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
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.


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!

Fabric · Patchwork · quilting · Sewing

Win Liberty prizes in our Liberty competition!

We have some fantastic prizes on offer in our Liberty competition! All you need to do to enter is purchase Liberty fabrics – every metre purchased counts as one entry so the more you buy, the more chances you have of winning!

The name of Liberty conjures an image of gorgeous florals and subtle designs that are inspired by nature and history, and with good reason. Liberty London is one of the world’s most iconic fabric manufacturers and has been at the cutting edge of design for over 145 years, producing exquisite fabrics with timeless appeal. The Liberty name is synonymous with quality and elegance – with beautiful prints on high quality cotton, Liberty fabrics make the perfect addition to any quilter’s stash!

Liberty collections at Coles

We currently have three Liberty collections available both in store and online: Flower Show Sunrise, Wiltshire Shadow and A Woodland Christmas.

Flower Show Sunrise brings together botanical designs from across Liberty’s iconic print archive. Drawing inspiration from the glory and tradition of classic British flower shows, the collection features diverse flower forms united in a cacophony of colour, illustrating Liberty’s rich heritage of floral design.

Wiltshire Shadow is the the perfect fabric blender and its muted leaf and berry print is designed to coordinate against other layouts from Liberty’s vast archive of prints for a seamless mix-and-match effect.

A Woodland Christmas transports us to a magical winter wonderland of prancing reindeers and glittering stars. Charming scenes unfold within an enchanted forest where snowflakes fall around a Christmas cottage, and brightly coloured baubles hidden among the evergreen firs complement traditional designs of holly and berries.

How do I enter the competition?

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!

First prize

The first prize winner will receive eight assorted Liberty fat quarters, a Gutermann Sew-All 30 spool thread set, two packs of machine quilting needles and a copy of Quilting with Liberty Fabrics by Jenni Smith. This beautiful hardback book comes in a slipcase to protect it and contains 15 quilting projects as well as a complete fabric design history of Liberty and a full colour reference index for every fabric used. It features beautiful details of the classic fabric designs produced over the years and each quilt will inspire readers to finally cut into those precious bits of fabric and begin enjoying them in pieced projects of their very own. 

Second prize

The second prize winner will receive 10 asorted Liberty fat quarters, an 18 spool Mettler Seralon thread set and two packs of machine quilting needles.

Third Prize

The third prize winner will receive six assorted Liberty fat quarters, an 8 spool Mettler Silk Finish Cotton thread set and two pack of machine quilting needles.

The competition will run from Monday 1st August 2022 to Saturday 1st October 2022 and all qualifying purchases within this time will be entered. The winner will be drawn at random, live on our Facebook page – join us at 2pm on Tuesday 4th October 2022 to see if you are one of the lucky winners! Please note, international customers can enter but prizes will only be shipped to a UK address.

You can shop our collection of Liberty fabrics online here – why not get a head start on your Christmas makes with the brand new A Woodland Christmas collection? This offer is only available while stocks last so make sure you don’t leave it too late!

Classes · Embroidery · Sewing · Staff

Goodbye to Lorna and welcome to our new tutors!

We’re all a little sad at Coles this week, as we have had to say goodbye to our Garment Making tutor Lorna Keeling. Lorna is retiring after 20 years, and we had a little goodbye party last Friday to wave her off. In her two decades with Coles Lorna has taught countless students, many of whom came to her as complete beginners and have gone on to work in the fashion industry all over the world. Lorna’s classes were always in high demand because of her expert knowledge of garment making, as well as the clear and practical way she communicated it. Her passion for sharing her knowledge ignited a love of garment making in everyone she taught, and we are all very sorry to see her go. We hope she enjoys her retirement, but we’ll all miss her!

As we say goodbye to Lorna, we have some new tutors to introduce who have their own expert knowledge to share. Our own Catherine Crew, who you may already know from the shop floor or her excellent overlocker classes, will be taking a weekly Garment Making class on Wednesday mornings. We have Lorna to thank for having Catherine here, as she first came to Coles to attend one of Lorna’s dressmaking classes! Since then, Catherine joined the Coles team and has become an expert in overlocking as well as garment making.

