Experimental Embroidery for Fashion and Textiles

embroidery-course-experimental-sonia-bienek-textiles-london copyStarting from Wednesday 27th February until Wednesday 3rd April, I’ll be tutoring at City Lit. Classes are from 6pm until 9pm.

A creative and non-traditional approach to hand embroidery, exploring stitch techniques and materials in your own personalised way to leave an impression on an existing garment or textiles piece.

More info can be found  on the City Lit website.

A Pretty Awful Market Day

What does a bad craft market day do to your confidence after a a miserable day of zero sales?

Remember that market you signed up to months ago? It’s finally here and you’re not feeling great, but turns out that the actual event sucks a bit too.

In todays very overdue post I’m going to talk a little bit of the factors that played a part in my zero sales at the crafty fox market at Kindred Studios, this weekend.


Firstly, I know when to take responsibility for my own actions. So I’ll outline what personal factors contributed to ‘Sonia B’s’ zero sales.

  1. Lost my mojo. I entered this new year with burn out. I’d spent from October to December last year putting a lot on focus on throwing myself into market opportunities. One or two were more successful than the others. However, my confidence took a hit from the inconsistency in sales. So, from January this year I lost focus from my shop and being creative, into throwing myself fully into marathon training as a distraction.
  2. Just generally having a shit week. I had doubts and considered backing out. Unfortunately, I’d brought the baggage of the week with me to the stall and couldn’t shake them off.
  3. Result of no.2: Not interacting as much as I’d have liked to with customers and resisting to put on the smiley sales pitch.
  4. Stall aesthetic. I opted for a small square table this time. 77cm X 77cm. I didn’t practice my layout for this scale and feel that this let it down slightly and potential customers just didn’t notice me or want to linger for long!

Personal demolition factors out the way. Here are a few areas that I feel this particular crafty fox market didn’t work for Sonia B this time.

  1. Demographic. My stuff just didn’t suit the footfall that this market was engaging. I could tell from the popularity of the ceramicists and jewellery. The weeks leading up to the market, Crafty Fox were predominately promoting ceramicists, jewellers and paper printers on their instagram, so I think the market just didn’t pull in the interest of those into fashion accessories.
  2. Lack of media coverage from crafty fox. I’m sure I’m not the only one. But my items were not featured in any of their instagram posts leading up to or during the event.
  3. Location. This could be linked to demographic also, however, Kindred studios is in the middle of a quiet residential area and is based in between a lot of optional tube/rail stations, however, not in great short walking distance of any of them.

To sum up I have to accept that I wasn’t prepared to be battling it out for sales person of the year yesterday. I went in with the mindset that, ‘If they like it, they’ll buy it’. I was just lazy. But it’s ok to have off days. I’m actually glad that I ended up dragging myself there and sticking it out till the end. I was surrounded by many talented people and that in turn has given me the shake up I needed. I’ve also counted this as a ‘brand awareness’ exercise so not to get too bogged down by the financials.

I’d love to know your thoughts and feelings on this post. Have you got any tips on how to get over the funk?! Have you ever experienced ZERO sales at what you thought would be a popular market event? Let me know in the comments below!


Embroider a Patch with me!



On Thursday 19th and Friday 20th July, I’ll be hosting an embroidery patch workshop at CityLit, Covent Garden.

Over the course of two evenings, you will get your hands on the tools and techniques you will need to embroider your very own embroidery patch! You will then be able to attach this onto your favourite denim jacket, hat, tote bag or anything else you like!

Click here for course booking and more information.

Crafty Fox Market, Kindred Studios


Saturday 9th June 2018, I’ll be setting up shop at Kindred Studios with the rest of the Crafty Fox Market sellers. Very excited to be popping up again in person. I’ll be bringing a few of my old favourites from my etsy shop as well as a few new pieces. Hope to see you then!

DIY: Evil Eye Embroidery Patch

Another week and another embroidery tutorial!

This week we will be creating an evil eye embroidery patch.

I have included the materials and threads that I have used, but you can use whatever brand you prefer or what you have available to you.

In this video tutorial we will be working with running stitch, stem and satin embroidery stitches to create our Evil Eye Patch. We will also finish with applying iron-on adhesive so you can apply your patch to almost anything once it is finished!

