We have a really special event coming up next week at Coles Sewing Centre. We will be hosting two quilting sessions in aid of Project Linus UK and we would love it if you could come along and sew with us.
Project Linus UK is a volunteer organisation that provides new homemade patchwork quilts and knitted blankets to local hospitals, children’s hospices, women’s refuges, foster carers, special schools, bereavement services and many other places where support is given to children ‘in need of a hug’. These beautiful and unique quilts and blankets help to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers across the UK. It is also a fantastic opportunity for volunteers to contribute to their local community while doing something they love.
At Coles Sewing Centre we are proud to be supporting Project Linus again this year. On Monday 25th October 2021 we will host two sessions for you to stitch a quilt, one in the morning (10am to 1pm) and one in the afternoon (1:30pm to 4:30pm). As we have to allow for social distancing this year then numbers are limited and booking is required, but the £2.00 booking fee will enter you into a prize draw and all money will be donated to Project Linus. We would love for you to join us for one of our Project Linus quilt making sessions – we’ll provide the fabrics, threads and sewing machines, all we need you to do is come along and sew! You can book your place online here.
If you are unable to come to the sessions but would like to make a quilt at home, we suggest you make one of the following sizes:
Neonatal: 20” x 16” (51cm x 40.5cm)
Incubator quilts: 40” x 32” (101.5cm x 81cm)
Baby quilts: approx. 24” – 30” square (61cm-79cm square) or 24” x 30” (61cm x 79cm)
Children’s quilts: approx. 36” – 42” square (91.5cm-106.5cm square) or 36” x 42” (91.5cm x 106.5cm)
Teenagers’ quilts: approx. 42” square (106.5cm square) or 42” x 48” (106.5cm x 122cm)
Knitted blankets: approx. 24” square (61cm square) or larger
All quilts must be machine washable and please do not add embellishments such as ribbons and buttons, which could come off and be swallowed. You can drop any completed quilts and blankets off with us at any time and we will pass them on to our local area co-ordinator.
You can learn more about Project Linus UK on their website, it’s a wonderful charity that makes a big difference in children’s lives when they need it the most. Any contribution, large or small, is gratefully received – from donations of fabric, wadding and thread to making a quilt or a blanket, it’s up to you how you take part. So please join us on Monday 25th October to help provide security and comfort to children in need of a hug.
This week Rose will explain embroidery stabilisers, so if you’ve ever found yourself looking at all the options available but not sure which is the right one for your project then Rose is here to help!
If you own an embroidery machine then you know that you need to use stabiliser underneath your fabric, but the question is which do you choose? There are several different stabilisers to choose from and each one has a different purpose, so in this blog I’ll aim to demystify embroidery stabilisers for you!
Why do you need to use an embroidery stabiliser?
The fabric that you’re working on is the foundation of your design. Using a stabiliser will prevent the fabric from puckering and slipping, allowing a well-formed stitch to be created. The less stable the fabric is and the more stitches your design has, the more stabiliser you will need.
Choosing a stabiliser
To decide which backing to use, you need to consider the following:
The type of fabric
The density of the stitches in the design
The weight of the fabric
The embroidery design itself
The colour of the fabric (most stabilisers are white but some do come in black as well. Generally I would choose white but if there’s a choice then choose white for light coloured fabrics and black for dark)
As well as choosing the correct embroidery stabiliser, you also need to take care when hooping the fabric. Always hoop up on a firm surface such as a table, trying to do it on your knee really won’t work! If the fabric is too loose in the hoop then the needle will deflect your material and design registration will be adversely affected. That means that your outlines may not line up with other portions of the design.
Types of stabiliser
There are several types of stabiliser to choose from and I will I explain how each is used. I have included a table at the end so you can see the applications of each type at a glance.