You may not know that Catherine passed her Level 3 in both Pattern Cutting and Tailoring with distinction, and she is now working towards her Level 4 in Tailoring. She brings this expertise to her new classes, as well as her in-depth knowledge of all the latest sewing products from working in the shop. She is so excited to teach Garment Making in addition to her popular overlocker classes! She is looking forward to spending more time with other creative people and helping them to see their projects through to fruition. Catherine will be taking a four-week summer class on Thursday mornings beginning on 28th July, before moving to a regular weekly Wednesday slot in September.

Catherine Crew

Our next new tutor is also a familiar face – we are welcoming back Jayne Childs, who will be teaching some fantastic embroidery workshops in the coming months. Some of you may remember Jayne, as she worked for us (when we were Husqvarna Studio) for several years before moving on to be sales manager at Husqvarna Viking UK. Jayne makes embroidered lace, designed by hand and created using Husqvarna Viking computer software and embroidery machines. She uses text within her lace to weave stories and tell tales inspired by her research into lace and social history.

For the past twelve years Jayne has been making and selling a range of lace fashion and home accessories, under her brand name of JC Middlebrook. She recently became a UK brand ambassador for Husqvarna Viking mySewnet software, and she also works part time at Nottingham Trent University as a Research Assistant for the Lace Archive, as well as teaching on the Fashion BA course.

Jayne is looking forward to sharing her software and embroidery knowledge with you in her workshops. All three of her upcoming workshops are based around designs that Jayne has created especially for the classes, which are inspired by Nottingham’s lacemaking history. In her Paper Embroidery Workshop she provides vintage papers for you to embroider on and create some unique art. Her Embroidered Lantern Workshop and Embroidered Lampshade Workshop will lead you through the creation of some beautiful homewares, once again inspired by vintage Nottingham lace designs.

Jayne Childs

Our final new addition is completely new to Coles. Emma Smith has been a freelance tutor for various venues across Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire since 2019. She is a prolific dressmaker for her own personal projects and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others discover the joy of sewing and develop their own skills and experiences. Emma originally completed a fashion and textiles degree and, having spent many years in the UK manufacturing industry, she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team.

Emma has some amazing things planned for her classes with Coles. Coming up, she has an Introduction to Patchwork and Quilting class for people completely new to the hobby, as well as two-day and three-day workshops helping you through trouser-making and jeans-making. These are two of the more challenging garments to sew, and her workshops promise to be extremely informative.

Emma Smith

You can find all of our upcoming classes online here and you can book online or by calling the shop on 0115 9881550. As you may already know, our classes are very popular so we do recommend early booking to avoid being disappointed. We hope to see you in one of our classes soon!

Patterns · Prym · Sewing

Do you cut or trace your patterns?

I’ve been sewing my own clothes since I first made my school uniform skirt 25 years ago. It was only when I stated working at Coles five years ago that I discovered that a lot of people trace their patterns out rather than cut them directly from the pattern pieces. At first I thought it wasn’t worth the bother but since then I’ve changed my mind, so read on to learn why it’s worthwhile to trace out your patterns instead of cutting them.

Why is it useful to trace off a pattern?

Making the same pattern in a different size

You might like to make clothes for other people as well as yourself, but that becomes difficult if you are different sizes and you have already directly cut out the pattern pieces. Similarly, if you have made something that you love that no longer fits you correctly then you can trace off the pattern again in your new size and make it again! Tracing off your pattern gives you the opportunity to make it in as many sizes as you like.

Multiple pattern pieces on the same sheet

Some pattern companies print multiple pattern pieces on the same sheet, so if you cut one out you destroy the rest! Unless you are happy to buy the same pattern several times over, then you need to trace off the pieces you need.

Patterns that come in books often have overlapping pieces – tracing them off preserves all of the pieces and helps to prevent mistakes

Same piece for multiple views

If the same pattern piece is used for different views then it is worth tracing it off, that way you can adjust the piece if necessary and not worry that it won’t be usable if you make a different view at a later date. Plus you can keep all of the pieces for the same view together, which, if you are anything like me, makes organising your patterns much easier!

