Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Responding to Pattern on Fabric

Framed Small Bird Embroidery

I ran an embroidery workshop at the weekend and, as I usually do, used it as an opportunity to try out a couple of new ideas and make some new samples and pieces. I often use my own drawings as a starting point for embroideries but one of the comments I frequently get in workshops is 'but I can't draw.' Now, I personally believe that everyone can draw, however, I do not want to put people off and if they have come to do an embroidery workshop it is only fair to ensure the focus is on that rather than drawing. So, I started looking at pattern in fabric and using that as a starting point. I had some lovely Ikea bird print fabric left over form a dress I made ages ago and decided to start experimenting with that.

Experimenting with threads and stitches



The fabric is white with line drawings of birds and some printed taupe areas. I began by colouring in some of the birds to act as a colour guide and a more interesting base to work on. I then experimented with different stitches to fill in the coloured areas and complete the birds.

More experimenting


French knots

During the workshop the participants wanted to try reverse appliqué so I started off another sample using this technique. I layered up some patterned fabrics and then put the bird fabric on top. I then began stitching around parts of the bird shapes and then cut the top layer back to reveal the patterns underneath. I'm pleased with how this piece is starting to look and am looking forward to doing a bit more work on it.

Reverse appliqué and embroidery bird

Stitch detail


I really enjoyed working these pieces, they are a lovely way to experiment with stitches and explore different thread, colour and stitch combinations. I am continuing to work on them and looking forward to seeing what new ideas they may spark.


  1. Love them. So creative. Where do you run your workshops?
    S xx

    1. Thank you! This particular workshop was at The Hut which is in the grounds of Brampton Community Centre. They do lots of really interesting workshops and courses with a whole range of practitioners. I'm looking to do some more of these workshops and am currently looking for venues at the moment. H x