About the Course
Free-machine embroidery is a fun and exciting way of ‘drawing’ with your sewing machine. Suitable for complete beginners who haven’t used a machine before to experienced sewers who would like to have a go or refresh their skills. I enjoy teaching and encouraging others to try a new art form, or to develop their existing skills with fabric and stitch.
During the workshop we experiment with free-machine embroidery 'drawing with stitch'. I will show you how to set up your machine for free-machine embroidery, how to stretch fabric onto an embroidery hoop, how to practise ‘doodling’ on your machine. With a large selection of fabrics on hand, we will cut out and applique them onto a background piece to create a picture to work on during the workshop then take home to finish at the end of the session.
Let me know if you already have an idea of the type of piece you'd like to make, and feel free to bring along your own images or fabrics to work with. The class size is up to 6 people, so there is plenty of individual help and guidance, and the workshop is suitable for beginners and experienced sewers alike.
I have three cats.
I am a contemporary textile artist, and have been creating and selling art pieces for over twenty years. I completed a BA Hons Degree in Fashion & Textiles, specialising in embroidery at the UCE in Birmingham, graduating in 1994. I love the process of working with fabric and stitch, and have been collecting both for as long as I can remember, having amassed a treasured store of new, re-used and vintage material and threads.
In addition to my studio work and commissions, in 2001 I set up an after school Art Club at a local primary school which I continue to enjoy running; and undertake a variety of workshops and community art projects, including many with the patients at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
A large selection of fabrics including patterned & plain cottons, linens, silks, velvet etc. Embroidery threads, metallic threads, buttons, beads, ribbons, braids etc for you to look through and use, plus plenty of textile/embroidery books, embroidery magazines, images and samples to view and provide inspiration. All materials are included.
Please bring your own sewing machine (I have spares for those who don't have a machine).
Hot and cold drinks (tea, herbal teas, real coffee) and snacks (including homemade cake) are provided throughout the day (please let me know if you have any allergies or dietary requirements), and please bring a packed lunch.
I really enjoyed Dawn's course. She was very welcoming and was always available to help, give advice without pushing you on before you felt ready and she gave you confidence to try things. It was great to be able to spend 5 hours just getting used to what my own machine would do. Dawn had a great range of materials and resources which she encouraged us to use. It was a lovely day with such a nice group of people. Thank you for a very enjoyable day.
Marie - - #22918
Fabulous course. Dawn is a great teacher, very patient and nurturing. She is so creative and inspires others to find their own creativity.
Sara - - #22911
Dawn welcomed me into her lovely home. The course was excellent and Dawn was very patient and helpful, feel a lot more confident now to do free motion embroidery. Her carrot cake was the best I have ever had. She also had beautiful cats. I want to go on another of her courses. Excellent.
linda beggs - - #22904
Response from Dawn Ireland Textile Artist:Thank you for such a lovely review Linda.
I attended a free machine embroidery course with Dawn Ireland on Saturday, 25th May. I was apprehensive about going (and nearly cancelled the day before!) because I am not an expert with my machine but I am so glad I went. I needn't have worried - it was a fabulous day which I really enjoyed. Gained more confidence with my sewing machine and learnt how to use it for making machine embroidery pictures, even translating one of my own drawings into a picture to hang at home. So delighted with the day. The workshop was held in Dawn's lovely home, full of light, inspiration and resources. I would highly recommend this workshop.
Penny - - #22388
Response from Dawn Ireland Textile Artist:Thanks for the lovely review Penny.
Really enjoyed the day and practised my skills on my own machine which was good.
The cake was delicious as well.
Evelyn Risner - - #22378
Saturday's workshop was just simply enjoyable in every way. Dawn made us all feel so welcome in her home. It was my first time at free-machine embroidery and I loved every second. My ancient machine coped very well! It was the best day I've had in a long while. Dawn was amazing, taught brilliantly and was always on hand to help whenever needed and had such a vast array of threads and textiles we were spoilt for choice! And the cake was delicious! It was a lovely group and I came away with so many ideas and so happy to have dabbled in a new craft! I shall definitely try and book again to do more of the same!
I would definitely recommend this course to others.
