Experimental patchwork and quilt making with Abigail Booth

Ref: S4D32308

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About this course

Explore the art of contemporary quilt making through improvised and experimental piecework. Learn how to intuitively approach working with textiles, to experiment with colour and composition and complete a quilt for your home or wall.

Course Description

This course introduces you to the art of experimental patchwork and abstract quilt making. With an emphasis on teaching you how to play with colour and composition, the tutor will guide you through the process of constructing a quilt from start to finish. Taking inspiration from historical and contemporary quilting movements, you will be introduced to different patchwork and quilting techniques allowing you to pursue a self-guided, independent project.

An improvisational and experimental approach to designing a quilt top will introduce beginners as well as challenge those with experience, to think about colour and composition in a free and playful way. You will be taught that there is no right and wrong way of designing and playing with fabric. Instead, you will be guided and instilled with the confidence to be bold and to teach you steps to producing a quilt from start to finish.

The course will begin with learning about the tutor’s approach to designing her work, and her approach to working with colour and composition. You will be guided through how to start designing a quilt from scratch with the fabrics you have brought. Both traditional and contemporary approaches to patchwork will be explored in several ways to enrich the design of everyone’s unique and individual piece. A combination of machine and hand sewing will be taught and used in the making of everyone’s quilt tops.

The latter half of the course will be dedicated to learning how to layer a quilt and mark it up ready for hand quilting. The process of hand stitching a quilt is meditative and hugely rewarding, as it allows the group to slow down and come together in a common act of making. Finally, you will end the course by binding and finishing the edges of each quilt ready to be taken home.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply the quilt batting (middle layer of wadding) for your quilt.

What students need to bring

  • A collection of your own fabrics of medium to lightweight - these can be brand-new, vintage, old clothes, scraps (no piece is too small). Please ensure all are freshly washed.
  • You will need enough fabric to piece a 150cm x 150cm quilt top and the same again for the back. If bringing brand new fabrics, please pre-wash to allow for any shrinkage. It is possible to mix cottons, linens, silks, wools and synthetics, but note that the after-care / washing of your quilt in the future will be affected if you mix fabric types, e.g. if you include a piece of wool or silk, you will need to hand wash your quilt cold to avoid uneven shrinking.
  • Hand quilting thread
  • Machine sewing thread
  • If you have a basic sewing kit you are used to using, please bring it with you: snips, fabric scissors, unpicker, needles, thimble, pins etc. A sewing machine, if you wish – see below.
  • Please remember your glasses if you need them for hand/machine sewing.
  • A clean apron can be useful to avoid getting your clothes covered in fabric lint/threads.
  • Basic sewing machine skills are helpful. You may bring your own sewing machine if you would prefer to use a machine you are already familiar with, or you can use a college machine – to reserve one please email: [email protected].

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A limited selection of extra undyed natural fabric if required
  • Some skeined hand embroidery thread (limited colours)
  • Madeira machine sewing threads
  • Hand and machine sewing needles

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes)


Abigail Booth

Abigail is an artist and textile craft practitioner who graduated in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts and currently runs her collaborative arts practice Forest + Found, with whom she exhibits internationally. She uses traditional textile crafts in her work as a way to engage in wider conversations about making and craft. Her book The Wild Dyer is published in October 2017.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.