Tear away stabilisers
Tear away stabilisers are the cheapest and the most used stabilisers, I keep a big roll in my cupboard! Stitch and Tear is recommended for use with medium to heavyweight fabrics. After completing the design, it can be torn away in either the horizontal or vertical direction. It should be removed carefully in order to not disturb the stitches in your design. I wouldn’t recommend using it for delicate fabrics or knits.
Tear and Washis similar to Stitch and Tear but is easy to remove and leaves no stabiliser remnants under the stitching. Simply damp around the edges of the embroidery to release the extra stabiliser and the remainder of the stabiliser will disappear during washing. Please note: although this stabiliser is water soluble it is NOT suitable for freestanding lace projects.
Cut away stabilisers
Cut away stabilisers such as Polymesh are woven stabilisers ideal for stretch fabrics as they remain on the back of the fabric supporting the embroidery during washing and wearing, preventing the design from distorting. Polymesh is semi-transparent and known as a no show mesh, meaning it won’t show through on the right side of the garment. It is especially designed for extra stability on lightweight fabrics and knits. We stock two types in both black and white: Polymesh Fusible and Polymesh Non-Fusible. They both do the same thing but the fusible stays where you put it – it’s my favourite to use when embroidering onto T-shirts.
Adhesive-backed stabilisers can be both tear away (Filmoplast, which comes in black as well as white) and wash away (Wash Away Adhesive) and both are very similar in the way they are used. They are perfect for difficult-to-hoop projects – just hoop the stabiliser, score and remove the release sheet (it’s a bit like sticky back plastic, if you can remember that!), then stick the item to the stabiliser and embroider.
Adhesive-backed stabilisers are great for small areas that are too small to fit the hoop area, such as collars or pockets. They are also ideal for thick fabrics that are difficult to hoop, or for velvets and napped fabrics like towelling that really don’t want to be hooped conventionally as they will mark. They are great if you own a metal hoop with magnets too, as the stabiliser will stick underneath the hoop.
Filmoplast, the adhesive-backed tear away, is removed by tearing the stabiliser from around the design and the Wash Away Adhesive is removed by washing once you have removed the excess. Which you use is down to preference and whether you want the stabiliser to remain under the design or to wash away.
Water soluble stabilisers
We have already covered two water soluble stabilisers, Tear and Wash and Wash Away Adhesive. A third option is Soluble Fabric, a water soluble stabiliser that is a whopping 153cm wide, which is why it’s known as Extra Wide! It is soft, sheer and stronger than dissolvable films; it has no fibre residue and is fully dissolvable in warm water – simply cut away the excess and wash. It is ideal for when you want to embroider standalone embroidery designs and other projects that require 100% complete backing removal.
Other machine embroidery products
When I’m talking about stabilisers there are two other products I like to mention. Although they aren’t stabilisers, they sort of fit in with them as they are used with machine embroidery.
Solvy is a thin water soluble film – it’s not a stabiliser and is not stable enough to use under the fabric. It’s known as a topper and is put on top of the fabric to prevent the embroidery stitches from sinking into the fabric. This is an absolute must when embroidering onto pile fabrics such as velvet, fleece and towelling. It easily dissolves under cold or warm water when the embroidery is finished.
Over the Back Fusingis well-named – it is for using over the back of the embroidery. Fuse it over the back of your embroidery design when it is finished and it will give a smooth surface next to the skin as it seals in any loose and scratchy threads.
A final tip
It can be difficult to identify a stabiliser just by looking at it so make sure to label your stabilisers so you know what they are. And be sure to store your water soluble stabilisers in a seal top bag to prevent them from getting damp and deteriorating – the smallest splash of water can make a piece unusable!
We currently have a fantastic offer on Husqvarna Viking’s latest embroidery software. If you purchase a boxed version of mySewnet Embroidery 2021 software before 31st December you can save up to 25%, but only while stocks last!
