Making a Historical French Mannequin with Susie Vickery & Selvedge Magazine

Saturday 22-29 August 2020

Create your own hand-stitched French character from a bygone era on this workshop with artist Susie Vickery.  Inspired by Susie’s 18th-century botanist, and working from historical images or your own imagination, you will make a soft articulated puppet of a male figure. 

Using a base pattern you’ll begin by stitching the body in soft wool felt before learning how to make articulated joints. You’ll learn to sketch portraits in thread beginning with a sample face  then move on to stitching a portrait of your own choosing. After mastering the technique you’ll return to your puppet and embroider a characterful face and the hands. You’ll develop a hairstyle and clothing,  working from historical costume books and scaled-down patterns. 

You can choose to dress your figure as an aristocrat or peasant or another character as determined by your choice of fabrics. You’ll be encouraged to bring with you small scraps of treasured cloth and we’ll explore local markets for additional scraps of vintage fabric and haberdashery to embellish the costume.

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You’ll begin by creating toiles of the costume and Susie will explain stitches and finishing, discuss historical costume and learn how to scale patterns to full size. By the end of the week, you will have a fully dressed puppet to inspire further creativity.

Woad expert Denise Lambert will visit during the week to lead a day of dyeing with woad, the blue dye popular in the Toulouse area during medieval times. You can incorporate the scraps of dyed fabrics and threads in your puppet’s costume.

There will also be a Sunday morning visit to the atmospheric food and craft market in the medieval town of St Antonin Noble Val which was used as the backdrop to the films “Charlotte Grey” and “The Hundred Foot Journey”.


Essential information

Single or double occupancy luxury and standard rooms available

From €2200-€3350 per participant, €1500 non-participant

Non-refundable deposit on booking
First instalment of 30% due on 15 November 2019
Full balance due 15 May 2020

Minimum 8 participants. Maximum 12 participants

Workshop held in English

Included 7 nights full board, (one dinner out at guests' cost). 4.5 days full-time tuition. All workshop materials. Trips to local markets

Excluded Airfares to France. Airport transfers available at extra cost

More information

For terms and conditions, please click here

“I have found a place that is dreamlike… In one week here I have found enough to inspire me for a whole year.”

Amanda, Ireland

Susie Vickery

Susie Vickery is a fine art embroidery artist as well as a costumier for theatre and film, specialising in nineteenth century men’s tailoring. She creates textile pieces, embroidered animations and puppetry. Her latest project was the creation of French Botanist Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardiere. She has also travelled as a craft consultant and mentor for income generating projects.


Denise lambert

Denise Lambert is a regular at Chateau Dumas, Denise has been dyeing with woad (Isatis Tinctoria) since 1994 and has made the study its remarkable dyeing properties her life's work. Working with a farming cooperative who manages the crops, her company produces woad pigment, makes paints, decorative accessories, artworks and dyes clothes for the fashion industry.


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