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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions: About  City & Guilds Courses in General:

Click the tabs below to view FAQs about City & Guilds Courses.

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Do I need a computer?
Yes. You will also need a scanner and a digital camera.

What are the average hours of work for each unit?
Each Module is designed to take up to six months. You will need to dedicate a regular amount of time either on a weekly or monthly basis. An activity that is expected to takes you 10 minutes to do might take an hour to complete for various reasons so please keep this in mind when viewing these figures. Each level course has a different recommeneded time; for instance, the level 3 courses are intended to take 420 hours. Breaking this down to 70 hours per Module this means it should be completed within six months. You will also need to make a time allowance for acquiring materials and presenting your work for your tutorial feedback each month.

Are your courses all fully on-line, or are there any aspects that are taught?
All our courses are online. You download your Module book from the website. This contains detailed description of what you need to do and gives diagrams and illustrations to explain everything very fully. You will need to set up a blog to show your work to your tutor, so you will need a scanner to convert your work into digital images.

How can I do the Course without a computer?
Distant Stitch offers online Courses, so you will need a computer with broadband connection if possible.

What is the difference between the Embroidery Certificate and the Embroidery Diploma?
The Certificate Course precedes the Diploma Course. So you need to start with the Certificate and then progress onto the Diploma.

What is the difference between a level 2 course and a level 3 course?
A level 2 course has less content, takes a shorter time to complete and costs less than a level 3 Course. The level 2 Machine Embroidery Course is aimed at people with very little experience except to be able to use their machines for basic sewing functions. We do not yet offer a level 3 Machine Embroidery Course.

I am keen to get a sense of the 'typical' amount of time (no. of hours per week) x (no. of weeks) a student should be prepared to commit to complete the 6 modules in 3 years. I am trying to get a sense of the amount of 'workload' per week I would need to commit to.
The three different levels have different duration times as you'll have noticed. These courses are designed to expect the student to be able to complete within the following times. I've broken it down to give you an idea - level 1 - one year (three Module = four months per Module) level 2 - two years (six Modules of 10 chapters = four months per Module = 1.5 chapters per month) level 3 - three years (six Modules of 12/13 Chapters = six months per Module = 2 chapters per month = half a chapter per week) Each student will need to spend a different amount of time to gain different skills; so the above is just an average. You will also find, unlike regular weekly classes, that you might not be able to give a regular working session to your coursework, but can hopefully catch-up when you have more time. You might opt to linger over something that particularly interests you. Some Chapters require a different number of hours as they are organised into tasks; some you'll find easy and will do quite quickly and some you'll need to spend more time on. As a generalisation, I would say that you would need to allocate at least one full day per week or the equivalent in hours spread throughout the week. You should also allow time to gather your materials and equipment specific to each Module. Then there is the time to upload your work onto your blog - about an hour or two per Module as a guestimate. In reality, the timing is only critical if and when you are registered with City and Guilds. The date you are registered will be after your enrolment on your course. We can delay this, if you request, to give you a different starting point for your three years. If you opt to enrol as a non-City and Guilds student on the same course, there will be no time limit.

How long do the Courses take to complete?
A level 1 Course is designed to be completed within one year; a level 2 Course, within two years; a level 3 Course, within three years. Once registered with City and Guilds, you should aim to complete within the designated time for your Course.

Can I start at any time?
You may enrol with Distant Stitch on any of our courses at any time to suit you.

What is the Embroidery Foundation Module?
The Embroidery Foundation Module allows you to try out the idea of learning by correspondence rather than in a class. This is a single Module, which is about half the size of each of the six Certificate Modules. You may then like to progress on to the Certificate Course. You will receive a Distant Stitch Award on the successful completion of this Foundation Module.

Can breaks be taken between the modules?
If you are working on the City and Guilds Course and need to take a break between Modules you might find that your three year time limit runs out. It will not be possible to re-register with City and Guilds although you can continue your course and be awarded the Distant Stitch certificate on successful completion. If you are already working on the Distant Stitch Course, you can take a break between Modules without any time restrictions.

How much is each Module?
You will see the current prices from each Course details page. Click on a Course to see the details of each Module and you will see the link to the 'Prices and Methods of Payment'.

How do I pay for the Modules?
Each Module is paid for one at a time as you progress through the Course. You can send a cheque by post in sterling (drawn on a British bank) or you may like to make an online bank transfer. You can also pay by credit card via Secure Trading. There will be a link for this when enrolling or we can send you a link by email. You will see the current prices from each Course details page. Click on a Course to see the details of each Module and you will see the link to the 'Prices and Methods of Payment'.

How do I receive the tutorial instructions?
When the enrolment proceedure is complete, you will be sent an email with instruction on how to login and access your new Module. This login will take you through to your 'Student Home Page' on the website which gives you access to several other things to help you get started and information on how to proceed through the Course.