Chris - - #21675
Again a very enjoyable machine embroidery course. I really enjoyed it and especially to having time to be creative. So many new techniques, I just need to practice them now .
Julia Salter - - #21664
Response from Dawn Ireland Textile Artist:Thank you Julia for your lovely review.
I had a brilliant time on the free machine embroidery course, I am a beginner at this craft and Dawn was endlessly patient and encouraging, and provided delicious cake too!! My final piece has been much admired by friends and family and I would love to go on another course with Dawn in the future.
Barbara Weedall - - #21642
Response from Dawn Ireland Textile Artist:Thanks for the lovely review Barbara.
Super day, very relaxed, lots of opportunity to try things out and learn.
Good tuition, good company - really nice to see everyone else's style and designs - and came home with some work to be proud of. Highly recommend.
Alex - - #20564
What a find! I’ve been looking for a workshop like this for a while. Dawn was a fabulous host; welcoming and friendly even though I turned up early! She was a super guide with all things machine embroidery and all six of the women who attended left with their own masterpieces. There’s a great sense of achievement when you walk away having, not only enjoyed the workshop but also having pieces of art you created to show to friends. I would highly recommend this workshop not only for Dawn’s expertises but also the delicious cake and beautiful white cat. I’m sure I’ll book again!
Sara - - #20475
I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the workshop at your house on Saturday, and it was great to experiment freely with such a lovely selection of different threads and scraps of fabric.
Your cake was delicious, and it was a nice relaxed environment to work in.
Nikki - - #20462
I am so glad I came on this course. It felt very indulgent to leave the 3 children behind and disappear for some "me" time on Saturday, but it was the best day out I have had in a long time. I would love to come back for another session.
Dawn made us all feel very welcome, and showed us her treasure trove of threads, bobbins, scissors and fabrics. We set the machines up and set about choosing what kind of things we wanted to try.
I had so much fun! My usual style is to find a pattern/tutorial which is exactly like the object I want to make, then follow it to the letter. It ends up very neat, but not very "individual". It was so liberating to sit in front of a machine, without a plan, and watch a dragon appear out of my random doodles and swirls. I do not consider myself to be an artist, and nobody was more shocked than me when he appeared at the corner of my frame. I had so much fun building him up into a picture, making a fire out of lovely fabrics for him to be holding.
We had a lovely lunch break where we could chat and relax - and the home made cake was delicious. There was tea, coffee and water throughout the day - and biscuits too.
In the afternoon I tried a piece that was a bit more planned, and Dawn showed me how to make it work when it didn't go quite as I wanted and later when I wasn't sure about some of the colours I had used. That seems to be the amazing thing about free motion - that if you don't like something, you can just put another piece over the top until you are happy with the result. I am so happy with how my design took shape and evolved, (with Dawn's help!) and I ended up with an embroidery of my dad's dog which I have framed and am going to give to him.
I have a long to do list today, but have slipped out to the fabric shop for some shimmery fabric scraps and velvet which I just can't resist having a go this morning.
Thank you Dawn, it was a fabulous day, and has inspired me to try a more informal approach to my sewing and project design.
Victoria Brown - - #19665
I had a great day on Saturday now have much more confidence to try new projects. Really liked the relaxed and informative way ran the course. Lots of inspirational ideas and help if you wanted it. Would definitely recommend the course to anyone thinking of doing the course.
Julia Salter - - #19176
An absolutely fabulous day of Free Motion Sewing! Dawn is a brilliant tutor. Very good, clear instructions and allowed everyone to progress at their own pace, depending on their skill level.
Had a wonderful day and won't hesitate to go along to another of her workshops.
Go along and spend a day with Dawn, you won't regret it!!
She even bakes fabulous cakes for everyone to enjoy at lunchtime! 😀
Louise Salter - - #19131
Response from Dawn Ireland Textile Artist:Thank you for the lovely review Louise. I really appreciate it.
Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the day, but I left having gained knowledge of new techniques and confidence to try them out. Dawn is an excellent teacher and host. (Cake is also delicious!!) I would highly recommend her class and will hopefully be returning to learn more.
Pat Wareham - - #19122
I really enjoyed this workshop. It was a very relaxed, friendly atmosphere & Dawn made us feel very welcome, serving fresh coffee & huge pieces of delicious homemade cake! She taught us how to make lovely Christmas cards & it has given me lots of inspiration to try some new ideas out at home.
