This course has concessions available


Learn a wide range of creative embellishment skills, using both hand and machine embroidery. Each term will begin with learning techniques, which will lead to a personal project. All levels of experience welcome for each term.
Term 1. Learn a wide range of hand and machine embroidery techniques.
Term 2. Learn appliqué techniques with hand and machine embroidery.
Term 3. Learn fabric manipulation with hand and machine embroidery.

Who is this course for

Learn a wide range of hand and machine embroidery, embellishment and manipulation techniques, to create innovative and contemporary textiles.
This class is open to anyone who has a passion for textiles and would like to develop their creative ability through the art of stitch. No previous experience is necessary and students will learn new skills focusing on their particular requirements. Experimentation is key as students build their own stitch vocabulary in traditional and non-traditional materials. In addition students will learn how to develop independent research and design skills, exploring their individual working process, to complete a self initiated project.

What does this course cover

Students will learn a vocabulary of stitch techniques and experiment with new ways of looking at stitch, focusing on a different area of embroidery each term. Individual projects will encourage students to explore the vast scope of embroidery and expand student's knowledge of both decorative and conceptual stitch, with particular emphasis on stitch as a medium of self-expression and communication.
Central to the design element of the course, students will originate stitch inspiration from their own drawing and mark making, photographs and found images. Students will learn how to develop an idea from primary and secondary sources resulting in a finished textile.
With tutor support students will tap into, and cultivate, their individual creativity. Students will gather stitch skills and knowledge through exhibition visits and researching textile artists, making stitch samples, one to one tutorials, group discussions, tutor demonstrations, hand-outs and visual presentations.

Term 1 - Building a vocabulary of hand embroidery stitches. First time students will be introduced to
a range of stitches. If students have attended the class before they will be encouraged to perfect already learnt stitches and to practice more complex ones. All students will be shown how to use the sewing machine as a creative tool for drawing, with particular emphasis on free machine embroidery.
After producing a range of samples students will do a self-initiated project, encouraging them to develop their own designs and be experimental with their stitch ideas.

Term 2 - New students will be introduced to applique, in all its various guises, incorporating both traditional and modern techniques. Students will experiment with hand and machine methods to layer, tear, fray, cut and stuff, to produce what is essentially a fabric collage. Repeat students will perfect their techniques and will be encouraged to be more adventurous with their methods and materials. All the students will then do a self-initiated project that will enable them to develop ideas and be experimental with media and techniques.

Term 3 - Students will learn manipulating fabric techniques, practicing how they can alter the structure of fabric. They will focus particularly on how to turn the surface into a relief. We will concentrate on pleating, stuffing, twisting, folding and gathering to create interesting and innovative structures on the surface. These samples will combine both hand and machine stitching. Students will then follow a self-initiated project where they will be able to develop, expand and add a personal touch to the techniques they have learnt.

By the end of the course students will:
1. Produce creative stitched textile samples incorporating a range of stitches and techniques
previously unknown to you.
2. Have a wider knowledge and understanding of artists and designers that work in stitch.
3. Demonstrate the ability to explore your own individual creativity.
4. Gather and collate your own reference material that will lead to a self-initiated project.
5. Develop ideas through drawings and samples with the aim of producing a final piece.
6. Reflect on and evaluate your own work and that of others.

What will it be like

Learning will be facilitated by individual guidance and support from the tutor as well as group
Centred learning. Skills and knowledge will be learned through a programme of class trips, stitch and drawing exercises, one to one tutorials, tutor feedback, group discussion, visual demonstrations, verbal descriptions, hand-outs and visual presentations.
Group reviews will feature regularly on the course and students will be encouraged to discuss their work. This enables peer centred learning. There are three one-to-one tutorials per term. Your progress is monitored by tutorial feedback and initial, on-course and end of course self-assessment. Individual advice is always available and verbal feedback, support and encouragement is given to you throughout the course.
- Questions and answers during group discussions and one-to-one teaching.
- Record students' progress and achievement on an assessment sheet as they achieve the course
- Practical work produced is evidence of learning.
- At the end of the course we will review the work produced as a whole group.

What else do you need to buy or do

Calico will be provided for stitch samples, and coloured fabric scraps for other samplers. Stranded embroidery cotton and cotton reels for the machine will be provided but students will probably want to bring their own for personal projects.
A list of suppliers will be available at the beginning of the course. The cost of materials should be approximately £10 per student per term.
Students will be expected to bring a basic sewing kit, each term, which consists of:

- Folder with plastic pockets for keeping hand-outs and samples.
- Embroidery needles of varying sizes.
- Embroidery hoop.
- Scissors.
- Embroidery thread and other threads to experiment with.
- Range of fabric scraps.
- Pens and pencils.
- Sketch-book for recording ideas and inspiration materials.

A small amount of homework will be set each week, but it is usually just to finish off samples started in class and collecting visual inspiration or materials.

What this course could lead to

This course could lead to other textile courses at the Mary Ward Centre or another further education college. Foundation or Pre-foundation course at the Mary Ward Centre, Textiles courses at the Mary Ward Centre, Textile courses at other institutions, City and Guilds creative studies embroidery. The student could take a follow up short course or a longer term or year long course. It could also inspire self-initiated projects.

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

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Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference.   We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’