Classes with Dionne Swift

Classes with Dionne Swift

Dionne paints with stitches to create dynamic, vibrantly coloured textiles. Her needle becomes her pen and thread her ink. The scale, emotion, and energy of her landscapes are inspirational.

Dionne is a graduate of Goldsmith’s College, London University. She has a Masters in Textiles from UCE. And she has been recognised by the industry for her incredible work, e.g. Shortlisted Finalist in the Fine Art Textiles Award at The Festival of Quilts 2020.

Now based between Yorkshire [UK] and Abruzzo [Italy], she exhibits and tutors internationally.

​You can watch Dionne demonstrate how to use free motion embroidery to create a range of patterns, textures, tones, and shades in an episode of The Makers Studio series, brought to you by Janome and justhands-on.tv.

Signature Technique:

Painting with stitches

Top Tips:

- Use a vibrant mix of thread weights, colours, and styles to build up a more dynamic texture.
- A machine with an extra wide throat makes it easier to manipulate your piece.
- Cover your hoop with fabric to give it more grip. You need the fabric to stay drum like as you manoeuvre it.
- Drawing your subject first, with pencil on paper, can help improve your observation and knowledge of your subject – try not to work from a photograph.
- Practice by stitching your signature to get started. Your muscle memory will help you.
- Think of painting with stitches as an orchestra with the sewing machine, threads, fabric, hoop, and you (!) coming together to work as one.
- Don’t be afraid of the machine. After a few hours of speed sewing it becomes second nature.
- Try not to have a set image of the outcome. You are not stitching an exact replica. The result is where you get to. There is no wrong in there. Enjoy the journey.

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Classes with Dionne Swift
  • Exercises to Improve Your Free Motion Sewing with Dionne Swift, Textile Artist.

    Muscle memory is the the key to developing your techniques for free motion sewing.

    Dionne Swift suggests sewing your signature as a practice piece, since this is a motion in your muscle memory.

    She outlines the importance of simplifying your piece by sketching a basic design on paper. Altho...

  • Colour Mixing Techniques When Painting With Threads with Dionne Swift

    Dionne talks about how to use shinny threads in your free motion embroidery. Basically using two different coloured threads together to produce a contrast to matt threads.

    She demonstrates treading the machine using two thread posts so the colours run through the machine together. Consequently...

  • Using the Knee Lift On the Sewing Machine with Dionne Swift, Textile Artist.

    Dionne demonstrates the advantages of using a knee lift with free motion embroidery. This enables her to keep both hands free for moving the hoop frame.

    Using her right knee to lift the foot and her left foot on the foot pedal allows her to release the tension easily. This results in being abl...

  • Set Your Machine for Free Motion Embroidery with Dionne Swift, Textile Artist.

    Dionne shows how simple steps in setting up the machine, supports Free Motion Embroidery.

    She explains the importance of dropping the feed dogs enabling free movement of the project. Using a Free Motion quilting foot to hold the fabric steady.

    The addition of the purple tip needle to suppor...

  • Picking Threads with Dionne Swift, Textile Artist

    Dionne Swift discusses where to start with threads. Gathering together thread with a diversity of colours, thicknesses and sheen starts the audition process.
    Matching the threads to your artwork enables a unique perspective to each project.
    She explains how thicker thread used in the bobbin leads...

  • The Makers Studio with Dionne Swift, Textile Artist

    In this episode of The Makers Studio, we meet Dionne Swift. She is an artist, tutor, and author who exhibits internationally. She creates dynamic stitched textiles using a vibrant mix of threads, colours, and textures.  Discover more about Dionne, her motivations and her approach to projects.
    In ...