Tigley Textiles came to doodle stitch with us

On June 29th, we had a crackin good day at the studio with Julie Brand; aka Tigley Textiles. We were very lucky to have her, as she lives in Worcester. We were very fortunate that Julie’s husband needed to come up to Manchester for a course, so she came along for the ride. I found out about Julie because Tanya; who uses the studio, follows her closely online and told me all about her. I enquired if she could do a workshop for us, fully expecting her to say no because of the distance but it turns out my timing was bob on and she came!

The slideshow below shows some of Julie’s pieces but also the women in action. One lady had never even used a free-motion presser foot before or dropped the feed dogs on her machine, yet she took to ‘doodle stitching’ like a duck to water.  Some machines played up but we worked our way around that by using one of our studio Janome’s and one lady phoned her machine supplier and got them to offer suggestions to help. You can’t let that stuff stop you; carry on best you can, as the learning can still happen.

A snippet of inspiration from the day

Letting go

Much of free-motion stitching is heavily linked to ‘letting go’. Drop the need for ‘perfection’. Open up your mind to possibilities, rather than only seeing hurdles. Relax your body, to allow you to move your fabric underneath the active needle with ease. Roll with it. For example, when ‘drawing with your needle and thread’ to create a flower, the first time you stitch the shape, you may think, ‘”what on earth happened there?” But when you stitch around it again (not exactly on top of the other stitches; just around the shape again), it softens. By the time you do it a third time, it looks fine. It’s magic! It takes practise to do it, as you need to give yourself permission to play. You’re not after the same look as a photo of a real flower in a botanical research document; you want it to be fun and flowing for you. It’s not an exam.

If your first attempt doesn’t please you, stick fabric over that area and try again or hey, heaven forbid, chuck it away, go have a brew and something to eat and then go back to it.

Which fabric to use for doodle stitching?

The fabric Julie bought for us to use was cotton canvas, as it’s firm, which helps it to take the stitching easily without puckering the fabric and scrunching it all up. Also if you decide to paint on your project, use card and other embellishments like we did, you need the fabric to be strong enough to hold that and not just go to a mushy mess or droop hideously under the weight.  Janet, who is a regular user of the studio, runs her own online fabric store called ‘A Rainbow of Stitches’. Click ‘here’ to see the denim loomstate she sells, which will also be great for this technique. Plush Addict are another supplier of the cotton canvas.

Real life connections

Watching videos and reading blog posts is fine but the real magic happens when you come along to the workshops and sewcial sessions. We lead alot of our lives online, (too much so in my opinion and I include myself in that). The power behind mixing with people who love doing what you love, is so much better than internet ‘connection’. Getting help from someone actually in the same room, makes it all seem so much clearer. It’s way more fun too!

If you fancy a go at free-motion doodling, I know Christine is keen to have a go at the Thursday daytime sewcial. If you’re free, you’re welcome to join us! Just £15 for the whole day  (10-4). Pop me a line on diane@stitchscape.uk to book yourself in.

Diane x


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