Thursday, 3 February 2011

Jan Tillett – Free Motion Machine Embroidery Workshop

Free Motion Machine Embroidery Workshop

I have just had the most brilliant two days attending the above workshop, courtesy of my husband Steve, who bought me a place on it as a Christmas present.

The workshops was held in Truro in a very pleasant venue and surroundings and there were only 5 attending which made it a very friendly group and enabled Jan to give time to anyone who might be having difficulty either with their machine or the technique they were trying.

I took some photos of my work - click on any of them to enlarge.

Prior to attending this workshop I would have said that free motion machine embroidery was not for me as I had a few goes at it with very little success.  Now I'm afraid I may bore people with tales of my success at drawing with my machine, thread painting, applying different fabrics and making cords with my sewing machine!

Jan is a very patient tutor who, as well as providing good handouts, also has a stock of tips which you would struggle to find in books and which can help someone who, like me, was not very confident to begin with.

During the first day we looked at setting up the machine for free motion embroidery, followed by exercises in taking a line for a walk, “scribbling”, circles, vermicelli (this may take a little more practice!) and spirals.  We also looked at using the zigzag stitch whilst in free motion mode and how to vary the type of zigzag stitch whilst machining.  We also learned why to use a hoop and why sometimes you could machine without the hoop, depending on the effect you were looking for.

Jan gave demonstrations of each technique before sending us off to our machines to try it for ourselves and was very good at repeating the instructions if necessary, so nobody felt awkward if they didn't understand the first time.

Day two started with a session on the machines just refreshing ourselves on what we had learnt the previous day (a warm up).  After this the emphasis was on using fabrics to create textures and Jan demonstrated how to build up layers of fabrics onto a base of calico and then stitching over them to create colour and texture.  We also used “Supermend” to adhere scraps of fabrics and threads to a base fabric then covered the piece with organza and ironed it between two sheets of baking parchment to secure the scraps.

This was then stitched over making a fabric which could be used for a number of uses from cardmaking to book covers etc., depending on the size of the piece.

At the end of the two days I came away extremely happy (and a little tired!) with the confidence to use free motion machine embroidery more in my work.

I would like to say thank you to Jan for a brilliant two days and thank you to my husband, Steve for giving me such a great Christmas present!

You can find out more about Jan's work and workshops on:
Jan Tillett Website