Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Exploring hand embroidery – for new interpretations with Charlotte Bailey

Ref: SSS08963


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About this course

Use traditional embroidery techniques to inform and inspire contemporary applications. Gain a hand stitch 'vocabulary' and learn how to interpret drawn marks and sketches made in the gardens into stitch, to create and combine embroidery elements to inspire an individual work.

Course Description

Whilst embroidery has its roots firmly in the past, its rich historical heritage is by no means limited to traditional functions. With contemporary uses as relevant for the 21st century as its historical counterparts were for centuries past, explore the rich potential of subtly subverting technique and exploring elements of stitch relevant to your own individual application on this course.

This course will equip you with a stitch 'vocabulary', heavily drawing upon but not beholden to traditional technique: combined with basic design development, this initial investigation will inform your personal progression as you consider, create and combine embroidery elements to inspire your own outcomes.

Anticipate spending two days on technical grounding before moving on to begin developing personal outcomes using sampling to inspire a personal progression, guided and supported by the tutor, before you start work on a final piece. The tutor will also lead a session on design development and its translation into embroidered outcomes; one morning will be spent drawing in West Dean Gardens, followed by a session on considering how to interpret mark-making and sketches into stitch.

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for your summer school week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

Special Summer School features:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A swap-over session to another course of your choice

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (pre-booked)

• A celebration with dinner, entertainment and music

• Workshop displays of students' work and informal end-of-course group reviews


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • A thimble/embroidery scissors - if you have them
  • Any particular embroidery equipment you like working with, or materials, such as beads or threads which you would like to include or find out how you can put them to use. (Scissors, embroidery hoops and needles will be lent to you during the course, if needed)
  • Base fabric for your embroidery, if you have a particular fabric you wish to use
  • A sketchbook and sketching media, pencils/pens, coloured pastel/crayons etc,
  • Some pictorial inspiration - you may like to bring a photograph, drawing, magazine cut-out or fabric swatch if you have a theme you would like to develop or to inspire your own design, but this is not essential.

Available to buy

  • A sketchbook
  • Basic sketching pencils, pens, pastels, crayon, or water-based media if you wish to use paint
  • Base fabric
  • Needles, pins and limited hand sewing thread
  • There will be the option for you to buy certain embroidery supplies from the tutor, You should reimburse her directly for anything you use, by cash or cheque.


Charlotte Bailey

Charlotte Bailey is a hand-embroidery artist who trained at the Royal School of Needlework and works from her studio on the south coast. She has collaborated on commissions from Louis Vuitton and Mary Katrantzou to the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, and has embroidered for esteemed London ateliers Hand and Lock. More recently she has worked on freelance embellishment for Disney and Netflix projects alongside maintaining her own personal practice.


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

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