Classes

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! 

Classes · Embroidery · software

Embroidery software classes – taking your embroidery to the next level

Using embroidery software can be a confusing experience, especially for those with limited computer knowledge. The features are always evolving, and while it is exciting to be able to do amazing things with your embroidery machine (that can give professional-looking results), it can be difficult to take full advantage of everything the software has to offer without a little help. But don’t worry, that’s what our embroidery software classes are for!

As the Coles Sewing Centre embroidery software expert and tutor, I have been teaching software classes since 2016. In that time, I have worked with all the latest Husqvarna Viking software packages, from 6D and Premier+ through to Premier+2 and the new mySewnet Embroidery 2021. In my classes you will be made to feel relaxed and excited to be using the software. We go at your speed and level of experience to help improve your skills and expand your creative horizons.  

So what happens during a software class and how can it help you to take your embroidery to the next level? Let’s take a look at one of my upcoming software classes, the Sew Happy Software & Stitch workshop, so you can see what our software classes have to offer.

As you walk into the classroom the first thing you will see, other than a smiling tutor (that’s me), will be a table with samples for inspiration to get you excited for the day ahead. These will show you examples of how you can modify the same elements of my Sew Happy design to give different outcomes that can be turned into so many things, like a pennant wall hanging, a tote bag, or a cushion. Have a look at the images below to see how just altering the colours can transform a design.

When you arrive, you pick a table, set up your computer and open the software ready to start the workshop. We have a projector screen set up so that students can clearly see what I have on my computer screen as I give my demonstrations. Each aspect is demonstrated separately, with time afterwards for you to have a go at adapting a design yourself with the aid of a handout worksheet. We provide plenty of breaks to let the information settle in, as well as time for lunch.

For the Sew Happy workshop we explore the different methods of individualisation that you saw in the samples at the start.  I give you hints and tips of how to use the software to its full capacity, as well as things to look out for to make it easier to create and customise your embroidery.

When the demonstration part of the day is over, we move on to stitching out your compositions. This is a fantastic opportunity to put knowledge into practice, letting you see the results for yourself. I am available for you to ask me questions as challenges arise, so I can help you then and there to improve your embroideries and to grow more confident to go home and create by yourself. When you leave you will know how to select Fonts and SuperDesigns, adjust the size and orientation of individual elements as well as the design as a whole, how to place elements to give the shape and effect you are looking for, and even more.

I like to make my software workshops enjoyable and as easy to understand as possible. There are often smiles and laughter as the lightbulb moments happen and it all becomes easier. I love sharing my knowledge of the software openly and watching my students grow and improve. I don’t want students to ever feel silly for not knowing something – we all start out as beginners! For all software owners, experimenting and playing with your software is always the key to making creating and learning an enjoyable process.

The Sew Happy Software & Stitch Workshop is on Tuesday 21st June 2022 and you can click here to book your place. Places are limited but don’t worry if it’s fully booked, as we run regular software workshops on all aspects of the embroidery software. I will be running another Software & Stitch workshop on Wednesday 10th August called Floral Encore, which will teach you how to use the line floral SuperDesigns to create stunning Encore embroideries.

A Floral Encore SuperDesign

I will also be teaching a Zoom class next week (Thursday 26th May 2022), Spiro Wizard Inspiration, where you will learn how to use the sliders and functions within the Spiro Wizard to create your own designs. As always, I will show you samples for inspiration and how to avoid common mistakes. And because it is a Zoom class, you can take it in the comfort of your own home, plus you will receive a pdf copy of the notes that you can refer to again and again.

I hope that this gives you an idea of what a software workshop at Coles involves and just how much you can learn with us. You can click here to browse and book our upcoming software classes – we add more classes periodically, so it is worth checking regularly to see what we have on offer.

If you’re interested in trying the latest software, mySewnet Embroidery 2021, you can view more about it on our website here. You can also read my previous post, 10 Reasons why I love mySewnet Embroidery 2021, to learn more about why it’s worth taking the plunge!

If you have any questions about our software workshops then comment below, or email me at info@colessewingcentre.co.uk. We also really enjoy show and tell at Coles and we love to see the projects you have been creating, so please do send us images of your latest creations so we can showcase them in the Customer Makes Gallery here on our blog – you may inspire someone else to make something just as amazing!