22-29 August 2020, Susie Vickery, Making Historic French Mannequins

Chateau Dumas, week-long workshop, prices from €1975 

Selvedge is delighted to host all-inclusive residential craft workshops at Chateau Dumas, a private estate with 18th century interiors, a pool and glorious panoramic views - set amongst rolling hills in the peaceful, scenic countryside just north of Toulouse international airport. The Chateau is a place where you can relax, unwind and be creative.  

The price shown includes your catered accommodation  for the duration of your stay as well as the workshop itself.

Hosted by Susie Vickery

Susie Vickery worked for over twenty years as a costumier for theatre and film in the UK and Australia, specialising in nineteenth century men’s tailoring. Over the last two decades she has built expertise in two further areas: development work and fine art embroidery. She is a craft consultant for income generation projects in India, Nepal, Tibet, Myanmar and Turkey, responding to local materials and artistic traditions. Susie has run workshops for USAID in Tibet, the Smithsonian in China, the British Council in Nepal, and the Wellcome Trust in India, Nepal and Mexico.

She has been a mentor artist for projects with women’s groups in informal settlements in Mumbai, in rural Nepal, and with indigenous Mexicans and Australians, making art with recycled and local materials. Her work is the inspiration for her embroidered animations, automata and textile pieces. Her latest project combines her love of embroidery, puppetry, animation and period costume in the creation of a puppet of Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardiére, the botanist on a French expedition to Oceania in 1792, which visited Susie’s home state of Western Australia. Susie is re-creating his return to Australia and travels around the world in a series of short films. Susie is a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen, UK.

Course outline: 
Create your own hand-stitched French character from a bygone era. Inspired by Susie’s 18th century botanist, and working from historical images or your own imagination, you will make a soft puppet of a male figure. Using a base pattern you will stitch the body in soft wool felt and then learn how to make articulated joints. When the base body is made, we will spend a day learning to sketch portraits in thread. Beginning with a sample face to learn the technique, you will move on to stitching a portrait of your own choosing. After mastering the technique you will return to your puppet and embroider him a characterful face and hands.

You will then develop his hairstyle and clothe him in a suitable manner. Working from historical costume books and scaled down patterns, you will dress him - as aristocrat, peasant or somewhere in between - the choice determined by you and your chosen fabrics. Bring along small pieces of treasured cloth and during the week we will explore local markets for scraps of fabric and haberdashery to embellish his costume. We will initially create toiles of the costume to explore and inspire your theatrical side, and Susie will explain stitches and finishing. During the week we will 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.

Students should bring: A basic sewing kit of your favourite needles, pins, scissors and thimble if you use one, an assortment of favourite bits of fabric and haberdashery to supplement what will be supplied, any embroidery threads that you wish to use and some old buttons, bits of jewellery, lace and braids, to decorate the puppet and costume. 

Chateau DumasLieu dit Dumas,  82220 Auty,  France

Before you pay your deposit you must have confirmation that there is a place available for you on this workshop. Please email to check there is availability.  Once your place is confirmed the team at Chateau Dumas will instruct you how to pay your non-refundable £350 deposit. You will be able to purchase multiple deposits if you are booking for more than 1 person. The balance is payable in Euros 12 weeks before the start of the workshop. Chateau Dumas will be in touch to remind you when the balance is due.

For more information please contact Catherine Harris,



Sold Out