Bev - - #18216
This was a really fun,helpful and busy day. Dawn made us all very welcome and was extremely patient with us, plying us with hot drinks and delicious cake!
I will definitely be joining her again one day soon and would recommend her courses to anyone.
Jan Jones - - #17920
I loved the workshop and with Dawn's friendly and clear guidance was able to produce some great pieces to take home. In fact we enjoyed it so much we've already booked for another workshop in the spring!
Alison - - #17898
Another fantastic workshop and day out learning new ideas and creating our own masterpieces...Dawn is there every step of the way including looking after us all serving coffee and homemade cake. Can't wait to re book onto another workshop. Thank you Dawn
Diane Hinchley - - #17612
I had a very enjoyable time on Saturday. The workshop was just what I needed, I came away feeling inspired and much more confident with free machine embroidery. Dawn was able to tailor her help to the abilities of each person. She was encouraging and very helpful when problems arose. She had all the materials we could possibly need, even sewing machines for those who weren't able to bring one. She made us feel very much at ease and provided yummy biscuits and cake to help us along. Thank you very much for a lovely day.
Sue Spriggs - - #17129
Many thanks for a super day, Dawn!
It was lovely to meet others who are enthusiastic about machine embroidery too and to see the different interpretations and methods they used. Your help and advice was excellent and I picked up tips and ideas to try later.
The plentiful supply of tea,coffee, delicious biscuits and cake was a perfect bonus!
Alison Marquand - - #17114
Enjoyed the day very much, Dawn was very helpful and informative, after getting accustomed with the concept of free motion embroidery on practice pieces I created a lovely picture to take home.
Jayne Wright - - #17100
Today's course was wonderful. Inspiring, great teaching and hospitality.
Kathryn - - #15807
Thank you for a wonderful workshop on Saturday, Dawn. I really enjoyed it; you were very encouraging and inspiring.
Yvonne - - #15805
Although I have been an enthusiastic sewer all my life I didn’t know how to do free machine embroidery. Within minutes Dawn explained how to set my sewing machine for embroidery.
I would encourage any sewer to have a go.
Many thanks Dawn.
Chris white - - #15793
Dawn was an excellent teacher/host and having only a small group made it friendly. Learnt lots on the day as I was a complete beginner to free machine embroidery. All materials were provided-not forgetting none stop coffee and water (very welcomed as a hot day) plus lovely homemade cake. Took home 2 finished projects plus one that I will finish at home. So good was the seaside theme worksop, I've booked onto the Christmas theme worksop. A big thank you to Dawn.
Di Hinchley - - #15773
This was the first time I had tried machine embroidery and I loved it. I am hooked ! Dawn was so helpful and provided excellent guidance in delightful surroundings. I will certainly attend more courses.
Celia Dossett - - #15569
What an enjoyable day - I came home feeling really enthusiastic to practice the things I had learnt. I struggled with my machine as hadn't used it for a long time and it's quite a complicated one - however I got great support from Dawn and managed in the end to get going with a design. Lovely friendly people there and Sarah and I are looking forward to coming again
Sue Huxtable - - #15559
We enjoyed a really friendly and instructional workshop on Sunday. The group was just the right size and Dawn gave everyone the help and advice they needed. I would heartily recommend her and her gorgeous cake 🍰
Karen Russell - - #15062
Very well organised with samples to inspire us, generous supply of materials, threads, drinks and cakes. A lovely day and tried reverse appliqué for the first time. Thank you Dawn.
Mair - - #15036
Loved the day, really learnt a new skill... after borrowing a machine as mine would not comply managed now to find out why and was able to fix it! Lovely day in a homely atmosphere, fabulous cake and great support. Thanks Dawn, will come again. x
Constanze Berchtold - - #15033
Very good value , everything plus provided. Great opportunity to learn and share ideas
Anita Callow - - #15032
A most enjoyable workshop. Dawn was a really helpful and inspiring tutor.
Alison - - #14593
Dawn. Thank you for such and inspiring day. (Sat 21st April 2018)
So well prepared, thoroughly equipped and calmly supervised throughout.
