National Needlework Archive

For day to day, special, and up to date information, such as closures due to bad weather etc., please click here to go onto our Facebook page.

The Old Chapel Textile Centre in Newbury, home of the National Needlework Archive, offer courses, workshops and exhibitions in sewing, haberdashery,  needlecraft, textiles, embroidery, cross stitch, quilting and textile art. Our shop carries an extensive range of all needlework and sewing products including fabric, threads, wool, zips and patterns. We have an archive of historic textiles and patterns and are home to The Country Wife mural.


OCTC Workshops 2019

See also our Saturday Activity days page for lots more things to do

All workshops require pre-booking. Payment can be made in cash, cheque, or by credit card at the Centre; or by cheque in the post (made payable to National Needlework Archive); or credit card by phoning the Centre on 01635 38740.

Saturday 1st June

2.00pm - 3.00pm


To complement the Berkshire Federation of WI’s exhibition Linda Connell, Director of the NNA, will host a ‘show and tell’ session featuring some usually unseen items from the NNA’s WI collection. This session will put the items shown in the context of both the WI and the social environment of their time and discuss the construction techniques and conservation issues of each piece.
Cost £4.00 each.


Wednesday 5th June
Wednesday 12
th June
Wednesday 19
th June
Wednesday 26
th June

4 weeks

10.30am - 1.00pm


As part of our exciting new workshop programme for 2019 we will be running a series of four week sewing and embroidery courses. Learn new skills or build on existing knowledge while making lovely decorative items to enjoy for yourself or to give as gifts.

Week 1: Make a document case with blanket stitch detail

Week 2: Make a purse decorated with buttons

Week 3: Create a mixed media picture

Week 4: Create a simple stump work picture.

Get to know your sewing machine and while you master hand, machine and design skills you can build your own reference files from worksheets given throughout the course and enjoy creative and productive mornings with friends. All kits included.
Cost £22 per session with 10% discount if all four sessions booked.

Wednesday 10th July



Be inspired by the Romany art of embroidered hexagons. Use a mix of hand embroidery, printed paper and fabrics to create your own samples. Bring along any of your favourite fabric scraps to use. Additional materials will also be provided.
Cost: £22. All abilities welcome.

Tuesday 23rd July



This mat is a godsend to both the hand and machine stitcher. It has a huge front pocket for keeping all your sewing items at hand, or for using as a thread and bits catcher. It has a non-slip base so your work won’t keep slipping away and it is ideal for putting under the sewing machine to protect the table top and give you a bright working area. Easy to roll up and move, or store. Useful and lightweight for travelling to workshops.
Cost £22. All abilities welcome.

Saturday 3rd August

1pm to 3:30pm

 (Also see our Activity Saturday page)

‘Can you crochet but want to be more creative?’ This class will encourage you to be more spontaneous and textural while making a small wall hanging. Bring with you a range of crochet hooks with odds and ends of mixed colour/textured yarns. Please contact us for further detail. Suitable for anyone confident with basic crochet.
Cost £20.

Wednesday 28th August

10:15 to 1:15pm


This workshop is suitable for all ages and abilities.

A fun introduction to the art of block printing. During the workshop you will use a variety of Indian wooden printing blocks and home-made blocks. Participants will test different layout techniques on paper e.g. random, brick, mirror and two-tone. You will then use a colourful selection of water based fabric paints to print an A3 size piece of natural calico.

Cost: £25 per person including materials.
Booking essential and please bring your own protective apron.

Saturday 7th September


(Also see our Activity Saturday page)

Under the guidance of our lace making volunteers you will learn how to make a bobbin lace snake. This workshop is suitable for all ages including children. Materials and equipment will be provided and can be taken home with you.
£10 per person or £15 for two.

Wednesday 18th September


Explore some of the methods that can be used to personalise textile items and then create your own decorative monogram in felt decorated with hand embroidered stitches. Examples of a variety of lettering styles will be available but if you have a certain script that you would like to use please bring it to the workshop.
Cost £22 including materials.

Tuesday 15th October

Tuesday 22nd October


Book these two sessions to really get to understand how your overlocker works. Session 1: master threading the machine competently and practice stitching. Session 2: learn how to use up to 3 different attachments supplied with your machine. After these workshops you will feel confident to make the very best use of your overlocker. Bring your machine (it must be in working order) with overlocker thread, spare needles, accessories & instruction manual.
Cost £30 per session or £54 if booking both sessions in advance

Thursday 17th October


Very easy patchwork class for absolute beginners. Make a cot or lap quilt top and learn all the basics you need to know.

Cost: £48 per person.

Tuesday 29th October


Childrens ½ term workshop.

These card decorations are lovely to use for birthday parties, Halloween and Christmas. Refreshments, materials and battery operated tea-lights provided. Additional multi-coloured tea-lights available to buy for 50p each.

Cost: £10 per child or £15 for two.

Saturday 2nd November


(Also see our Activity Saturday page)
Inspired by our exhibition, join us and volunteers from Project Linus (Berkshire & Hampshire branches) for an afternoon of quilt making. Project Linus is a fantastic Community Interest Company that provide security and comfort through handmade quilts. Project Linus Quilts are made especially for donation to babies, children & teenagers “in need of a hug”. Fabric packs and instruction will be provided.

10:30am to 11am Free talk and 11am to 3:30pm Quilt Making. Bring a packed lunch and stay all day!

Saturday 2nd November
1.30pm - 3.30pm

Festive Silk Painting Workshop

Led by artist Helen Mortimer during this workshop you will learn the art of silk painting creating beautiful cards & bookmark as gifts for Christmas. Cost: per person £25 + £5 per kit.

Numbers are limited so booking is essential.

Tuesday 12th November


Artist Fi Oberon will show you how to create a lovely little 3D needle felted animal using wool fibres and felting needles.

Cost: £50 + £4 kit.

Thursday 21st November
10.30am - 12.30pm

Festive Silk Painting Workshop

Led by artist Helen Mortimer during this workshop you will learn the art of silk painting creating beautiful cards & bookmark as gifts for Christmas. Cost: per person £25 + £5 per kit.

Numbers are limited so booking is essential.

Thursday 28th November

10am– 4pm


Try something different going round in circles! This bag can be made glitzy or plain to suit you. It is lined and has an inside pocket. Suitable for all abilities.

Cost: £60.

Saturday 7th December

Please see our Activity Saturday page