Building a Textiles Skills and Knowledge Portfolio

Building a Textiles Skills and Knowledge Portfolio


Tutor Gary Mills will teach you some of the key rudiments and skills to expand, improve and open-up the possibilities within sewing skills and textile knowledge. In the session discuss the differences between fabrics; what are they all used for? Look at some basic colour theory, pattern understanding and principles, but also adding coordinates and contrast within your work.

You will have some practical sewing and construction exercises to learn, follow with Gary a useful “Flat fell seam”, a “French seam”, stitching a curved seam and inserting a stitched right angle, finally mastering a jetted pocket!

You end up with a collection of informative samples which then can be cut and stitched to create into this simple yet stylish improvised pieced cushion front…to impress all your crafty friends with your stitch skills and knowledge.

Skills / techniques covered:

  • Fabric knowledge and fibre content
  • Colour and pattern theory
  • Measuring and Cutting
  • Controlled and accurate textile construction skills using a sewing machine
  • Improv piecing

You will achieve a portfolio of theory and practical exercises which will build into a textile knowledge portfolio, culminating in a very stylish cushion cover.

Level of Experience

From the beginner to the intermediate who wishes to improve or up-skill. Would suit all genres in textiles, from quilter to dress maker

Materials / Equipment required by Attendees


  • For the jetted pocket you will need 12”x12” (30cm x 30cm) medium weight iron on Vilene/ interfacing or similar
  • For the samples you will need a selection of pure cotton or polycotton squares measuring 16”x16” (40cm x 40cm) 3x Patterned 8x mixture of plains/ block colours (try to coordinate colours where possible. Do check out your own stash first; take the colour pallet from the initial patterned fabric you choose. See my example. Be bold and bright!) Total of 11 squares
  • Fabric for the back of the cushion is an envelope opening so 2 x block colour 16”x16” (40cm x40cm)
  • Optional: you can back your Improv quilt with Domette / Bump interlining 16” x 16” and an extra layer of muslin or fine cotton to give it body.
  • Cushion pad 16”x16”


  • Good quality sew all machine threads to match and contrast your fabrics.
  • A dinner plate to draw around to make a curve.
  • A cutting mat and rotary blade (you can use fabric sissicors if you prefer)
  • Pins.
  • Small snips and embroidery scissors.
  • Tape measure,
  • Something to draw directly onto fabric (fabric maker)
  • A pattern square or quilters square a ruler.
  • Pen and paper to make notes
  • Sewing machine with simple straight stitch

If you do not have a Sewing Machine, or don’t want to bring your own, you can use one of our latest Brother demonstration machines for the nominal fee of £3.00 per session.


Gary Mills

Duration and Price

6 Hours – £30.00 +  materials

The maximum number of attendees for this workshop is 5

Places on workshops are secured by a £10 cash deposit at the time of booking and balance payable on the day direct to the workshop leader.

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