The design template is full of all the details you need to complete your project!

Click below to get yours!



Here is a list of tools you may need if you’re not equipped already!


If you give this patch a go, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you and see your designs! Also if you have any design idea requests let me know in the comments below!

How to Make a Sassy Avocado Patch!

Free avocado embroidery patch design template, with video tutorial to accompany it!

It’s here! Im really excited to have created this avocado embroidery patch video and PDF download for you!

I have included the materials and threads that I have used, but you can use whatever brand you prefer or what you have available to you.

In this video tutorial we will be working with stab, stem and satin embroidery stitches to create our fab sassy avocado patch! We will also finish with applying iron-on adhesive so you can apply your patch to almost anything once it is finished!


Sassy Avocado Patch Design template



Here is a list of tools you may need if you’re not equipped already!


I’ve really enjoyed putting this tutorial together! Let me know how you get on making your patch and what other fruit you would like to embroider! And I might just make a tutorial for that too!


Upcycled Zipper Pouch

Here’s a short video of one of the up-cycled zip pouches that are currently on sale on my etsy shop right now. I wish etsy would consider plugging in a new video tool for sellers, so that buyers could see a listing in action.

The ‘Solar infusion’ zipper pouch is made up of cotton and silk that would have otherwise been thrown away. These salvaged materials, have then been hand dyed and silk screen printed by myself. Then I’ve introduced my other love… some digital embroidery, to the outer fabric.

Over the last few months I have been thinking hard about my impact on the environment. Mainly through my impulse purchases of desirable beads and sequins that I’ve accumulated but not yet used. This year might just be the start of me just using everything I have already, and only paying out for absolute essentials in order to create new pieces,

Dairy is Scary – World Vegan Month


Happy World Vegan month!
I’ve been wanting to share my view on wearing gentle activism and why it is important to me.
We should not wear anything that scares people away from the message you want them to consider thinking deeply about.
We must wear our cause with the understanding that: the older you get the more conditioned you are to the  years of background programming within us that determines how we individually connected with this world. Deep set ideologies are not simply undone from one conversation or interaction. It’s a slow process, and it requires individuals to do their own research and make their own realisations.  This isn’t easy for most, it might mean letting go of friendships that do not serve them well or being the odd one out for a little while. Change is inevitable, and if we don’t embrace it we will become victims of a harbouring traditions that do nothing to serve our wellbeing. Meanwhile destroying the lives of sentient beings that this world has chosen to exploit for nothing but money.

What on earth are you carrying??? Inside my travel embroidery kit!

What on Earth are you Carrying?!
As textiles artists, makers or designers we have a one common trait. We carry a lot of stuff!!! This can be anything from sketchbooks, pencil cases, magazines, notebooks and embroidery hoops!
Today I’m going to show you what’s inside my travel sewing/embroidery/embellishment kit. I take this to work with me, on long trips and you will usually find me sitting next to it at home. I should give it a name!
Having a smaller embroidery kit with me helps me focus on projects that I should currently be working on!


1.     Embroidery Thread: I use DMC and Anchor threads. John Lewis had a crazy discount on all their anchor threads last year… I don’t think I bought enough.
2.     Embroidery Scissors: Consider these my embroidery life jacket.
3.    Air Erasable Marker: So handy! Works like magic! Just remember your marks are here today and gone tomorrow so make sure you have a back up version of your embroidery design.
4.     Beading and Crewel needles: I actually forgot I put these in here! I like to have options!
5.    Sequins: These haunt me slightly.
6.     Random Embroidery Patch: Something In was supposed to fix to something else.
7.     Thread: Very random shades, not sure how they snuck it. I clearly don’t pay that much attention to what I carry around with me!
8.     Tape Measure: Goes without saying.
9.     Needle Pouch: I decided to make my own, however, I store needles anywhere! They don’t want to stay in one place!
10. Seed Beads: I love these colours! I keep them with me for colour inspiration! Bought these in Nottingham at the Bead Shop.
11. Pins: Really useful for hand embroidery when rogue excess of fabric needs taming around the embroidery hoop!
Let me know if I’m missing anything!? What do you carry around with you all day?