Haberdashery · New in · Sewing

Gutermann Maraflex – a game changer for stretch sewing

Gutermann have recently released Maraflex, an elastic thread with high stretch that gives amazing results. So what’s special about Maraflex and why should you use it?

Ordinarily, when you sew a garment with a stretchy fabric then you need to either use an overlocker or an overlock stitch on your sewing machine. Either way, you will use some form of zigzag stitch to allow your fabric to stretch. If you were to use a straight stitch with a sew-all thread on a stretch fabric then your thread would most likely snap when the fabric was stretched. Maraflex lets you sew with a straight stitch on a stretch fabric and will stretch right along with it, up to 80% on top of its original length!

The amount of stretch you can get from a straight stitch sewn with Maraflex is incredible!

Maraflex can be used for any number of applications, but is particularly useful for sewing with jersey, activewear, swimwear and underwear. With 80 colours to choose from, there is a shade for every project!

Our new thread stand with the whole Maraflex colour range

Benefits to sewing with Maraflex

  • You don’t need to use an overlocker. Not all of us are lucky enough to have an overlocker as well as a sewing machine! And even if you do have one, it can be a hassle to have to keep swapping machines depending on the type of sewing you are doing. With Maraflex then you can stitch your stretch fabric on an ordinary sewing machine with a straightforward straight stitch.
  • You use less thread. Maraflex lets you optimise your thread consmption – sewing with a straight stitch instead of a zigzag stitch uses far less thread.
  • Stretches along with necklines and cuffs. Small openings such as necks and cuffs have more give when sewn with Maraflex.
  • Helps make your seams pucker-free. The elasticity of Maraflex gives beautifully smooth seams, preventing unsightly puckering.
  • Easy to care for. You can wash at 60°C, use a hot iron, tumble dry, dry clean (any solvent except trichloroethylene) and use chorine/oxygen bleach – Maraflex can take it all.

Tips for sewing with Maraflex

  • Use a jersey/ballpoint or stretch needle in size 70-80. The correct needle is always important, whatever you are sewing. A jersey/ballpoint needle has a rounded end to prevent fibre breakage, while a stretch needle also has a special eye that helps to prevent skipped stitches, and is especially useful for very high stretch fabrics.
  • Works best with knits and stretch fabrics. Gutermann recommend that you use Maraflex with light to medium-weight knit fabrics such as jersey, or light to medium-weight elastic woven fabrics, such as fabrics that contain elastane.
  • Use as both needle and bobbin thread. For best results you should sew with as little thread tension as possible and use the Maraflex as both your top and bottom threads. You will get optimal seam elasticity with 4 stitches per centimetre.
Optimal seam elasticity is achieved with 4 stitches per centimetre

Where can you get Maraflex?

We have a brand new thread stand in the shop with every available shade of Maraflex – you will find it above the Gutermann Sew-All threads. Of course, you can also order the whole range online by clicking here. A reel is 150m long and costs £3.40, although of course Red Thread customers will get 10% off when shopping in store!

What is Red Thread? Customers who join our Red Thread Club receive a 10% discount on a huge number of items when shopping in store, including threads! It costs nothing to join - simply provide your contact details and your discount will automatically be applied to eligible items when you shop in store (does not apply online). Eligible items include threads, fabric, haberdashery, quilting and embroidery accessories, stabilisers and sewing notions, as well as the majority of Husqvarna Viking feet and accessories (exclusions apply). The savings can be huge!

Rose has already given Maraflex a try and she says that it is ever so easy to use and sews beautifully. She used it to shorten a stretch skirt and the stitches stretched perfectly along with the fabric, without snapping. I have recently bought some of our leaf print ponte roma that I plan to make a Tilly & the Buttons Coco dress from and I will definitely be getting some Maraflex to stitch it with. You can expect an update from me in 2022 letting you know how I get on!

Fabric · Inspiration · New in

Our winter fabrics have arrived!

With various lockdowns in place during last year we were unable to have a big delivery of winter fabrics. Well this year we are making up for it and our shelves are full, we hope there’s something for everyone!
Our shelves are full of new fabrics!

The majority of our fabrics are 140cm or 150cm wide and can all be purchased in 10cm increments, so there’s no wastage. Although all our fabrics can be purchased online there’s nothing quite like touching a piece of fabric so we do hope you can pop in to the shop and don’t forget if you are on our mailing list you’ll get 10% off in store – if you are not then you can sign up when you come in! So what have we got on the shelves this winter?

Rayons and viscose ditsy prints are popular this winter for tiered, ruffled or button through dresses in various lengths, mini, midi or maxi! If trousers or skirts are on your list of makes then we have a range of woven or cord fabrics in plain and prints just waiting for you. If you are a Tilly and the Buttons fan then the cords are great for the Cleo dungaree dress.

There’s nothing more comfortable than wearing a jersey dress or top and if you’re nervous about sewing stretch fabrics there’s no need to be, they are easier than you think. We have some great jersey prints and top of my list of makes will be the Tilly and the Buttons’ Coco, so easy to sew and so easy to wear!  

If you’re after something a bit thicker and a bit warmer then look no further than our soft sweatshirting or French terry, which are ideal for jumpers, tunics and even dresses – these bring to mind Tilly and the Buttons’ Stevie pattern! If you are sewing for children we’ve added some French Terry children’s prints to our range, they are very cute and would be great to use with the Poppy & Jazz Strawberry sweatshirt pattern.

