Classes · Sewing

Learn With Coles

Sewing is a great way to learn new skills whether you enjoy making garments for yourself or creating a beautiful quilt or if you’re like me and like to dabble in lots of different stitch projects.   

Increasingly, research shows that craft activities like sewing release the feel-good hormone dopamine, provide a distraction from worries, give people a creative outlet and sense of accomplishment and help people feel happier.

People enjoy sewing and socialising with like minded people and our face-to-face classes provide somewhere to do just that, over the years we have seen many new sewing friendships formed!

There are many ways to learn with us, as well as our face-to-face classes, we have recently added zoom classes and now have an online learning centre.

We also have a YouTube channel where we post short instructional videos and if you subscribe to our channel (it’s free) you will get notifications when we upload new videos and add items to our community page.      

Coles Learning Centre – Online learning – an extension of our classroom online!

Our classes are designed to take you from complete beginner to confident sewer and even the most experienced stitchers will find something new to learn. As well as our internationally renowned classes for Husqvarna Viking machine owners, there are project classes for both sewing and embroidery, overlocker owners and some free classes for you to try before you buy

Our classes are recorded so that you can watch them over and over again, pause, stop and rewind!

Visit to see what we have on offer!

Reusable makeup wipes are just one of the free short classes we have available

Zoom Online Learning

These classes are live zoom sessions, designed for you to watch, take notes, and ask the tutor questions – a great opportunity to attend a class from the comfort of your own home, wherever you are in the world, and we won’t know if you’ve got your slippers on! 

You will be sent a recording of the class within 48 hours so you can watch it again at a time that suits you.

You can make one of these beautiful projects with the skills you’ll learn during Pat Lumsdale’s Strip Quilt Using Quilt As You Go Zoom class

Classroom Learning – face to face in Nottingham

We also run a huge variety of classes in our classrooms. These cover all aspects of sewing, including dressmaking, quilting, patchwork, embroidery, overlocking and computer embroidery software, our classes are all led by expert tutors.

You can book these courses online by clicking here, or call us on 0115 9881550.

Dressmaking is one of the many skills you can learn in our Nottingham classroom

Helping us with our learning centre and YouTube channel

Ishrat Chowdhury is a current second year Law student at Nottingham Trent University. As a part of her course this year, she was required to take on a twelve-week placement to complete her module and learn about working in a professional environment. Ishrat has been working with us and helping with the social media side of the business by filming and editing for YouTube and updating the online learning centre.

On completing her placement Ishrat said, ‘Although there have been challenges along the way, I have been able to overcome them with the help of the Coles staff, I can confidently say that I have gained skills that I did not apprehend, such as IT ones. But I have also learnt what it is like to work in a professional setting and adopted skills from the staff around me, such as effective communication. It has been an amazing opportunity for me to conduct my placement at Coles Sewing Centre and gain experiences that I will be able to apply to my degree and onwards.’

Pop over to our website for information on our face to face and zoom classes, you’ll also find class pictures and requirement lists. You can book a zoom class or face to face class on our website or by giving us a call, however we do recommend early booking otherwise you may be disappointed! 

Events · Staff

We did it!

As you may know, last month the staff at Coles took part in the Cancer Research UK Walk All Over Cancer challenge. We aimed to walk 10,000 steps a day for the whole of March with a target of raising £700 and I’m proud to say that we absolutely smashed it! Between us we walked 2,425,576 steps, which works out as about 1,091 miles – that’s enough to get us to Russia, Mali or even Greenland! Altogether we raised £1,408, which is more than double our original target! Thank you so much to everyone who supported us and donated so generously, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Between us we walked over 1,000 miles! Map created on
Husqvarna Viking · Sewing

Springtime Sewing with Husqvarna Viking Machines

Spring is a time for new beginnings, and what better way to welcome a new season than by sewing a beautiful gift for your loved one? A handmade gift is one of the best ways to show someone how much you care about them.

And thanks to the latest cutting-edge technology from Husqvarna Viking, sewing has never been more enjoyable. In this blog, we take a look at some pattern ideas for springtime sewing before providing a guide to Husqvarna Viking machines and why you should invest in one.

Pattern ideas for spring sewing

You can make a whole range of items for springtime, from Easter accessories to dresses and pinafores for children. Or you can just whip up some new clothes for yourself! Either way, there are lots of great sewing patterns out there to help bring your ideas to life.

