Fabric Manipulation workshops

Sunday 1st July 10am-4pm
Stitch & Gather. This is an exciting experimental workshop where you can try out a wide range of decorative techniques suitable for fashion, embroidery or quilting projects. This workshop includes Suffolk puffs, stuffed shibori and American smocking and lots of the techniques Ruth uses in her exhibition work. 

Don’t worry if you have tried some of these techniques before, as I will show you lots of innovative variations, how to work in different fabrics, how to apply the techniques, develop your own interpretations and much more. 

£50 including materials. Drinks and biscuits are provided. There is a cafe on site too. 

Stitch & Gather Fabric Manipulation workshop

Free-motion machine embroidery workshop

I’ve been asked time and again to run a free-motion embroidery workshop at the studio. So I am doing! Well, not me personally, I have booked Jo Hill to run the session. The workshop takes place on Saturday 7th July 2012 at Ruth Singer Studio, Leicester. 10-4pm, £50 including materials (frames sold separately if required)
Please email ruth@ruthsinger.com or call 07740345062 to book.

Jo creates beautiful wall panels and fashion accessories using free machine embroidery and appliqué, with bird and plant motifs.

In this workshop you will learn a range of machine embroidery skills including writing, appliqué using bondaweb, what sort of fabrics to use and how to embellish your piece. You will create a finished wall panel which you can use for a cushion to make up after the workshop or we can provide canvas frames or embroidery hoops to display your work in.

Art House: exhibition in Leicester

It is only a couple of weeks until the fabulous, little known, local Leicester treasure. Art House is an artist-run event where homeowners fill their houses with work by other local artists and makers and let people wander around and buy lovely things. It is truly wonderful. Like the bigger artist open house festivals in Brighton & Wirksworth, part of the fun is nosing in lovely houses.  I will be exhibiting at 6 Aber Rd f just by Francis St where there are great shops & cafes – another little-known Leicester treasure. Even if you are from out of town, it is worth coming over for a day and exploring. The trail is in the very nice Clarendon Park / Stoneygate area of the city which is full of charming streets. There are more shops and cafes on Queen’s Road too.

I will be exhibiting several newish pieces including this quilt from Festival of Quilts last year
This upholstered stool – never exhibited before!
Upholstered stool
and this piece which rarely leaves my bedroom wall!
bedroom and pink quilt.JPG
(the cream panel not the quilt).
Alongside these there will be some affordable small pieces, plus cushions, brooches and pebble necklaces, as well as the kits to make them!

Ruth Singer Studio

Coat of Many Circles

Ruth Singer Studio
One of the many activities I ran during the Ruth Singer Studio in residence at Haymarket Shopping Centre was creating this coat.

Stitchers who came to workshops and free craft social events contributed some of masses of Suffolk puffs which coat is made from. I didn’t count them all but I suspect there are 300 or so…

I’ve wanted to make a garment from Suffolk puffs for years, and a community-collaboration was a great way to do it. The fronts are make up of the reds &  blues while the back is mostly neutrals and grey-blacks.

Suffolk Puff Coat

Circles Coat

Suffolk Puff Coat

Circles Coat

Suffolk Puff Coat

Suffolk Puff Coat

Suffolk Puff Coat

Creative textiles workshops in primary schools


Coming up with workable activities for primary schools is an interesting challenge. I’ve done a few in the last year or two that I am really pleased with. Working with under 11s is exhausting and rewarding in equal measure. I’ve had the luck to work on some longer-term projects recently which have really allowed me to experiment and try more complicated work than a day activity allows.

Large hanging #3

Last term I worked with a small village primary school creating wall hangings inspired by World War II and local history in the village. We used images of residents during the war, plus maps and photos of the local area to create collages and printed designs. Over the course of the project we used freezer paper stencils, bondaweb, patchwork and hand sewing. We looked at silhouettes, tessellating shapes, transparency, design skills, planning and measuring and of course hand stitch.

Silk printed hanging

Large hanging #2

At the moment I am working with a large school experimenting with fabric manipulation to create a costume inspired by the fashion gallery at Snibston, starting with threading a lot of needles!

Threading a thousand needles

We are using calico to create new shapes and structures, looking at pleating and gathering as our inspiration and experimenting with folds and scrunches.

Folding workshop with primary school

Folding workshop with primary school

Folding also comes in with my paper workshops:

paper installation.jpg

oakthorpe paperwork2.jpg

I also run teacher training workshops and am planning to set up regular twilight sessions at my studio next year.

Sewing workshop in action!

