to develop individual designs, with guidance and encouragement. Group reviews will be held during and at the end of the course, so that ideas can be shared and discussed.

To gain the most from the course, ideally, you will know how to use a sewing machine.


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


  • Basic additional materials, supplied for use by the group as a whole, including fabric paints and Xpandaprint

What students need to bring

  • Sewing machine and darning foot, with your machine manual (sewing machines may be borrowed at the College – please email to reserve one, or let us know if you are bringing your own machine)
  • Scissors for paper and fabric
  • Pins/needles
  • A selection of plain, un-dyed fabrics, e.g. cotton, calico, muslin, scrim, linen, slub silk – pre-shrunk and, ideally, varying in texture and tone
  • Machine threads, according to your chosen colour scheme
  • Working overall/shirt
  • Pencil/Paper

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Madeira 30 weight machine embroidery threads
  • Sewing machine needles (90/100)
  • Tracing paper
  • Coloured papers (for collage design work)
  • A4 paper for design work
  • Pritt stick glue
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will also have the following for purchase, if needed:
  • Calico – pre-shrunk
  • Textured fabrics in cream/white (cotton, silk, linen, etc.)
  • White cotton machine thread
  • Scrim fabric
  • Stitch ‘n tear backing fabric/Bondaweb/transfer adhesive
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


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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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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