If you’re sewing for someone else, you want to make sure the item reflects their personality as well as your relationship with them. Here are some pattern ideas for your next spring sewing project:

Children’s Dress, Top, Pants, Purses & Headband

The Simplicity Pattern S9559 is for a dress with a lined bodice and back buttons, which is perfect for casual spring or summer days. It’s a below-knee length dress with the option of sleeves or no sleeves. The skirt has an empire waistline seam, fabric ruffles and a button trim. This pattern also includes a sleeveless, hip-length top that can be worn with jeans or shorts.

The pull-on cropped pants have elastic waistbands and fabric tie bows at the sides. They will look great with a T-Shirt or blouse. The dress with or without short sleeves has a below-knee length and is perfect for spring and summer. The lined purses have ruffles or bunny details and look adorable when attached to a belt loop! The ruffled headband is also included in this bundle pack.

Child’s & Girls’ Dress, Top, Pants & Camisole

The Simplicity Pattern 8621 is a collection of easy-to-sew pieces will have you really looking forward to the warmer weather. The Child’s & Girls’ Dress, Top, Pants & Camisole pattern includes a dress, knit camisole with lace overlay, and ankle-length pants, great for sister Easter looks or anything summery! The Child’s & Girls’ Dress, Top, Pants & Camisole pattern makes it easy to sew up some great outfits for the little ones in your life in just one afternoon!

These patterns are from Simplicity, whose patterns are all 50% off from Friday 7th April to Sunday 23rd April 2023 – snap up this bargain while you can!

A guide to Husqvarna Viking machines

Husqvarna Viking sewing machines have been helping sewers create their best projects for years. They are versatile, easy to use, and offer the best sewing machine experience out there. Whether you’re looking to make your first project or you’re an experienced seamstress, there’s a Husqvarna Viking machine that will be perfect for your needs.

Benefits of Husqvarna Viking machines

Springtime is a great time to get your sewing machine out because it’s the perfect excuse to make something new! The new Husqvarna Viking sewing machines are engineered and manufactured to the highest standards, with cutting-edge technology to ensure you get the best sewing experience possible.

Husqvarna Viking offers a range of models from basic to advanced, so you can choose the model that best fits your needs. One of their most popular features is the automatic bobbin winding system, it alerts you when the bobbin thread runs out, so you don’t have to worry about losing your project halfway through!

The machines are designed to give you the best performance, whether you’re sewing large quilts, home dec projects, or garments. You’ll love how easy it is to use these machines, whether you’re just starting or have years of experience under your belt. You can rely on their precision, ease of use and beautiful results every time.

Buying a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine

We know that when you’re ready to buy a sewing machine, you want one that’s easy to use, reliable, and comes with the accessories you need to get you started. That’s why we recommend Husqvarna Viking machines. Not only are they easy to use and come with a variety of features, but they also have a stitch selection that allows you to completely customise your projects whether they are creating clothes or making decorations for your home. They are simple to thread and reliable machines will provide you with years of sewing enjoyment.

You can buy with confidence from us as we offer 30 minutes of free in-store tuition with a range of our mechanical Husqvarna Viking sewing machines. In addition, many of our new sewing and embroidery machines come with a free online class on Coles Learning Centre, while new overlockers come with a free one-day in-store class.

For peace of mind, our Husqvarna Viking sewing, and embroidery machines come with a five-year warranty covering parts, electrical and electronics and a two-year warranty covering labour. Whilst our mechanical machines and overlockers come with a two-year parts and labour warranty.

So what are you waiting for? Browse through our website to discover our Husqvarna Viking range. Not only do we offer Husqvarna sewing and embroidery machines but also, overlockers and even demo and pre-owned machines if you’re shopping on a budget. Why not get in touch today!

Events · Staff

Coles is fundraising!

This March we are fundraising at Coles Sewing Centre – Deborah, Rose, Jackie, Catherine, Anna and Ellie are taking part in the Cancer Research UK Walk All Over Cancer challenge. We will be walking 10,000 steps a day for the whole of March, which makes a whopping 310,000 steps each! Between us we will be walking at least 1,860,000 steps, which works out at 930 miles – walking in a straight line then that would take us as far as Stockholm or Warsaw!

Map of Europe showing a circle with a radius of 930 miles from Nottingham
930 miles from Nottingham gets you an awfully long way! Map created on

Today, 1st March, is our first day of the challenge and we have already made hitting today’s step target difficult by scheduling our first aid refresher training for this evening. Being on the shop floor keeps us moving throughout the day, but to be sure that we don’t miss our first day’s target then we are all going for a half hour walk together as soon as the shop closes. If you’re in the area and see us power walking around Hockley then give us a wave!