How can I set up a blog? I am very inexperienced with the computer
Many students are in this position but the find that the simple instructions supplied for setting up their blog is easy. You will need to be connected to the internet to set up your own blog and ideally to have a broadband connection and not a dial-up one. You can create your own blog for free and there are simple steps described in your Student Handbook.

How often do I send an email to my tutor to notify them that I have posted some new work on my blog?
This is your decision, but it is suggested that you seek feedback after about 3 or 4 Chapters. If you need reassuruance earlier, then please get in touch when needed.

Can I download the Modules from the Distant Stitch website if I can only access the Internet via a 'dial-up' system?
It is much quicker and less frustrating to download large files if you have broadband.

What level of expertise with my sewing machine do I need to enrol in the level 1 Machine Embroidery Course?
The level 1 Machine Embroidery Course is suitable for beginners who are interested in developing their knowledge and skills in machine embroidery. This Course takes you through the basics of handling your sewing machine in many different ways. Students will need a swing-needle sewing machine with optional automatic patterns. The machine will need to be in good working order. It is important that the machine tension, stitch length & width can be altered and the dog feed can be dropped. Please note that the level 2 is a progression from level 1 and introduces ways of designing and more complex stitching methods.

I have a sewing machine but am not very experienced in using it. Will this OK if I enrol on the level 1 Machine Embroidery Course?
The level 1 Machine Embroidery is for the complete beginner. You need to know how to use your machine for plain sewing and to be able to read its manual and understand it. You will be shown basics such as how to clean and fill your bobbin and thread the needle and to actually form a line of stitching in level 1. It is important that the machine tension, stitch length & width can be altered and the dog feed can be dropped on the machine you intend to work with.

I have some experience of machine stitching. Do I need to start on the level 1 Machine Embroidery course?
Thank you for your enquiry about the levels 1 and 2 Machine Embroidery courses. You don't need to start on level 1 unless you feel very unsure of how to control your sewing machine. Level 1 teaches you how to play with all the different basic features of your machine including how to alter the top and bobbin tensions to make interesting stitch effects and also to do free machining with the feed teeth lowered. The level 1 also includes several interesting ways of decorating fabrics to further embellish them with machine stitching. The level 2 course develops this and combines designing that evolves into finished items.

What level of expertise with my sewing machine do I need to enrol in the level 2 Machine Embroidery Course?
Our level 2 courses are suitable for those interested in developing their knowledge and skills in the different stitch crafts. A level 2 Machine Embroidery Course requires the students to be familiar with more than just the basic working of their sewing machine; for instance to be able to do free machine stitching and to alter the tensions of the top and bottom threads. Please note that the level 2 is a progression from level 1 and introduces ways of designing and more complex stitching methods.

What type of sewing machine do I need for machine embroidery?
You will need a robust swing needle sewing machine that is in good working order. The machine must have a drop-feed dog facility and be capable of changing the width and length of stitches, a selection of automatic embroidery stitches and the facility to manually alter both the stitch and bobbin tension. You will need a spare bobbin case.

Does the Embroidery Course deal with stitching by machine?
The Embroidery Course contains a mixture of both hand and machine stitching and the Machine Embroidery deals solely with stitching by machine.

Would it be possible to undertake mainly hand stitching techniques?
In general, the stitch methods in the Certificate are prescribed as you work through the various techniques. There is a purely Hand Embroidery Certificate Course which we don't offer at the moment.

What is the balance between hand and machine embroidery techniques?
The content of the two stitch methods within the Certificate syllabus is about 50/50: in the Diploma the student uses whatever they feel is appropriate.

I would like to enjoy working through the Course at my own pace and do not wish to keep to the mandatory time limit. Can I do this?
You are certainly welcome to work at your own pace through any of our Courses if you have opted to enrol as a non City and Guilds Student. If you wish to receive a City and Guilds qualification at the end of your Course, you will need to be registered with them before 30th June 2017 and keep to their time limit for your particular Course level.

Are your Distant Stitch courses recognised by other colleges?
All our Courses are recognised nationally and internationally and also by the Embroiderers' Guild of the UK. The name of Distant Stitch is held in high regard in the world of textiles as our standard of teaching and student achievement is much valued and sought-after, although we are not an examinations board like City and Guilds.

Can I do the Patchwork & Quilting Course without a sewing machine?
Yes, of course you can enjoy using hand stitching although this will take longer.

As it is a distance learning course, will students need to provide materials or are any materials included in the course cost?
You will also need to access all your own materials and equipment; there are lists in each Module and address of suppliers to help you.

Is it possible to contact a tutor/s if there are any queries during the modules, and if so, what is the estimated response time?
You will receive email feedback from your tutor whenever you wish for reassurance at any stage in the Module and as often as you like. The estimated time of response is about a week although often it is in a few days, depending on the length of the feedback 'queue'. There is an opportunity to meet your tutor and fellow students at an annual residential Summer School which is held in July in the Cotswolds.

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