Adjusting pattern pieces

If you are an adventurous stitcher then you might like to adjust your pattern pieces to fit differently or to make best use of limited fabric. While you can fold, cut or pin your pattern pieces directly, its much simpler to adjust and re-adjust as you trace it off until you get it perfect.

Patterns printed on thick paper

A lot of the independent pattern companies print their patterns on lovely, thick, quality paper, which is great for making them last but isn’t well suited to being used directly to make your garment. Similarly, if you have downloaded a pdf pattern and printed it off at home then you are faced with creating an A4 pattern jigsaw with sellotape. It’s a lot easier to work with thin pattern paper, so trace the pattern off and the problem is solved!

Tilly and the Buttons patterns come on beautiful strong paper and they recommend tracing off your pieces

How do you trace off a pattern?

Pattern paper

I like to save any unprinted sections of pattern paper from printed patterns, but unless you have a large stash of blank pattern paper then you are likely to need to buy some. Burda Tissue Paper is easy to store and transport as it comes folded – simply lay it over your pattern piece and trace with a pencil. You might like to iron it first to remove any creases.

I should have ironed this paper first – it doesn’t lie flat!

Prym pattern paper comes in two versions: blank and gridded. It comes on a roll so you don’t need to worry about crease marks and gridded paper is ideal if you want to enlarge or adjust your pattern. We only sell this paper in-store so come and see us if you’re interested in this useful pattern paper!

Pattern weights

You’re going to need to hold everything in place to make sure it doesn’t shift while you’re copying your pattern. You can use anything heavy for this but pattern weights are the ideal tool as they prevent shifting without leaving marks. Prym have a cute series of orange, kiwi and melon-shaped weights that double as pincushions, as well as set of four mini weights in either pink or blue. Simplicity Vintage’s pattern weights are flat and wide, so are less likely to be accidentally shifted or knocked.

Tranferring your pattern

Once you’ve laid your paper over your pattern piece and held it in place, you can simply trace it off using a pencil (and easily rub out any mistakes). An alternative to the pencil and paper method is to use carbon paper and a tracing wheel. Place the carbon paper between the pattern piece and your blank paper; once you have the hang of it then this can be a lot faster than tracing with a pencil. Some people even transfer the pattern directly onto their fabric! Using carbon paper is particularly useful if you struggle to see the pattern piece through the pattern paper when tracing – the pattern piece is uppermost and so can be seen clearly. You can also transfer different line styles dependent on your wheel – a smooth wheel will transfer smooth lines while a toothed wheel will give a dotted line.


  • It’s a good idea to use a pencil so that you can rub out any mistakes, but did you know that Pilot Frixion Ball Pens come in a variety of colours and can also be rubbed out? Be careful if you choose to use Frixion pens though, if you iron your pattern piece you will lose all of your markings!
  • If you’d rather stick with a pencil but would still like to colour code your pattern pieces, then the Prym Cartridge Pencil has a set of refills in yellow, pink and grey
  • Don’t forget to transfer any markings such as notches – they’re easy to overlook but you will definitely miss them if they’re not there! The Prym Aqua Trickmarker is perfect for transferring markings to your fabric, as the ink disappears with a dab of water
  • Make sure you label your pattern pieces with the pattern name (and number if it has one), the piece name/number and the size you have copied
  • Rather than try to cram everything back into your pattern envelope, use a transparent press-seal bag to keep your pieces together – don’t forget to label this too so you can easily find your pattern pieces again in the future!

Now that I know the benefits, I always trace my pattern pieces off but ultimately it’s a matter of personal preference. Let us know in the comments if you like to trace, use carbon paper or cut directly!

Fabric · New in · Offers · Prym

What’s new at Coles this March: MASSIVE FABRIC DROP!

