Tag Archives | Classes

I am an embroidery teacher …. but I don’t really teach embroidery

Well, that’s not strictly accurate. Of course I teach embroidery, but it’s not the most important part of my job description. What I actually teach is confidence.

I have been running Beautiful Stitches for over 6 years and during that time I have taught workshops that run for just one day through to classes that have been running weekly for four years. With time and experience it has become very clear that the two most important gifts I can give my students are inspiration and confidence.

You see, at its most fundamental, embroidery is simply “needle up, needle down, repeat”. Of course there are a myriad of ways that this simple process can be varied to create a lovely range of textures and patterns. But in the modern world, you can find almost limitless tutorials online showing you how to stitch all these wonderful effects. There are countless books to inform and inspire. In fact, the choice and range of possibilities can almost be overwhelming.

And that’s where I come in. If you come to one of my classes, I will absolutely show you how to work a range of different embroidery stitches. And we will often look at all sorts of interesting techniques to complement those embroidery fundamentals – painting or colouring the base fabric first, manipulating layers of fabric, playing with colour choices and thread textures, adding embellishments, etc. But my main job is to make sure that the voice inside your head is saying “I’ve got this!”.
When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things. Joe Namath

Free stitching over silk paper layered on painted Congress canvas (by Helen)


In my classes, there is no “right” or “wrong” – rather there is learning, exploring, playfulness, and creativity. I want you to come away from my classes feeling confident to keep working on your own. I want you to be inspired to keep learning more. I want you to find a new idea in a book or online and say to yourself “I can stitch that!”

“It’s All About the Pants” includes surface embroidery, applique and beading (by Julie)


Last year I taught a workshop that ran over 5 mornings at the Albany Summer School. At the start of Day 2, one of my students said to me that she was finding the class almost too challenging. She didn’t have much experience in embroidery and the class was feeling like a very steep learning curve. I encouraged her to stick with it and give herself a chance to develop her skills so that she could start feeling more confident. At the end of Day 5 she gave me a lovely card with the following message:
Thankyou Ann-Marie for an enjoyable week of colour, beauty and challenge. Though not your best student, I have enjoyed the start of my journey into embroidery. You have been so patient with me. I now find myself counting more. The stitches make more sense as I find my rhythm. It will take me a long time to finish, but I will. You have given all of us the joy of colour, texture and creativity.

I cannot tell you how happy this made me. Because for me this is what it is all about. This is why I started Beautiful Stitches in the first place, and this is why I am excited to keep working on it every single day.

And I promise you that there is just a little bit of magic in this process. When you start to develop confidence, it has a tendency to grow. And the more it grows, the harder it is for external forces to dent it. And then you discover that it is contagious. What started out as confidence in your creative pursuits, finds its way into other parts of your life. Before you know it, you are scaling Mt Everest (figuratively speaking at least!) 😊

Through my education, I didn’t just develop skills, I didn’t just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence. Michelle Obama


In a few weeks time, I will be starting a new year of classes at Tresillian Arts Centre in Nedlands. If what I have written here feels like a good fit for you, I would love you to join us. In Term 1, I am offering two options:

Creative Embroidery in Colour, Friday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30pm, 7 sessions starting February 15: This class is for anyone who wants to play with embroidery. If you are a beginner, I will absolutely get you started with some basic techniques and simple projects. The “Creative” part can be as simple as taking an existing embroidery design that you like but making it your own by working it in different colours. For those with more experience, you can work on projects of your own choice. We will explore together a range of resources and ideas that will give you the confidence to start creating your own embroidery designs.

Introduction to Embroidery, Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30pm, 4 sessions starting March 13: This class is for anyone who wants to learn or refresh their knowledge of basic embroidery stitches. We will work on both evenweave and surface stitches so that you have some experience in these two main branches of embroidery. By the end of the four week programme you will be armed with the knowledge and confidence to tackle your next embroidery project.

You can find further details and how to book here.

If you want to find out where else I will be teaching this year, then you can find all the details on my Classes page. And if you would like me to come and teach a workshop to your group, then send me an email and I’ll be very happy to see what we can organise.

Brand new sewing classes for children

Don’t you love that feeling when plans start to come to fruition? When things start falling into place and you say to yourself “this just might work!”. I love it…. And I am having just that feeling as I write to you today.

One part of Beautiful Stitches is teaching children to sew. I started with a small group of my daughter’s friends nearly two years ago. We met once a fortnight after school. The children were enthusiastic and I loved being able to share my passion for all things hand-made, and especially hand-sewn, with them. Pretty soon a second group had started and they were having just as much fun.

Learning to sew on buttons whilst creating an embroidery hoop wallhanging.

Learning to sew on buttons whilst creating an embroidery hoop wallhanging.

Last year, I decided to take the whole thing onto a more businesslike footing. I hired a venue and decided to run the classes once a month on a Sunday afternoon. This gave me longer than an after school class to give the children more time to finish off a project. And once a month worked really well. The children were always eager and interested when they came to class and I was always excited to meet up with them again and start work on a new project.

One of my favourite classes from last year - stitching simple outfits for wood and wire dolls. A groovy guy with a mohawk, Rapunzel, and a trendy girl on the town :)

One of my favourite classes from last year – stitching simple outfits for wood and wire dolls. A groovy guy with a mohawk, Rapunzel, and a trendy girl on the town 🙂

We took a nice long break over the long, hot, Perth summer – in my experience small hot hands and sewing are not good friends. But with the arrival of cooler weather it is time to start up again. I have a new venue and am doubling the number of classes I run – from one to two. OK, so it doesn’t sound like a big thing but it is another baby step in gradually expanding my business. I have recently started following a very cool blog by Coral called Creative Women’s Business. In a post from January this year, Coral talks about taking one step at a time – even micro-steps inch you a bit closer to your goal.

And hence my great excitement. My first class is fully booked, mostly with students returning from last year. That in itself is an achievement – I am so happy that they are all keen to continue. But even better, I am taking bookings for my second class from brand new students. I received a phone call from an interested parent today and I haven’t even started advertising yet! How cool is that? I confess that I got off the phone from her and did a little dance of excitement because I just got that tingling feeling that all the painstaking plans and niggles of the last few weeks were starting to bear fruit.

So, if you know of a child in Perth who might enjoy joining a sewing class with me, then please share this post so they can contact me for more information. I am just so excited that the children’s classes are underway for a third year!