This week, along with a new logo & brand design, 2 photoshoots and two massive pieces of work, I also took delivery of a FILM! (if you can take delivery of a virtual thing…)

Steve Friendship (who lives up to his name) of Large Scale Film made this film of one of my workshops at Haymarket last month.

This has inspired me – it is time for *more video*. I would love to have a film of my studio work on my website, as well as film of more workshops and events. This was just a little off-the-cuff and unscripted and unprepared and messy-haired – next time I will remember when someone is coming to film & tidy up a bit!

I also went to a social media course the other day, about increasing your customers and one of the main things they said was FILM IS GOOD.

What is fabric manipulation?

I am trying to write about fabric manipulation. You know, the twiddly, fiddly stuff I do with fabric. There ought to be a better name for it. Not only am I pondering names for the technique as a whole, but also for the individual techniques.


“twisty foldy pointy thing”



amelia brooch

“Swirly circle folds”

Part of the problem is remembering what it was I meant when I have written things like “contrast tip trefoil variation”.

But it is a nice problem to have.

Describing what I do

Coming up with a short, snappy line or two about what Ruth Singer Studio does is harder than writing an whole book. Well nearly.

Here’s the problem. 
The company name is Ruth Singer Studio. 
We run workshops, classes & tuition in sewing, textile and a range of crafts. We also offer mentoring, business training and consultancy in textiles and creative learning. We (me) also design & make stuff. And write books about it. We are a venue in Leicester. An actual bricks & mortar place to go. This needs to be clear at first glance at a leaflet. And we want you to want to come!
New logo is in progress which reflects the making aspect. I am after a line or two which sums up what we do. You, my friends, are my market consultancy. 
What do you make of this?
Ruth Singer Studio
A space to make, a place to learn

Sewing and craft classes for all levels (in the heart of Leicester)

A coat of many circles

Back in January, when April seemed like a million years away, I agreed to create a piece of collaborative work for the fashion show taking place at the Haymarket (my pop-up studio sponsors) this weekend. I also agreed to run a drop-in sewing activity at Makers Mart last weekend & figured that maybe I could combine the two. Creating collaborative work with members of the public is something I am really getting into. I do this with schools – I design & drive the work, they create elements of it and I assemble it. Working in this way gives me much more job satisfaction than working with people to create something I think doesn’t quite work or doesn’t look professional. Everyone is happy; collaborators and me.


So I decided to make a coat out of (beloved) Suffolk Puffs, something I have been thinking about for a while anyway. Makers Mart took place around performances of Joseph. So a many-coloured coat seemed appropriate.


Lots of workshop participants, Makers Mart visitors, friends, students and helpers have been part of creating this piece. I have probably made 70% of the Suffolk puffs, but I do churn them out rather, so it has been a pleasure! I’ve spent a few hours this week assembling it – it is actually only tagged together with the amazing Microstitch (my new best friend) for reasons of speed – otherwise I’d be spending weeks sewing it together. It may yet have another incarnation. I often make pieces more than once before I settle on the final outcome. Or it may go on display somewhere else. Who knows. But for now it is done & ready to be shown (on a mannequin) on Saturday.


The more I look at it, the more I realise I like the back more than the front, so it may well get remade at some point. But I am pretty pleased with it.

Makers Mart

As part of my ridiculously busy 12-hours-on-the-go Saturday, I had a stall at Makers Mart, our local selected contemporary craft fair. The fair has a way to go to make it truly fabulous along the lines of Lustre, but there were a few makers that really stood out for me. In my usual fashion, I bought lots of lovely things & got to know some lovely makers – this is part of the reason I do fairs & shows!

Those that stood out for me were:

Alys Power who makes quirky & charming pieces from vintage jewellery. I bought a little ruler brooch & am saving up for some recycled silver earrings. And maybe these bracelets. Her blog has a fascinating series about tools, too.

Brooch by Alice Power

Clare Pentlow‘s paper cuts were really gorgeous. Her laser-cut silk jewellery was interesting too. I bought a small paper cut with map backing in shades of green & beige which will go beautifully in my living room. From her website, the laser cut wall panels look fantastic. I did like her 3D work at Makers Mart but the ones online look more intricate & more original.

Papercut by Claire Pentlow

I have ordered some red ‘Cluster’ earrings from Ema Kelly. I am hoping they will resolve my endless search for the perfect red earrings since some old favourites from Sarah King broke.

I also bought a sweet little silver and cherry wood bowl and a silver spoon from Gillian Tidgewell, another local graduate. I have a bit of a thing for spoons and bowls, these will be perfect additions to my collections.

Spoon by Gillian Tidgewell
Cherry & silver pot by Gillian Tidgewell