Really enjoyed learning a bit about this new skill and can't wait to do more!
Bev Popplewell - - #14547
Free Machine Embroidery Course with Dawn Ireland
Such a lovely day. Dawn's workshop is a model of good practice. She is welcoming and organised with a portfolio of inspirational work for different interests and skills and an abundance of colourful materials to use . She offers constructive advice and encouragement throughout. Her hospitality and environment enhances the enjoyment....including lovely cake and gorgeous cats!
Dawn is a talented textile artist and I learned a lot of new techniques which I take away and hope a little bit of her magic has rubbed off!
Anne Bartholomew - - #14231
My sisters and I met up for this workshop yesterday. We all had the most wonderful day in Dawn Ireland's lovely home. Dawn is so inspirational and encouraging guiding us through techniques which were new to us. We produced some special pieces which we will treasure. Thank you Dawn.
Judy Needham - - #14178
Such an enjoyable day at Dawn’s yesterday.
Dawn is not only a talented artist/textilist but an excellent tutor. I came away inspired after her workshop on free machine embroidery. It is a lovely environment and her studio is planned so each person has sufficient space in which to work. The array of fabrics / threads/ etc which are at your disposal to use are quite amazing, as is her studio where you can get so many ideas and inspiration. Tea /coffee and biscuits are served throughout the day - oh and i can’t forget to mention her delicious chocolate cake. Thank you Dawn for a wonderful day,
Jean Stuart - - #14173
Dawn and her cats welcomed us into her home and made us all feel comfortable and relaxed. We each had different levels of experience but Dawn spent time with us individually, giving practical advice and inspiration. This enabled us each to create something to the best of our ability. Dawn provided all the materials and thread and had lots of samples if we were lacking inspiration. We were supplied with cups of tea and delicious homemade cake. I enjoyed the day immensely and learned a huge amount.
Karli Holmes - - #14088
Best course been on so far! Dawn is pleasant and encouraging. Relaxed atmosphere, all you would need is provided and more! Easter cake - homemade. 10 out of 10. Cosy homely feel, learnt a lot. Lots of inspiration in boards of design and ideas. Would recommend to anyone.
Helen moore - - #13838
I really enjoyed the free-machine embroidery workshop with Dawn that she hosted in her lovely home. The day was so relaxed and Dawn supplied lots of inspiration which helped get the creativity flowing. I really enjoyed learning this skill on my own machine with great company (including the cats) along with Dawn's expertise and words of encouragement. I can't wait to frame my work and do some more machine embroidery at home.
I would love to go on another workshop with Dawn soon. My only regret is that I didn't ask for the cake recipe! :)
Thank you Dawn x
Claire - - #13833
Dawn made everyone feel very welcome, with a lovely homely, creative and relaxed atmosphere. It was lovely to learn a new skill and having Dawn’s expertise and inspiration on hand was fantastic. Everyone walked away at the end of the day with lots of inspiration and a piece to be proud of. The other people booked on the course were lovely too. Fabulous cake was served up at lunchtime which went down very well indeed. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Free machine embroidery - - #13153
Dawn has thought through the entire experience for her workshop. A lovely welcome, enough space, thorough preparation for the day with loads of well-presented ideas, plenty of materials and to top all that, home-made cake. Inspirational and supportive for every level of ability and vintage of sewing machine, or none.
Liz - - #12514
I thoroughly enjoyed Dawn's workshop. It was exactly what I was hoping for. I was a total beginner, although I had done some ordinary sewing. Dawn was very encouraging and I definitely came away inspired to buy the bits I need and try to develop my skills. Dawn had lots of examples of work to give us ideas and a fantastic amount of máterials. She made the day very pleasant, providing us with several hot drinks and some delicious home-made cake! I hope to do a second day in a few months time.
Pauline Galbraith - - #12490
Another fantastic day sewing with Dawn who is really helpful and supportive.
This time the workshop was dedicated to making Christmas decorations and cards.
Using free-machine embroidery with access to Dawn's stash of fabric, card, sequins, ribbons & trims, a small mountain of threads and much more some great crafty, creative time was spent.
I'd definitely recommend this workshop to anyone!
