Flower and Grasses: Beginner's free-motion machine embroidery

Break free of the lines!

Course information

This course is designed for beginners as an entry level course to give you an understanding of my textile practice. Whether you are a complete beginner or an intermediate, you will find practical instructions and helpful tips.

I will take you on an exciting journey of learning how to draw with your sewing machine. We will cover all the basics with mini projects and time to practice what you have learnt.

This course has been developed from my most popular intense live workshops that I can no longer run due to the pandemic. I’ve extended it to go into more detail, and I’ve added a bonus festive project and also another mini bonus bee to finish off your projects.

We will cover:

  • Getting started & technical information
  • Practice doodles
  • Backing fabrics
  • Stems and grasses
  • Adding small shapes of fabric
  • Cutting out shapes
  • Drawing to aid stitching
  • Using a hoop
  • Couching down yarns
  • Using heat vanishing pens
  • Heat transfer paper for larger shapes (bondaweb)
  • Tear drop leaves, group project
  • A variety of floral shapes
  • Optional book made from your samples
  • Final design project 
  • A festive bonus project
  • Bonus bee

What's included in the course?

    1. Lots of videos of me stitching, about 16
    2. Clear downloadable instruction supporting the video lessons
    3. Downloadable flower patterns
    4. Trouble shooting video
    5. Access to a Facebook group exclusively for members of this course where you can share ideas, support each other and chat with like-minded people. Within the course, there is section on how to use Facebook for anybody new to Facebook.
    6. Question and answer opportunities within the lessons
    7. Once a month video of me answering your questions
    8. Opportunity to buy materials and equipment required for the course, see my website.
    9. Technical support -- there will be technical assistance available if you have any tech problems.

    Praise from previous students...

    "I cannot thank you enough. You gave Covid times and ‘Lockdown' a routine and having a goal each week with the tasks you set, gave us a focus and a real sense of achievement when completed. I couldn’t wait for the next challenge, logging on every Saturday morning to see what you had set for us.

    I have ‘dabbled' with free motion before but it was so much better to go through the techniques systematically and develop the skills. Your videos were a joy to watch and I think your delivery is brilliant Jo, making the tasks / projects very accessible."

    --Carol, previous student

    "Thank you for such an amazing course. I’ve learnt so much and enjoyed the ideas and techniques. I have not done free machine embroidery before and had no idea how to start...The online course has been fab as you can go back and refresh your memory and rewatch the processes."

    --Jackie, previous student

    "A huge thank you for such an interesting and informative course. I’ve not done an online course before and wondered how I’d get on with it, but you made it so easy to follow...the fact that each activity built on the one before was great for me and I’ve found that my skills with free motion embroidery have really developed. I’m looking forward to finishing the projects and continuing on to the garden birds course."

    --Mandy, previous student

    Starting 18th January, I would love you to join me on this adventure.

    Previous students have said...

    "Thank you for a great course. It has inspired me to think about other projects which have been put on the back burner. Living by myself, it has been great to be part of a community, seeing other people's ideas and lovely comments on my work."

    --Heather, previous student

    "Your explanations were easy to follow and you well anticipated our problems! I was impressed with your regular and timely response and feedback to postings. I have learned so much and found so much positivity through your course in these strange times."

    --Barbara, previous student

    "Many thanks Jo for a fabulous course. Looking back over the work today & can’t quite believe the development over a few weeks. I had dismissed free-motion as something that ended up with jammed machine, tangled threads, strangled fabric & frustration. Something that wasn’t for me. Spotting your course on Facebook was quite by chance when looking for something to get my head out of the awful times we are living through. Luckily, my Janome decided to co-operate (most of the time) & I learned so much. I will ever be grateful to you on many levels."

    --Jacqueline, previous student

    Frequently Asked Questions

    When does the course start?

    The course will open again for enrolment on January 11th 2021 It was originally designed as a 6 week course but all the lessons will be available on enrolment so you can start immediately and go at your own pace.

    How long do I have access to the course?

    You will have access to the lessons for one year, and the lesson PDFs can be downloaded and printed for future reference.

    How much time will I need to complete the course?

    You'll need a minimum of 30 mins twice a week but you could happily spend an hour a day or more if you wish to.

    How much does the workshop cost?

    The workshop is £75. Payment can be securely made by clicking the Enroll Now button.

    Are any discounts available?

    If you have already booked and paid for a workshop at Jo’s house and it was cancelled due to COVID, you can swap over onto this course. I will email you a code.