We are proud to support Cancer Research UK, a charity that helps to fund life-changing research into cancer treatment and prevention. As well as providing resources for scientists, doctors and nurses, they provide vital practical information for patients and families on everything from symptoms and screening, to coping after treatment.

Over the last 40 years, cancer survival in the UK has doubled – in the 1970s just 1 in 4 people survived their disease for 10 years or more, but today 2 in 4 survive. Cancer Research UK aims to accelerate progress and see 3 in 4 patients surviving the disease by 2034. Sadly, many of us have a personal connection with someone who has suffered from cancer and 1 in 2 of us will develop it in our lifetime, so a donation today could potentially help someone you care about in the future.

If you can spare a pound or two to help support this great cause then you can donate via our fundraising page here – it’s simple, fast and totally secure. If you are a UK taxpayer then please tick the Gift Aid box – this makes your donation go even further as Cancer Research UK can claim back the tax you have already paid on it. We will also be taking donations in the shop and anything you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to the generosity of the people who have sponsored us so far, we have already raised more than a quarter of our £700 target. There’s still a long way to go, so anything you can give will make a real difference. Thank you.

A screenshot of Coles Sewing Centre's fundraising page for Walk All Over Cancer, showing that so far we have raised £195 and are 27% of the way to our £700 target.
Embroidery · Offers · software

mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021 – save 20% on boxed software during February!

mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021 – save 20% on boxed software during February!

We have a fantastic offer on Husqvarna Viking’s latest embroidery software: all levels of the boxed version of mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021 are 20% off during February 2023, meaning you can save up to £300!

The great thing about the boxed version of mySewnet Embroidery 2021 is that you pay a one-off price and the software is yours to keep forever, with no need to pay a monthly subscription. There are three full versions, Silver, Gold and Platinum, plus the Platinum Upgrade version, which allows you to upgrade from a previous generation of embroidery software. If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of mySewnet Embroidery 2021 software but you aren’t sure which version would best suit your needs, then read on to learn more about what the different versions have to offer!

mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021: Silver

If you are new to machine embroidery then Silver is the perfect entry level software. It lets you enhance and embellish ready-made designs, add text to your designs as well as frames, borders and flourishes. Your projects can be as large as your imagination as Split Project and Endless Assistant help you to reposition your hoop. As with all versions of mySewnet, you can wirelessly connect to the cloud to save your designs, or download designs to your WiFi enabled embroidery machine – location is never an issue, making it possible to be creative anywhere.

Until 28th February 2023, mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021 Silver is reduced from £525 to £420, saving you £105 on the full price.

mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021: Gold

The Gold version has everything that Silver offers, plus it allows you to digitize with minimal effort with step-by-step wizards guiding you through the creative process. Turn photos into embroidery with Photo Stitch, add appliqué to your embroideries or give the new Spiro Wizard a try to create incredible unique designs (you can learn more about Spiro in the video below from mySewnet UK).

Until 28th February 2023, mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021 Gold is reduced from £825 to £660, saving you £165 on the full price.

Watch this video from mySewnet UK to learn about the new Spiro Wizard

mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021: Platinum

The Platinum version gives you the complete collection of tools and step-by-step wizards for full control of the creative process. Draw and paint in the software, digitize your own designs, or add embellishments such as ribbon embroidery – this software is the ideal outlet for your creativity!

Until 28th February 2023, mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021 Platinum is reduced from £1,499 to £1,199, saving you £300 on the full price.

mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021: Platinum Upgrade

If you already own a previous generation of Husqvarna Viking embroidery software like 4D, 5D, 6D, Premier+ or Premier+2, then you can save even more by upgrading to mySewnet Embroidery 2021 with the Platinum Upgrade. mySewnet UK has created a helpful video, which you can see below, that demonstrates some of the changes in layout with mySewnet™ 2021.

Until 28th February 2023, mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021 Platinum Upgrade is reduced from £925 to £740, saving you £185 on the full price.

Watch this video from mySewnet UK to see how mySewnet™ Software has changed compared to previous generations such as Premier+2

mySewnet has so much to offer that it’s impossible to cover it in one post, but the chart below gives you an at-a-glance comparison between the three versions. You can also take a look at Anna’s post of 10 reasons why she loves mySewnet Embroidery 2021, which gives more info about how the software has changed with mySewnet, plus there’s loads of information about each package level on our website. If you have any questions then you can comment below, give us a call on (0115) 9881550 or pop into the shop for a chat. The 20% off special offer is available for the whole of February 2023, but only while stocks last so make sure you don’t miss out!