When you buy the boxed mySewnet Embroidery 2021 software you pay a one-off price and it 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, so 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 Silver 2021 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.
mySewnet™ Embroidery Gold 2021 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).
mySewnet™ Embroidery Platinum 2021 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!
mySewnet™ Embroidery Platinum 2021 Upgrade If you already own Premier+2 software, then you can upgrade to mySewnet Embroidery 2021 with the Platinum Upgrade. Our software expert Anna will be posting soon to explain how mySewnet is different from Premier+2, but in the meantime you can view the video below from mySewnet™ UK to see some of the changes in layout.
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 buy online on our website here and as always, 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.
We are all stitchers at Coles Sewing Centre so we like to get together every so often for a sew and a chat, although Covid restrictions sadly put a stop to that for a while. So we were all very excited to get together on Saturday to have a staff sewing night for the first time in nearly two years! As you can imagine, we did a lot more chatting than sewing because we haven’t all been together for so long, but here’s a little look at the projects we all currently have on the go.
Jackie has a brand new granddaughter and has been making all sorts of sweet outfits for her lately. I just had to take a picture of the completed dinosaur print dress that she brought with her, although apparently she’s unlikely to make one in my size, which is very disappointing. Jackie is a whizz with pinning and cutting out and she had the pieces for another dress cut before the end of the evening, even with all the talking and distractions!
Deborah has just bought some of our Tilly and the Buttons jersey and is going to use it to make the Tabitha dress from Make It Simple by Tilly and the Buttons. She’s chosen to make the drawstring variation in a long length with a three quarter sleeve so that she can wear it in the winter with a cardigan, tights and boots, or in the summer with a pair of trainers. She spent the evening tracing out her pattern pieces and I’m sure you’ll see her wearing the dress in the shop before very long. Both Jackie and Deborah have made a lot of the projects from Make It Simple – it’s a fantastic resource for quick makes so if you’re interested in getting a copy then you can find it on our website here, along with other useful books on dressmaking. We still have some of the Tilly and the Buttons jersey in stock too, which you can find on our website here.
Catherine, as you might expect, spent the evening on the overlocker – she was the only one of us to actually get some sewing done! She is currently making several cushion covers, some for herself with the fabric and matching Seralene thread pictured below, as well as some for her son. She is cleverly making use of off-cuts from some curtains that she took up and as the pieces were only half the width she needed, she has combined two different fabrics so that one half of the cushion is plain and the other half is patterned. You would never know that they are made from fabric that might otherwise have been thrown away.
A quick note on Seralene. Catherine always uses Mettler Seralene thread for overlocking as it is lovely and smooth, causing less breakage and creating less fluff than cheaper threads, which means your seams are stronger and neater. We don't currently have Seralene thread on the website as I am still working on getting our whole catalogue of products online, but you can purchase it in store. If you aren't local to Nottingham, don't worry - we take telephone orders too!
Anna had a pencil in her hand all evening as she was planning out a new quilt. She likes to take inspiration from patterns she sees on her travels and she has found some beautiful tiles outside a shop on Chapel Bar in the city centre. As you can see in the photo, she is currently translating the tiling into quilting blocks, which takes quite a bit of planning but the outcome is worth it. She has already made a gorgeous quilt based on some tiling outside Primark on Long Row, so I’m sure her Chapel Bar quilt will be equally beautiful! It’s lovely to see how Nottingham influences her quilting – each quilt has its own story and history, as all good quilts do.
As always, I was the slowest and least productive member of the group. I have been working on some crewel embroidery kits from The Coleshill Collection that my sister asked me to make for her 40th birthday. Unfortunately, she turned 40 in 2018 so I’m a little behind schedule! I stitched out just one leaf, using satin stitch over a backstitch outline for the main part, blanket stitch for the top, while the bottom was composed of a stem stitch outline and filled with seed stitch. Given that it took me the whole evening to complete that, I think my sister will be lucky to receive her embroideries by her 50th birthday!