Kate - - #11994
What a fantastic day, I learnt such a lot in lovely environment with really nice people. Oh and a amazing Chocolate Cake, I’ve signed up for another course too with Dawn
Jenny banks - - #11900
Another lovely day learning to make cards and Christmas ornaments from fabric and machine embroidery, good company, excellent tutor, warm and friendly atmosphere. I recommend it!
Diane - - #11891
Lovely day creating with lovely people. Dawn was a great tutor very supportive and encouraging. Dawn supplied a fantastic range of materials and information to get the creative juices going .... not to mention the fab cake
Karen selley - - #10641
The day at Dawns was absolutely great! Dawn was a really good teacher supporting everyone with each of their 'projects' and supplying a fantastic range of resources and delicious cakes! The atmosphere was very relaxed and the number in the group was just right. I was amazed at how much I learned in just a day. I would really recommend the course and hope to book on to another one myself.
Kath Priestly - - #9005
I can highly recommend Dawn's course - a perfect way to spend a Saturday. Dawn's house is an Aladdin's Cave of fabrics, buttons & threads - a lovely, homely environment. Dawn has loads of inspirational ideas and was very encouraging to everyone. Since the course, I've had loads of fun experimenting with my sewing machine. Would definitely go back again.
Angela Garbett - - #8669
Really enjoyed myself yesterday. I learned a new craft which I shall enjoy exploring at home with my new machine. I made three pieces of machine embroidery of which I am very pleased. Dawn was helpful and encouraging and provided a brilliant selection of fabrics and thread to use freely. She makes an excellent cake too!!.
Ann Lomax - - #8210
We had a great day with Dawn, who was a marvellous host and very good instructor. She provided all the resources and gave us lots of helpful advice and inspiration. Everyone produced some excellent pieces by the end of the day. I would thoroughly recommend the day.
Gill Moore - - #8042
I had a lovely creative day and Dawn was able to help me embroider using my "vintage" machine. It was great to have a choice of materials and expert tuition. Thank you.
Helen - - #7562
I really enjoyed Dawn's course on free machine embroidery. Dawn was a great help throughout and I came away knowing I'd learnt a new technique that I can practise and develop over time. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process right from the set up of the machine to the finished piece.
I have a much better understanding now of my machine and how it works which I've struggled to master on my own.
Dawn was also a fantastic host keeping us topped up with teas, coffees and cake! I'd definitely recommend anyone to give the course a try even if you are a complete beginner like myself. Thanks again!
Kate - - #6333
lots of good support with setting up the machines. You don't really need any knowledge/experience of machine sewing as Dawn was very supportive.
A lot of time was spent on practicing; however I would of liked to focus more on the end product, as it felt rushed towards the end and we ran over time wise. I was totally absorbed and lost track of time, a few prompts re how much time we need to devote to each task might of been useful. I would definitely recommend this workshop to others. :)
Kat - - #6292
I attended a free machine embroidery course on saturday 8th october with dawn Ireland.
The course - and dawn's hospitality were fantastic. I was a complete beginner and dawn was able to take me from teaching me how to thread the sewing machine all the way through to completing 3 pieces of work that I am very happy with. She also provided tea/coffee and homemade cake that made the day even more enjoyable and provided all materials within the cost of the workshop.
She has an Aladdin's cave of materials and threads of every coulour and also resources to provide inspiration for designs.
I feel I have found a new hobby with dawn's help and would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone.
Free machine embroidery - - #6286
I really enjoyed the sewing workshop and learned a lot about how to use my machine for embroidery. Also it was good fun being creative for five hours and creating three nice art works.
Anneliese - - #6134
The course was most enjoyable, with just the right amount of instruction to enable students to produce their own pieces of work. Dawn was encouraging and made me, as a beginner, feel at ease. She provided a good workspace with loads of resources and also plenty of drinks with a gorgeous cake.
I left feeling inspired and have been producing pieces of work for birthday cards at home. I would thoroughly recommend the course.
Sally Turnbull - - #6086
I loved this course it was exactly what I had been looking for! I learned everything I could, so now it's lot of practice and then I will be back for more. Dawn is delightful and gives the course in her beautiful home, which was as inspiring as she was. Oh and you get cake too. All round highly highly recommended
Joanne Rasmussen - - #5805
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