What better than a long sleeve T-shirt when layering up in the winter, or short sleeved if you’re chasing some winter sun. Our 95% cotton T-shirting comes in plains and stripes ideal for everyone whether they are 8 or 88. If you have a little one to sew for then take a look at the Poppy & Jazz Elm T-Shirt pattern!

We have a range of Ponte Romas, a fairly new fabric on the market but very popular because it’s a bit heavier than the general stretch fabrics that area vailable and it doesn’t cling in all the wrong places!

You may be asking what is Ponte Roma? It’s sometimes known as Ponte di Roma or Punto di Roma, it is a double knit fabric that was first developed in Italy. A double knit fabric is essentially two layers of fabric knitted together with two sets of needles.

And last but not least are our fleeces, so soft and cuddly, we’ve even got a Christmassy one with reindeer on!  I love backing quilts or cushions with fleece because it makes them so cosy!    

I’m sure by the time you’ve finished reading this you’ve got a list of things you want to make –  there’s nothing quite like sewing on a winter’s evening, and you’ll get a new wardrobe to boot!

Happy Sewing!

Husqvarna Viking · New in · Offers · Sewing Machines

Back in stock: the H|Class E10 and E20

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 E10 is a perfect starter machine. It is a simple, easy to use machine with straightforward threading and a built in needle threader, and weighing in at only 5.7kg it is the lightest sewing machine we have on offer. It comes with all the basic accessories and stitches you need to get started with garment making and crafts, plus right now when you buy an E10 from us, you will receive a pair of Fiskars dressmakers’ shears worth £25.99 for free.

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!

Christmas · Fabric · New in

New in this week – Christmas jerseys for festive outfits

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!

You can find the new Christmas jerseys on our website here, along with our other patterned jerseys. We have patterns for pyjamas for all of the family here, or why not make a dress with a the Coco pattern from Tilly and the Buttons? I can’t think of a comfier or cosier outfit for Christmas day! Whatever you choose to make, send me your pictures to ellie@colessewingcentre.co.uk so we can show off your amazing creations!

Accessories and feet · New in · quilting · Sewing

New and improved – the Adjustable Clear Quarter Inch Piecing Foot

The Husqvarna Viking Clear Adjustable Quarter Inch Piecing Foot

The Clear 1/4 Inch Piecing Foot and the Clear 1/4 Inch Piecing Foot With Guide have had a makeover! Husqvarna Viking have made these essential feet adjustable – meaning that the needle hole in the foot is now oval shaped, allowing you to adjust the needle position. This is great news for those of you who want a bit more flexibility and accuracy with your Clear 1/4 Inch Piecing Foot. If you’re not sure what these feet are and what they do, then read on!

The Clear 1/4 Inch Piecing Foot is used for piecing during quilting, as well as appliqué and topstitching. As it is clear, you can easily see your fabric through the foot, while the red lines help you to line up your fabric at the start of your sewing, at corners, and at the end of your sewing. For extra accuracy you can use the Clear 1/4 Inch Piecing Foot with Guide, which has a metal guide that runs along the edge of your fabric, helping you to keep your distance perfectly exact.

The Husqvarna Viking Clear Adjustable Quarter Inch Piecing Foot with Guide

These new and improved feet will be arriving in store soon but you can place an order now and we will send one out to you as soon as it arrives in stock. You can see more about the Clear 1/4 Inch Piecing Foot here, and more about the Clear 1/4 Inch Piecing Foot With Guide here. If you have any questions about this hugely handy foot, then please comment below and one of our team will help!

Fabric · New in · Patchwork · quilting · Staff

What’s new at Coles?

Hi, my name is Ellie and I’m in charge of the Coles Sewing Centre website, although you might know me from the shop as I used to run the Mail Order department. These days I mainly work behind the scenes keeping the website up to date with all the latest products, and that’s a busy job because we have a lot of products! I will be posting with updates about the latest additions to the Coles catalogue, from newly arrived fabrics to the current courses and the latest Husqvarna Viking machines.

This week I will be talking patchwork and quilting fabrics, as we have just had a delivery of some real beauties! We have a new collection called “Hand Stitched” that was designed by Karen Lewis Textiles for Figo Fabrics – this a lovely range that draws inspiration from hand sewing and the natural world. As you can see from the pictures below, “Stitches” brings to mind sashiko embroidery, while “Tossed Leaves” and “Plants” have a simple and elegant foliage-based design.

“Hexies” is my personal favourite from this collection, although I can’t decide how I would like to use it – I’m about to try English Paper Piecing for the first time and it would make gorgeous hexagons, but wouldn’t it make a lovely needle case too? Of course I could always combine the two…

Our other new addition this week is some Christmas fabric – with only three and a half months until Christmas then now is the time to get started on your Christmas makes! We have four new fabrics from the “Traditional” collection by The Craft Cotton Company, which include traditional Christmas plants such as holly, poinsettia and mistletoe, with festive metallic highlights.

We now have all of our fabrics online, so you can buy the Hand Stitched collection on the Coles Sewing Centre Website here, while you can find the Traditional Christmas Collection here. If you prefer to choose your fabrics in person then why not come and visit us at our Nottingham shop? We are once again open 9:15am to 5:00pm, Monday to Saturday. Come and say hello!