Comparison of the Silver, Gold and Platinum versions of mySewnet™ Embroidery 2021

This post is an updated version of one originally published on our WordPress blog on 07/10/21. It has been updated to reflect 2023 prices.


New year, new classes

Sewing is a great way to relax, to be able to switch off from everyday life and to let your creativity flow!  Our aim is to encourage you to develop your sewing skills, whether you are a beginner or more advanced stitcher, and we hope that your will meet new friends and have loads of fun along the way.

Our classes are taught by tutors who are experts in their subjects and have a passion for sewing and sharing their skills with others. There’s no need to bring your own sewing machine: our classrooms are fully equipped with sewing machines, overlockers, and large cutting tables for use during the classes. Importantly, the kettle is always on and tea and coffee are provided!

Let’s take a look at our tutors and what they have to offer – grab a coffee and read on!

Our Tutors

Catherine Crew

Catherine has been valuable part of the Coles shop team for over 10 years, so if you’ve been into the shop you may have met her. Along with being part of our shop floor staff, Catherine teaches overlocker courses for new owners, as well as more advanced techniques for people who have be using their overlockers for longer. Catherine has studied City & Guilds Tailoring Level 2 and Pattern Cutting Level 2 and gained distinctions in both; she has also completed a teaching course for adults at Nottingham Trent University.

Catherine Crew sitting at a sewing machine
Catherine Crew

Catherine teaches a regular dressmaking class on Wednesday mornings and afternoons and new for this year she is teaching a dressmaking and tailoring class that runs once a month on a Saturday. Our dressmaking classes are designed for you to work on your own project at your own pace, whether you want to make something from scratch or upcycle (or alter) an existing garment.

Catherine has also developed classes for learning to sew with stretch fabrics. The first is Jersey Trousers, a one-day class in February, and the second is a two-day class in April, Sewing with Stretch Fabric and Your Overlocker. She will also be part of the teaching team for our weekend sewing retreat in February, along with Emma Smith.

Emma Smith

We extend a warm welcome to Emma, who joined us at the end of last year and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. Emma is an avid dressmaker and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others discover the joy of sewing and develop their own skills and experiences. She has a degree in fashion and textiles and has spent many years in the UK manufacturing industry.

Emma Smith, holding a pair of scissors
Emma Smith

Emma has reintroduced Pattern Cutting into our programme. Buying a commercial pattern and getting it to fit can be tricky and, as we all know, one size really doesn’t fit all! Creating your own pattern block allows you to be able to make clothes that really do fit, and you will also be able to use the skills learnt to alter commercial patterns. Emma will also be part of the teaching team for our weekend sewing retreat in February, along with Catherine.

Tracy Corns

Tracy joined our team two years ago, having been a freelance tutor for the past six years and teaching at venues across the East Midlands. She enjoys helping learners of all abilities refine their skills to produce high quality bespoke items. She specialises in teaching dressmaking, homewares and bag making, often creating her own patterns.

Tracy teaches a regular dressmaking class on a Tuesday morning and afternoon and new for this year she is teaching a beginner’s class on a Saturday morning and a junior class for 11- to 16-year-olds on a Saturday afternoon. Learning something new can be daunting, but both these classes have been designed to give you the confidence and skills needed to take your sewing journey to the next level!

With recycling and reusing in all our minds these days, Tracy is running the first of our Don’t Ditch it Repair It classes this February. You can come along and learn the basic skills needed to repair your favourite garments, from replacing a missing button to repairing a hole in your jumper or rescuing your favourite pair of jeans.

Gilli Theokritoff   

Gilli has been part of our team for many years, she is an experienced quilter and teacher and has won awards for her contemporary quilts. She is an active member of the Quilters Guild and is keen to encourage new quilters with her lively and engaging classes. Gilli teaches around the country and exhibits her work at national and international quilt shows.

A patchwork quilt and patchwork table runner laid out on the floor
Two new projects you can sew in Gilli’s Quilt Saturday class, the Beginner’s Quilt and Table Runner

Gilli teaches a regular Thursday morning Patchwork and Quilting class, which is aimed at all abilities. Whether you are a complete beginner or already an avid quilter, Gilli will take you through the whole process from choosing your fabric to completing your first project. If you are already a keen quilter this is an opportunity to learn new skills and techniques or finish that UFO!

Gilli also teaches a monthly Quilt Saturday class, ideal for those new to quilting or those who would like to build on existing skills. If you want to have a go at a sampler quilt, Gilli has plenty to choose from, pop over to our website and take a look!