    What materials do I need for the course?

    • A sewing machine where you can lower the feed dogs (teeth) and you will need a free motion embroidery foot attachment, sometimes called a darning foot.
    • Spare machine needles size 14 or 16 will be fine
    • A selection of fabrics to applique onto your work.
    • A firm backing fabric, I use 10 oz cotton canvas or you can use a thinner fabric and spray on a lining fabric using 505 Odit temporary adhesive spray.
    • Good quality threads. Thick size 30’s good quality black thread will do to get you started.
    • An 8” embroidery hoop no thicker than 1cm, I use and sell Elbesee. Bamboo can split and warp, plastic and metal don't like a stiff backing fabric.
    • A heat vanishing pen is very useful (I use a frixion pen)
    • Small and medium sharp scissors
    • Heat transfer paper (bondaweb)
    • Glue stick like pritt stick or a fabric glue.
    • A small selection of chunky yarn, scraps will do fine.

    I will be selling some of the material on a first come first served basis. If you wish to purchase material or equipment from me head over to my website ( where I sell backing fabric, coloured applique fabric swatches, Frixion pens, bondaweb and hoops on a first come first served basis.

    If you need advice on purchasing a sewing machine, I have a blog post on my website. You can view it at

    Can I buy a starter pack of material to get me started?

    Yes you will have the option to buy backing canvas in two weights, a hoop, Frixion pen, bonaweb and a swatch bag of fabric for the flowers, these are priced individually. A link to purchase these items will be emailed to you upon course sign-up. You can order from abroad but I may need to tweak the delivery costs as they are hard to calculate and I cannot guarantee delivery dates.

    Do we get handouts?

    You will receive all lessons as a printable pdf and also some design pattern ideas to print out and use.

    How much content is included?

    About 16 video lessons. Varying from 15 mins to 40 mins

    There are 11 videos where you can watch me working, 9 practical mini projects for you to do and 1 final project. Plus a bonus festive project.


    You will have all the information available on PDFs that you can print out at home if you wish.

    How will the course be delivered?

    All content will be found within the online course. Self paced to be done when it suits you. Not via zoom.

    Is there a Facebook group?

    Yes you will all be able to join a private Facebook group with everyone on the same course as you where you can show your work, make comments and encouraging remarks of others work. Within the course is a section on how to use Facebook if you are new to Facebook.

    What if I'm unhappy with my purchase?

    Well, I would be sad. But if you're really unhappy with the course, just email me within 6 days of the start date to get a full refund.

    What happens if our stitching develops a problem?

    I will have a video on common problems and if this doesn't help you can email me with your problem and I will do my best to solve it.

    I still have a question, how can I contact you?

    I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send me an email at If you have any trouble enrolling or other technology related issues, please email

    We start 18th January, 2021

    Early enrollment now open!

    Not great with technology? No problem. There will be technical assistance available if you have any tech problems. Simply email for assistance.

    You'll have an opportunity to connect with other stitchers in our exclusive social group. Within the group you’ll be able to share your work with your fellow students, ask for feedback, and encourage each other

    This is an interactive workshop. There will be the opportunity to ask me questions within the course and get personal feedback.

    Praise from previous students

    "Loved the course. It was all clearly explained, beautifully set out, and enabled me to go at my own pace. The PDFs are lovely to keep and look back on."

    --Karen, previous student

    "I’ve loved every minute. It’s very user friendly and as a novice to machine embroidery I find it so enjoyable and addictive!...It's great practising all the techniques you’ve shown us and something to look forward to during these challenging times."

    --Susan, previous student

    "This was the first time I had done an online course of any kind and was also my initiation into FaceBook so I feel I have achieved a lot under Jo's guidance to do Free Machine Embroidery as well. The videos were great, I found, and will continue to find, the PDF's very helpful. The pace was good, not too fast but surprisingly thorough and challenging. Jo's style of teaching FME was very encouraging. I was amazed to know that this had been her first online course, I cannot wait for the next one!"

    --Anne, previous student

    About Me

    Hi, I'm Jo! I have a degree in textiles and many City & Guilds qualifications, and also a teaching qualification. I have been in textiles for all my life in one form or another.

    I have been running this workshop for about 8 years from my house and Garden Studio in Whitgreave Staffordshire or from venues up and down the country so you are in safe hands.

    You can learn more about me on my website at

    Will you be joining us?
    Early enrollment is now open