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I have wanted for a while to try something new that will take me in a new direction with my sewing. A short three hour or half day workshop is the perfect way to get a taster to know whether it is the right thing for you. So this week I was quite excited to book myself on a free motion embroidery workshop.
Free Motion Embroidery Workshop
Free motion embroidery using a sewing machine is something that I have wanted to try for a while. I have often seen wonderful pictures that people have uploaded to Instagram and Facebook of the pictures that they have created, and I really did want to have a go at making pictures with fabric. But the nearest workshop I had seen online was in Lincoln. A little too far to travel from Leeds. So when I saw a workshop very close to where I live, I jumped at the chance.
The workshop I attended was at Fabrics For All, a fabric shop in Leeds. Sarah, who owns the shop and ran the workshop, used to teach textiles, and creates some amazing pieces. So I was excited to see what she had in store.
It can be quite daunting to go somewhere and meet new people. I will admit, I felt quite nervous at the prospect. But one of the great things about the sewing community is that they are usually very nice people. And sure enough, soon I was chatting about all things sewing and finding out more about my fellow students’ sewing likes and dislikes. Another wonderful thing about workshops is that there is usually a fantastic social element, so people can have a good natter, but get time to ask all the questions that they need.
Freemotion embroidery means that you lower the feed dogs and remove the presser foot on your sewing machine, replacing it with a more specialised darning or freemotion embroidery foot. This then results in you being able to move the fabric in all directions while you sew. Essentially therefore you are able to ‘draw’ with the sewing lines that you create! By building up different pieces of fabric, you can create pictures, sketching in the details with the free stitching.
What Did I Learn?
We were shown how to build up the pictures using templates of the shapes we wished to make. And how to do the basic stitches needed. It totally goes against how I have sewn before. I found the free action of moving the cloth in all directions quite liberating. It can be quite hard to let your perfectionism go though!
Actually, the more rough and ready the stitching, the more rustic the result. So you do not have to be absolutely perfect. Plus, with more practice I think I could get quite good at this. I was pretty pleased with my results, and each of the pupils made some lovely pictures.
The workshop was essentially marketed as a card making idea for pre Christmas. But there are loads of applications for this technique. During quilting or appliqué work on clothes. Maybe to make pictures for the wall, or to use as a cushion panel?
As I am always looking for new ways to use up fabric scraps, this is a perfect scrap buster idea! You just need to bond your scraps to bondaweb before cutting the templates out for the picture you wish to create. I can already see that this will be a new outlet for my sewing, with a bit of a artistic and creative twist.
I really do think that workshops are a great way to learn new sewing machine techniques like this.
And when I had a go on my machines at home I decided to make some Christmas Decorations! See them here.
What do you think? Please do comment, or give me a shout on social media.