Jill Dean

Jill first came to classes as a soft furnishing student herself and has now been teaching for us for over 10 years. She enjoys making all kinds of items for the home and enjoys sharing her passion and enthusiasm whether you are learning to make your first cushion or measuring up for a curtain.

Jill teaches a soft furnishing and craft class on a Wednesday morning; the class is suitable for all skill levels. Jill will teach you how to make a variety of beautiful soft furnishings and crafts for your home from blinds and curtains to cushions and bags, the choice is yours!

Anna Mather

Anna has been a member of the shop staff for over 10 years and on our teaching team for the past 6 years. She is a keen quilter and embroiderer and is a beta tester for the Husqvarna Viking software. Anna has a degree in fine arts and loves to share her ideas and creativity with her students.

Anna Mather

Last year Anna launched a range of software Zoom classes and will be launching more of these later this year, as well as more face-to-face software and embroidery classes in our classrooms.  New classes and dates will be launched in our newsletter.

Anna is also one of the tutors for our Epic Retreat in September, a weekend of workshops, product demonstrations and Q&As with Husqvarna Viking that is designed specifically for owners of Epic and Ruby 90 machines. This weekend always books up quickly, so please don’t delay in booking if you are interested.

Rose Coles

Last year I filmed the owner’s courses for our online learning centre and this year I have more filming planned so that we can build our learning centre syllabus and add some project-based classes. Like Anna I’m also planning some Zoom classes, as well as face to face classes in our classroom. New classes and dates will be launched in our newsletter very soon!

What else do we have to offer?

Weekend Retreats

We are pleased to reintroduce weekend sewing retreats and this year we have two: one for garment makers and one for owners of top-of-the-line embroidery machines.  You are welcome whatever your ability, it’s a great way to learn new skills and meet lots of new people – treat it like a mini holiday as there’s no cooking or washing up!

Last year’s Epic Retreat

Online Classes

Last year we launched our online learning centre, where you can find online classes for owners of Husqvarna machines as well as some free tutorials on accessories. We have plans to add more classes this year, which we’ll let you know about by newsletter so please make sure you’ve signed up to receive it! We also have plans for more Zoom classes, so again please keep an eye on our newsletters.

Guest Tutors

From time to time we have guest tutors visiting us. Kathleen Laurel Sage will be returning to our classrooms later this year, so please watch this space! Jamie Warren from Husqvarna Viking will also be back in our classrooms in September for our Epic and Ruby 90 retreat.

Sit & Sew Classes

Sometimes it’s nice to spend time with like-minded people and by that, I mean people that sew and share your passion! We’ve introduced Sit & Sew sessions, where you can come along to our classroom with your latest project, take advantage of the large cutting tables and sew and natter to your heart’s content. Sewing machines are provided and the kettle will be on, but please note there’s no tutor for these sessions!

Friday mornings are for dressmakersFriday afternoons are for quilters and sessions run once a month on a Saturday that are for everyone, whatever your sewing persuasion! Places are limited and fill up fast, so booking is essential.

Booking and paying for classes

You can book all our classes online. Did you know that if you are spending over £30 then you can pay with your PayPal account and spread the cost over 3 months? We do recommend early booking – our classes fill up quite quickly and class numbers are limited as we like you to have plenty of room to sew. We wouldn’t want you to miss out and be disappointed! We recommend you read our conditions of booking before booking a class.

You can find all our upcoming classes on our website here, or if you prefer you can download our latest course brochure here. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post, we hope to see you very soon either in our classroom or in your own home on a Zoom class! 


Coles Christmas Gift Ideas 2022

It’s December, and we all know what that means – it’s just over three weeks to Christmas and the Christmas shopping is getting more urgent! As always, at Coles we’re here to help so here are some ideas for gifts for the stitcher in your life.

The Christmas gifts display in store at Coles Sewing Centre. There is table covered in a green tablecloth with a range of sewing products surrounding a small Christmas tree at the centre with embroidered decorations .
The Christmas gifts display in store at Coles Sewing Centre

Sewing machines and overlockers

We like to give you some really fantastic offers on sewing machines and overlockers at Christmas, and this year is no exception. We have a whopping 16 machines in our Christmas Special Offer section, which you can click here to browse, but I’d like to pick a couple out that I think would be wonderful gifts.

The Emerald 116 and Emerald 118 both come with a free sewing machine bag that is ideal for dust-free storage as well as letting you safely transport your machine to classes. The Emerald range is great for dressmakers and there is a great range of additional accessories available that can make completing your project quicker and easier, such as the Clear Seam Guide Foot that makes adding an even seam allowance of any size a doddle!