As you can see, we all love to sew but also have very different areas of interest and expertise. That’s why we love our staff sewing nights so much, it’s inspiring to actually see what everyone else is creating. It’s also the reason why we can usually find someone with the knowledge and experience to help when customers come to us with questions. I don’t know when we’ll next be able to meet up like this, but hopefully it won’t be another two years before we can have another stitch and chat!
The Ruby 90 sewing and embroidery machine is on offer from 1st October to 31st December 2021!
We have a great special offer on the Designer Ruby 90 starting today (1st October) for the rest of 2021 – when you purchase a new Ruby 90 you get the Ribbon Embroidery Attachment (worth £299) and the Multi Function Foot Control (worth £249) absolutely free. That’s £548 worth of savings! Read on to learn more about the Ruby 90 and these brilliant accessories.
Designer Ruby™ 90
The Designer Ruby 90 is the latest model of sewing and embroidery machine from Husqvarna Viking. It has a generous sewing and embroidery area, allowing you to handle even the largest projects with ease, while its large touch screen lets you easily navigate on-screen using touch gestures like swipe, pinch, and spread. It is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to wirelessly download updates, connect to the mySewnet Cloud to download designs as well as view the mySewnet blog for free designs, projects and inspiration – all of this from the tablet-like touch screen of the Ruby 90. With 800 built-in stitches and techniques and more than 650 built-in embroidery designs, the possibilities are endless!
The Exclusive Sensor System gives even feeding as you sew with continuous sensing and automatic adjusting for any fabric thickness, while the deLuxe™ Stitch System gives the perfect thread feed no matter the thread or the fabric used. The Designer Ruby 90 has so many great features that it would take a whole post of its own to cover them all but you can read all about it on our website here and, as always at Coles, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Why trade up to the Designer Ruby™ 90?
The great thing about the Ruby 90 is that it is compatible with all of the Epic accessories and attachments, so you can trade up from the Original Epic without having to replace any additional accessories you have purchased. The touch screen on the Ruby 90 is also brighter and easier to read, while the LED lights are adjustable. This lets you reduce the brightness to reduce glare when sewing white-on-white, or increase the brightness to better see your stitching when sewing dark-on dark. And don’t forget that the Ruby 90 comes with a full 5 year, no quibble warranty that gives you peace of mind.
Ribbon Embroidery Attachment
Adding ribbon to your embroidery has never been easier with the innovative Ribbon Embroidery Attachment. This amazing accessory accurately and easily places ribbon in any direction to create beautiful embroideries. It holds up to 25ft (8m) of ribbon and works with ribbon from 1/4” (6mm) to 5/8” (16mm), but it can work with ribbon as narrow as 1/8” (3mm). Plus, if you have the mySewnet software, you can stitch out one of the provided Ribbon SuperDesigns or even design your own ribbon embroideries.
Multi Function Foot Control
The Multi Function Foot Control frees up your hands by allowing you to select a function without taking your hands off your sewing project. It has three fully customisable function switches (two side levers and one heel touch button) that you can assign to your desired function, including presser foot lift, scissors, reverse, tie off and pattern begin/restart. With these functions taken care of hands-free, you have full control of your stitching with both hands from beginning to end.
Take advantage of this special offer
If you’re interested in the Designer Ruby 90 and would like to take advantage of this special offer then you can buy online here. If you would like a demonstration, you can arrange one at a time to suit you by calling the shop on (0115) 9881550. We offer interest free finance with just a 10% deposit (subject to approval by our finance partner Hitachi Capital) or better yet, trade in your old machine and use it as a deposit! Just give as a call to find out how much your old machine could be worth when you trade it in.
One of the biggest issues people have with their sewing machines seems to be tension. The tension is the amount of pressure placed on the upper and lower threads to form the stitch. There is an upper tension and a lower tension: one controlling the top thread and one controlling the bottom thread.
Before you adjust your tension
The first and simplest thing to do to correct a tension issue is to check the needle is okay – check it’s the correct thickness for the fabric (heavier fabrics require a thicker needle) and not bent or blunt.