Get ready for the massive March fabric drop! We’ve had some fantastic new fabrics arrive at Coles Sewing Centre this March, including lovely lightweight dressmaking fabrics so you can get started on your summer wardrobe, several brand new quilting collections (including some absolutely gorgeous Liberty fabrics) and a new craft fabric that you can draw on with chalk like a chalkboard! We’ve also got a couple of special offers that you don’t want to miss, so let’s have a look at what’s new at Coles this March.

Chalk Cloth

Chalk cloth, also known as chalkboard fabric, can be written or drawn on with chalks and when you want a change then simply wipe clean with a damp cloth and you can write on it again and again! Use it for a tablecloth that the kids can draw on, make a doodle book to keep children entertained at restaurants, or why not make placemats that you can personalise for every meal?

Dressmaking fabrics

Spring is finally here and so are our latest fabrics for your Spring/Summer 2022 wardrobe. We have several new denims, with patterned chambrays for dresses and shirts, as well as denims for jackets, jeans or dungarees. Our blue denim with gold embroidery would make a stunning jacket to go over a summer dress, while our new black denim is a bit heavier in weight and has a touch of elastane for extra comfort.

If you’re looking for something light and floaty that you can use to make a summery top, a beach coverup or a light summer wrap then look no further than our new cotton lawn and viscose fabrics.

To make these new dressmaking fabrics even more irresistible, Simplicity patterns are all on sale between 11th and 27th March with 50% off – now really is the perfect time to get started on your summer wardrobe! We have even more dressmaking fabrics due in over the next few weeks, so keep your eye on the website for more exciting updates!

Quilting fabrics

This month’s quilting fabrics are absolute beauties. We have Playtime and Roar from Dashwood Studio – perfect for children and dinosaur lovers alike!

We also have a new selection of Classic Tone on Tone fabrics, which are great to use as blenders in your quilting. They also make great fillers to make your designs pop, as they have a little more to them than a plain but won’t overwhelm your focal fabrics. They’re a little hard to see clearly online so I would recommend viewing them on the Coles website, where there are a selection of images that you can click to enlarge – they’re really lovely so it’s definitely worth a look!

Tonal Vineyard is subtly patterned with traditional vine designs for a sophisticated vintage look. It is an extra wide fabric, giving you a whopping 274cm (108″) to back your quilt. Extra wide fabrics like this are also great to use as a border fabric as you can cut long strips without needing to piece. Of course, these are beautiful enough that you could use them in your main design!

Originally designed for Liberty Fabrics in 1933, their Wiltshire print has been reimagined into a two-colour shadow silhouette to become the perfect fabric blender. The muted leaf and berry print of Wiltshire Shadow is designed to coordinate against other layouts from Liberty’s vast archive of prints for a seamless mix-and-match effect.

We have one final collection from Liberty and it’s just gorgeous: Flower Show Sunrise. There are 15 fabrics that would look amazing in any quilt but this collection is so much more than quilting fabric!

These fabrics would look fantastic as a dress for a little girl or a summery top for you, but you can also use them to pick out details in a garment – use them inside pockets for a flash of colour, make some bias binding with the Prym Bias Binding Maker (available in 6mm, 12mm and 25mm sizes) and use it to edge a neckline or hem, or make more of a feature of it with a collar or patch pockets!

If you’re looking for a present for the quilter in your life then you really can’t go wrong with some Liberty fat quarters but we also have a new product that anyone would be delighted to receive – the Prym Patchwork & Quilting Starter Set. Ideal for taking to classes, this set is also perfect for beginners and includes a folding cutting mat, rotary cutter, quilitng ruler, quilting pins, quilting needles, stitch ripper and trick marker. This set is normally £72.00 but you can get it from Coles for £59.99 until midnight on Friday 25th March – that’s a saving of more than 15%!

There are some really fantastic new fabrics this month but you just can’t beat those new Liberties, such beautiful prints on great quality fabric that is a joy to sew. And with those great offers on the Prym Patchwork & Quilting Starter Set and Simplicity patterns, it’s going to be hard to resist getting a little something for myself! Don’t forget, we have even more dressmaking fabrics coming in over the next few weeks – I can’t wait to show you what’s new next month!