If you’re looking for a machine for a quilter then look no further than the Opal 690Q. This is an absolute workhorse of a machine that is easy for a beginner to use but also has lots of advanced features that a more experienced stitcher would love. This Christmas it comes with a £100 Coles gift card that can be used in store on anything that takes your fancy – feet, fabric, you name it!

If an overlocker is more up your street, then you can’t go wrong with the Amber S|100. It’s Husqvarna Viking’s newest release and has 4, 3, 2 thread capability with 16 different stitches to help you complete any project. It also comes with a £50 Coles gift card to spend in store on anything you like.

All of these offers are available until 31st December 2022 or while stocks last, plus all new machines from Coles come with free tuition to get you up to speed quickly. Not sure where to hide such a big gift? We have a Wrap & Store service – we can wrap and store your machine for you until the big day, you just need to collect it before the shop closes at 2pm on Christmas Eve! Simply contact the shop to take advantage of this time-saving service.

Husqvarna Viking Accessories

The Husqvarna Viking boffins have been busily creating again and there are several new products available this Christmas. Check out our staff picks below to learn more about the Husqvarna Viking Designer Quilter’s Kit, the Husqvarna Viking Circular Attachment Templates and the Husqvarna Viking Serger Case. There are also several more familiar items that it’s always worth taking a look at, including extension tables, the Interchangeable Dual Feed and the Quilt Binders, which are now available in 1/2″ and 5/8″ sizes. These products are some of our most regular sellers for a reason – they’re incredibly useful for all types of sewing. It’s important to make sure that they will fit your recipient’s machine, but as long as you know what type of machine it is then the product pages will give you all the information you need. If you’re still not sure whether you’ve made the right choice then our helpful shop floor staff will be able to advise you either by email or phone.

Thread boxes

Gutermann 11 Sew-All thread set with a white 20cm hand gauge and a red mini seam fix. The threads are in a variety of colours, including black, white, cream, beige, brown, grey, nacy and red.

You can’t go wrong with giving a beautiful set of threads as a present, and we have lots of thread sets available. A couple of this year’s stars include the Gutermann 10 Sew-All thread set with a Prym cartridge pencil, the Gutermann 11 Sew-All thread set with a 20cm hand gauge and a mini seam fix and the Gutermann 18 Sew-All thread set in a handy storage box. Gutermann’s Sew-All thread is a fantastic all-rounder that any stitcher would be glad to receive, while the extra gifts inside all three sets are a useful addition to any sewing box.


We’ve got some lovely new books available this Christmas as well a some old favourites that no sewing library is complete without. For people trying to live a more sustainable life, then Sew Eco Friendly by Debbie Shore has 25 projects to reduce waste and help you live a more eco-friendly life. Urban Quilting by Wendy Chow is perfect for beginners and features simple illustrations and easy-to-follow steps that teach you how to make up to 30 beautiful quilts in a short amount of time. Bags For Life by Stuart Hilliard has 21 bag-making projects to help a crafter expand their expertise from simple tote bags to more complicated bags that make use of zips, pockets, piping and more. The book itself is a beautiful hardback and will keep any crafter happily occupied. Last, but certainly not least, then take a look at our selection of books by Tilly Walnes from Tilly and the Buttons. Tilly’s mission is to demystify dressmaking and make it a skill that stitchers of all skill levels feel comfortable trying. Her books are firm favourites with the Coles staff and dressmakers around the world.

Stocking fillers

We have a whole department dedicated to stocking fillers, but if you’re looking for a small but useful gift, then this Makers Gonna Make tote bag is perfect! The Prym Sewing Accessories Kit has everything for the beginner, or is perfect to keep in your desk or car for those little repairs when you’re on the go, while the Prym Love Needle Twister is a great alternative to a needle case – its inbuilt magnet keeps your needles safely contained and they fan out with a quick twist, making selection simple.

Blue tote bag with pink handles, with images of sewing notions on the side and the text "MAKERS GONNA MAKE" on the front.

Christmas makes and fabric

Linen-look polycotton canvas with a print of Christmassy gonks

There’s still time for some last-minute Christmas makes! We’ve got a linen-look canvas printed with Christmas trees that would make great Christmas tablecloths or placemats, or why not create a Christmas sack covered in gonks?! As always, we have loads of Christmas-based craft, patchwork and quilting fabrics, or why not make yourself a Christmas outfit with our Christmas dressmaking fabrics?