Secondly, check and re-check the threading! Ensure the presser foot in its raised position when you thread the upper threading, as this opens up the upper tension discs that control the thread flow. The thread needs to go in between the discs, and through all the relevant thread guides. When threading the bobbin case, follow the direction of threading as per your manual, and ensure the thread goes under the tensioning spring (please check your manual for precise guidance on how to thread your machine).
No matter how experienced a sewer you are, it is surprisingly easy to mis-thread your machine so if you find a big bird’s nest of thread underneath your stitching then the chances are you have missed a critical part of the threading, so check, and check again!
If the tension is still not good, there may be fluff or a lump of thread under the bobbin case tension spring, or in between the thread tension discs. Work a used needle in between the upper discs and under the bobbin case spring, you may be amazed at what comes out!
Adjusting your tension
If the knot is showing below the fabric, then the upper tension needs increasing, (clockwise) e.g., from number 4 to number 5.
If the knot is showing on the top of the fabric, then decrease the upper tension (counter-clockwise) e.g., from number 4 to number 3.
Only adjust the upper tension, the lower (bobbin case tension) is factory set and should not be adjusted! Always keep a note of the original number setting to refer back to – it can be helpful to take a quick photo of your current settings before you make any changes.
If the fabric is puckering, change the needle for a finer (new needle) and use a good quality thread. If there is still a slight pucker, then decrease the upper tension (anti-clockwise) by half a number at a time until it looks okay.
So if you find yourself with tension issues, don’t panic – the majority of problems can be solved by following these steps!
After an 18 month wait, the H-Class E10 and E20 are finally back in stock! These mechanical sewing machines from Husqvarna Viking are the perfect machines for beginners and are also very portable, making them ideal to transport to classes or sewing groups. To celebrate having these popular machines back in the shop we have some great offers on, so read on to learn why one of these fantastic machines could be the sewing machine for you!
The H-Class E20 has a few more features than the E10 but at 6.5kg it is still a lightweight machine. The stitch width is adjustable with a simple dial and it includes more stitches, incuding a simple one-step buttonhole. The feed dog can be lowered with the flick of a lever for free motion stitching, darning and sewing on buttons. It comes with a few more accessories than the E10 as well, including a blind hem foot, a darning foot and a quilting foot. Along with all those extras, when you buy from us the E20 also comes with a free Prym Starter Set worth £41.50, which includes all the basic equipment any sewer needs in their kit. That’s an awful lot more features and accessories for only £50 more!
Both the E10 and the E20 are simple and reliable machines, and with the deals we currently have on offer, either machine would make the perfect present. And if that wasn’t enough, until 31st October 2021, Husqvarna Viking are offering a free, limited edition Selkie Patterns paper pattern with new machine purchases (250 available, see our blog post for more details).
If you’re looking for a basic mechanical machine then you can’t get much better than the H-Class range. Being from Husqvarna Viking you know they are a quality you can trust, but if you do have any issues then they also come with a no quibble 2 year warranty that includes both parts and labour. Don’t forget, Coles Sewing Centre is a national service and warranty repair centre for Husqvarna Viking machines, so we can look after you for the whole life of your machine.
We often see machines in our workshop that people bought because they wanted something cheap and simple but when they break down it’s clear that they’re a false economy. Remember, if you don’t recognise the brand then it’s likely to be difficult or even impossible to find replacement parts.
The E10 and E20 are very reliable machines – despite their popularity we hardly see them in the workshop for anything other than their annual service. Even so, it’s good to know how to take good care of your sewing machine, so if you’re interested in these machines or if you have one already, keep an eye out for our upcoming post on maintaining a basic sewing machine – it’ll be full of tips on how to keep your machine running smoothly.
You can see more about the E10 on our website here, or if you’re looking for a few more features then you can find more about the E20 here. If you have any questions, just comment below or give us a call on 0115 9881550 and our team will be happy to help!
