A workshop for thread painters

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Discover the secrets to stitching realistic thread painted pictures from photos, and effective methods for shading and blending colours with thread.

Shading and Blending Secrets will teach you the exact colour and stitching strategies I use to create thread paintings using two simple free motion stitch techniques.

Skill level: Intermediate / Advanced

What you'll learn...

How to use a photo to create your realistic thread painting.

Understand how we see colour, and how to identify the colours in a photo.

How to select thread colours that will work with your photo idea.

Discover simple (and free) methods for editing your photo that will not test your computer skills, and will make the thread painting process easier.

How to print your photo on fabric.

The two methods I use to stabilise fabric and ensure trouble-free (and pucker-free) thread painting.

How you can create your own outline design for thread painting, and transfer that design to fabric.

Four demonstration modules featuring:

  • A Blue Iris flower thread painting using free motion straight stitch, stabilised with an embroidery hoop.
  • A Sunset Scene landscape demonstrating various approaches for creating a blended sky.
  • Two still-life demonstrations of stitching Pears using free motion zigzag stitch, with an option for straight stitch and/or appliqué.
  • How to stitch the all-important Eye in a thread painted portrait.

Blending and shading techniques are demonstrated using both free motion straight stitch and zigzag stitch.

Throughout the course you'll be provided with downloadable checklists and images so that you can recreate the designs yourself, while also discovering how to use these techniques with your own photos.

Scroll down the page to view the full Curriculum.


Who is this class for?

This class is perfect for you if…

You have some experience with free machine thread painting and understand how to use your machine for free motion stitching.

You have tried thread painting but perhaps found the shading and blending process challenging.

You want to develop and hone your skills in shading and blending thread colours to create realistic thread paintings.

Have a desire to use photos as a basis for your pictures.

Who is this class NOT for?

This is NOT a class for beginners.

However, a confident or adventurous thread painter with some free motion experience, and a keen desire to learn thread painting may enjoy developing their skills early on!

This class does NOT cover the basics of setting up for free motion stitching – machine settings, needle choice, etc.

It is assumed that anyone taking this class understands the fundamentals of free motion stitching.

[If you're a beginner and would like advice on an appropriate starter class for you, please contact Deborah at [email protected]]

This class is not for the impatient thread painter!

Recreating realistic thread paintings using photographs can often be a time-consuming process.

The secret to creating realism in your work is to take your time, constantly reassessing your chosen thread colours and developing an understanding of how your eye ‘mixes and blends’ the shades and tones in a picture.


What you'll get...

26 lessons in handy, bite-sized sections of video and text.

Video tutorials covering:

How we see colour;

Photo editing;

Printing photos on fabric;

Stabilising your fabric.

4 additional video demonstrations of the thread painting process as it unfolds.

Downloadable PDF notes and images for your reference.

Plus online access to me for feedback and assistance.

Lifetime access – watch and view as many times as you like from the comfort of your own home.

100% 30-day guarantee.

What you'll need...

A domestic sewing machine capable of doing free motion stitching.

Basic sewing supplies.

Fabric for printing photos, paper-backed stabiliser and an embroidery hoop (all explained in detail in the course).

A home printer that will print in colour.

A comprehensive Materials list is included in the course.

A strong, stable internet connection to view the HD videos.


My Goal...

My goal is to help you take your thread painting experience to the next level, by learning how to use thread and free motion stitching to blend and shade the colours in your photo.

Course Curriculum

Available in days
days after you enroll
Available in days
days after you enroll

What students are saying about this class ...

I’ve been looking for something like this for ages - can’t wait to get cracking! [Jane]


I am so excited about the instructions for the software. The cost of the course has been worth these tips alone. I have been trying to find something that went through these stages for textile use for a long time and when I decided to look at your shading tips i did not think I would find this specific information so clearly and concisely presented. [Carol]


This was an excellent way to show how many colours there are in the photo. Thank you so much for this revelation. [Sandra]

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Your Instructor

Deborah Wirsu
Deborah Wirsu

Deborah Wirsu is an Australian Textile Artist who has created hundreds of pieces of thread sketched and machine embroidered art, patterns and quilts, plus dozens of demonstration videos, tutorials and courses on these subjects.

She has also published several books on various topics, which are available at in paperback and Kindle ebook formats :

Creative Thread Sketching: a Beginner's Guide

Appliqué Art Quilts Inspired by Stained Glass: a contemporary variation on stained glass quilt technique – without bias tape.

Art Quilt Finishing Essentials: How to Bind, Display, Label, Store, and Care for your Art Quilts.

Her Work...

With a love of freestyle stitching, she builds texture and detail on collaged, dyed and painted surfaces, creating art quilts, thread sketches and textile pieces.

She has given workshops, presentations and talks, exhibited and sold works online and in various countries, and been featured in Australian Quilters Companion magazine a number of times.

Her Business...

Deborah runs a successful online Arts Education business from her website [formerly]

In her 'spare time', Deborah is also a professional Musician - performing in orchestras and chamber music, and teaching viola and violin. Just in case this isn't enough, Deborah is also a published author and editor, and teaches English to ESL (English Second Language) students.

Deborah is involved in a number of community organisations in the Arts and Music fields, and loves to play opera!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access* sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own. *Lifetime access: You have access to all your paid classes and resources for the duration of (1) your lifetime, (2) the lifetime of me, Deborah Wirsu, (3) the lifetime of this business, Thread Sketching in Action and Deborah Wirsu Arts Academy. In the event the business is closed, every endeavour will be made to offer the material to paid students (including videos) as downloadable, for you to keep as long as you wish.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
What currency is this course priced in?
The cover price is shown in USD. Other currencies may be available. Check the enrollment link.

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