Staff picks

Deborah has chosen the Prym Love Starter Set for her staff pick this year. She says it’s great gift for any beginner sewers, but it’s also perfect for taking to classes. Anna is excited about a couple of Husqvarna Viking’s newest products: the Designer Quilter’s Kit and the new templates to use with the circular attachment. The Circular Attachment Templates help you to stitch perfect flower, heart and leaf shapes with your circular attachment, while the Designer Quilter’s Kit contains a whole host of tools for quilters, including a brilliant rotating cutting mat.

Jackie loves to make clothes for her lucky granddaughter Evie, so will probably be getting some of Dashwood’s babycord to make Evie a Christmas dress. Catherine has her eye on the new Husqvarna Viking Serger Case. This wheeled case lets you transport your precious overlocker safely and easily and it is big enough to take even Husqvarna Viking’s largest overlocker, the Amber Air S|600. If she found one of those under her tree then she would be absolutely over the moon!

As for me, I’ve chosen Sewgirl’s Chelsea Girl Hat pattern. Being the owner of an inconveniently large head, then hats are difficult for me to buy, but the Chelsea Hat can be adjusted to fit me perfectly so I can keep warm this winter without giving myself a headache!

Gift cards

If you’re still not sure not to buy then we’ve got you covered – with a Coles gift card then you can get anything in the shop! We have them online in amounts of £5, £10, £20, £25, £50 and £100 but if you would like to give a different amount then just give us a call or drop us an email and we can help you out. There’s no need to worry about it expiring before it can be spent – our gift cards don’t have expiry dates so you can use them up at your leisure.

This is our second Christmas since we started our blog, so if you want some more ideas then you can take a look at last year’s Christmas Gift Ideas blog post (although not every item on there is still available) and there are even more ideas in store. Don’t forget, we are open until 2pm on Christmas Eve so there’s still time for those last minute purchases! If there’s anything you’d like to know more about, or if you’d like to take advantage of our Wrap & Store service, then you can email us on or call the shop on (0115) 9881550. In the meantime, everyone at Coles wishes you all a very merry Christmas!


Mettler Silk Finish Cotton 60: The lighter weight cotton thread where less really is more

Anyone who follows us on Facebook will know that we have recently received a brand new cabinet full of Mettler Silk Finish Cotton 60. But what you might not know is what a fantastic all-rounder this thread is. So why is it worth trying Silk Finish Cotton 60 (SFC 60)?

It is called Silk Finish Cotton because of its silky feel, while the 60 refers to the weight of the thread: the higher the number, the finer the thread so a 60wt thread is a medium-fine thread. This means that SFC 60 is finer than other cotton threads like Gutermann Natural Cotton (50wt), Cotton 30 and Cotton 12. It is also finer than other embroidery threads, like Gutermann Sulky Rayon 40 and Rayon 30. However, if you’re looking for an ultra fine thread for something like English paper piecing, then you’ll want 100wt, which is far finer than SFC60.

Mettler provide a handy graphic so you can see how to use their threads, which as you can see below shows that SFC 60 is at its best when used for quilting and embroidery. It can also be used for sewing but it isn’t recommended for use in an overlocker.

Uses for Mettler Silk Finish Cotton 60


SFC 60 is great for quilting. When you piece with it then you lose less of your seam allowance when you press your seams because it lies flatter than seams stitched with a heavier weight thread. This difference is minimal on individual seams, but really builds up across the quilt as a whole and can throw out the measurements for your final quilt. Also, if your quilting is particularly dense then a finer weight thread will give you a lighter, less stiff result. Over the quilt as a whole then a slightly finer thread can really make a big difference!


A lot of people use 40wt rayon embroidery threads, which give a lovely sheen. However, sometimes a matt finish is preferable and you get this with a cotton thread like SFC 60 – you can see in the image below that the Gutermann Rayon 40 on the bottom row has much more shine than the SFC 60 on the top row. Also, if your stitching is particularly dense then you will also find that your embroidery has less bulk with a finer thread.

Top: Mettler Silk Finish Cotton 60. Bottom: Gutermann Rayon 40

When embroidering, SFC 60 looks lovely as your top thread but it’s also great in your bobbin. Pre-wound bobbins and bobbin thread have more stretch to them than cotton, so can lead to puckering on some embroidery stitches (particularly running stitches). Using cotton in your bobbin can help with this issue, and because it is a finer weight then you can wind more on, meaning you have to change bobbins less often.


You can also sew with SFC 60, although this is not its primary use. It’s best to use it with lightweight fabrics as it is finer than other sewing threads.