Husqvarna Viking have been working with pattern company Selkie Patterns to produce a brand new printed pattern! This limited edition pattern is available from September 20th – October 31st 2021 to customers who purchase any Husqvarna Viking machine. There are only 250 copies available and the printed pattern is not available anywhere else, so it’s sure to be snapped up fast!
About the pattern Selkie Patterns create stylish and sustainable sewing patterns and textiles designed and produced in the UK. The Celeste dress and blouse was inspired by the glittering revival of the art deco movement in the 1970s. With its clean, wearable yet dramatic silhouettes this movement was at the forefront when creating this wearable pattern. The Celeste is there for you when you want to have an elevated look but with the ease and comfort of a smock dress. The glamour of the 20s with the ease of the 70s, what’s not to love!
Sizing: the printed pattern will be available in sizes UK 6-32, with the following measurements: Bust: 79-150cm (31-59 inch) Waist: 58-129cm (22.75-51 inch) Hip: 86-157 cm cm (33.75-62 inch) Sizes 6-16 have been drafted with a B-cup; 18-32 with a D-cup.
All you need to do to be in with a chance of receiving this gorgeous paper pattern is purchase any new Husqvarna Viking machine between Monday 20th September and Sunday 31st October 2021 – you can see the range on our website. Patterns will be sent to lucky customers directly from Husqvarna Viking UK.
PLUS share your make on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #SELKIECELESTE by November 30th 2021 to be in with a chance of winning a Designer Sapphire 85 Sewing and Embroidery machine worth over £5000!
T’s & C’s: UK machine purchases only via a registered Husqvarna Viking dealer. Printed copy available in UK size range 6-32 with the size range measuring from 79/58/86 cm (31/22.75/33.75 inches) to 150/129/157 cm (59/51/62 inches) for bust-waist-hip body measurements. Share your make, #SELKIECELESTE, only open to UK residents.
We’ve had an exciting delivery this week – four bolts of jersey with fabulous festive prints. First we have two cotton jerseys (95% cotton, 5% elastane) with a cute reindeer print, with a red and Christmas green colourway and a navy and Christmas red colourway. These would be great for children’s pyjamas – if you put together a Christmas Eve box for your children then some pyjamas made from this jersey would be the perfect addition!
The second pair of cotton jerseys (92% cotton, 8% elastane) are extremely cosy – their reverse is brushed, giving them a soft, snug feel. The prints of reindeer and Christmas trees and presents in a red, green and white colour scheme is extremely festive, especially as they have the appearance of intarsia knitting. They are a slightly heavier weight than the reindeer jerseys, so they could be worn as a Christmas day dress or as extremely cosy pyjamas for Christmas morning, although you might find you don’t want to change out of them!
A few years ago my friend was planning a naming day for her daughter Jessica and I offered to make a special dress for the day. As I was gathering everything I needed together I was chatting with Deborah about how I was a little anxious about putting in the zip as they always seem to shift no matter how carefully I tack them in. That’s when she recommended Prym Wonder Tape to me. It’s a transparent double sided tape that you can use instead of pins to hold your sewing in place, then when you wash your finished garment it simply washes away without a trace. Magic!
Zips are one of those tasks that I always spend far longer than I should on, pinning and re-pinning, then tacking, then still somehow it doesn’t sit quite right. You can see in the video above how easy Wonder Tape makes it – just place your tape on the zip, position and stick one side at a time, then you’re ready to go. And it isn’t just useful for holding zips in place – why spend ages pinning a hem before you stitch it when you can just stick and sew? I also used it to hold the bodice facing in place for Jessica’s dress, saving me from pinning through all the gathers and potentially disturbing them.
Since that first time four years ago, I’ve used Wonder Tape in almost everything that I have sewn and that first roll is still going strong. It’s so simple and really does take the stress out of pinning awkward or thick pieces. Wonder Tape is one those products that it’s always worth having to hand, so grab yourself a roll next time you’re in the shop or buy it online here.