Less fluff

Where SFC 60 really shines is the beautiful lustre created by the mercerisation process. This, in tandem with the long staple Egyptian cotton fibres that it is spun from, creates a beautifully smooth thread that sheds less, creates less fluff in your machine and is less likely to shred. What this adds up to is less thread breakage and less debris clogging up your machine, which can cause all sorts of issues of its own (if you want to know more about the importance of cleaning our your machine, then read Neil’s post on keeping your machine in tip top condition).

Great colour range

There is a beautiful selection of colours of SFC 60 (take a look at the shade chart on the Mettler website here) that are very colourfast. It comes in 200m and 800m reels, or if you want a 2743m cone so you can stitch uninterrupted for longer then there are 53 colours to choose from.

Our new Silk Finish Cotton 60 stand – just look at those gorgeous colours!

Available online

We have our whole range of SFC 60 thread available on our website. Simply select the colour you would like and then choose the length from the drop down menu. Not all colours come in all lengths but you can refine your search by length if you want a particular amount, or by colour group if you know you want a blue (for example), but want to browse the shades on offer. As always, we are available on email at and telephone on (0115) 9881550 if you would like any advice about your thread choice. I hope you’ll give Silk Finish Cotton 60 a try – let us know what you think in the comments!

Fabric · Patchwork · quilting · Sewing

Time is running out to enter our fantastic Liberty competition!

You only have until midnight on Saturday 1st October to enter our Liberty competition and be in with a chance of winning one of our three Liberty prizes!

How do I enter?

Simply purchase any Liberty fabric from us, either in store or online, and your name will automatically be entered into the competition. Each full metre purchased counts as one entry, so you can mix and match half metres and fat quarters – as long as it adds up to one full metre within the same transaction then it counts! The more you buy, the more entries you have and the more chances you have of winning!

You can read more in our original blog post here and you can browse our selection of Liberty fabrics on our website here. Good luck!


Every sewing room needs an overlocker!

If you already have a sewing machine, you may have wondered why an overlocker is worth bothering with. After all, you can do almost everything with your sewing machine that an overlocker does, can’t you? But an overlocker has so much to offer and having one in your sewing room will revolutionise your sewing!

An overlocker, known in the USA as a serger, allows you to stitch, trim and overcast in one step. You can use your overlocker from beginning to end of your project, and as it does all this at double the speed of your average sewing machine then you can complete projects in a flash. Just think, there’s no need to sit and trim all of your seam allowances by hand and then go back to the sewing machine to finish those fraying edges – with an overlocker it’s already done!

Overlockers can stitch using 4, 3 or 2 thread capabilities, allowing you to adjust the strength and bulk of your seam according to your project. They can be used on all fabric types, including knitted garments that may be tricky to sew using a standard sewing machine. They are particularly useful for sewing on stretch fabrics due to their differential feed. This means that they have two sets of feed dogs that feed the top and bottom layers of your fabric independently through the overlocker, preventing your fabric from stretching out of shape while it is stitched.

This differential feed also allows you to create decorative finishes such as gathers or ruffles, but you have even more options with additional feet, including more complex gathers/ruffles, more hem options (including, blind hem, flatlock, mock bands, rolled hem, lettuce leaf) and a variety of seam types (including French, mock French and mock flat felled seams, although some will need to be finished on your sewing machine).

On top of all this, you can embellish your projects using decorative threads, ribbons or yarns, plus you can apply lace and elastic, add tucks or pintucks, stitch narrow spaghetti straps with ease… the list of what you can do with your overlocker is enormous!

If you want a really professional finish to your knitwear and activewear, or to further embellish your projects with decorative stitching, then you need a coverstitch machine. While this can mean purchasing a separate machine, the Husqvarna Viking Amber Air S|600 also has a coverstitch function, making it two machines in one. This is a worthwhile purchase if you sew a lot of stretch garments as it produces a robust finish that is as good as anything you can get in the shops, while avoiding the puckering that can occur when stitching with a twin needle on a sewing machine.

There is so much that your overlocker can do that I can’t possibly fit it all in here, which is why I teach a variety of overlocker classes at Coles Sewing Centre. These range from classes that help you to get to grips with what your overlocker has to offer, to workshops that lead you through specific projects or advanced features, all with me on hand to answer questions and provide tips and tricks.

When you buy a new overlocker from Coles then you get a one-day owner’s class with me to help you learn how to use your machine, absolutely free. If you’re interested in buying an overlocker but you don’t know whether it’s for you then you can browse what we have on offer on our website here, give us a call in the shop for advice on 0115 9881550, or better yet, come and visit us for a demonstration!