Our Staff

Our staff are here to help. If you need some assistance, why not email us with your problem? We have experts in all fields! Scroll down to learn more about us, or watch the video below to learn more about how apprenticeships have helped our business, in partnership with Nottingham College.



Neil Coles

Neil has been around the sewing trade since 1976, joining his father's business in Leicester, and is an expert on technical issues for all makes and model of sewing machine. He is the 'CEO' of the business, and as well as taking care of the technical side on sewing and software, acts as Managing and Financial Director of the business. He also looks after the Education customers, providing support in the field to schools, universities and colleges all over the East Midlands. He helps out in the shop as well, so you will often see him around. Neil says "being in the trade for so many years, I have seen many a thing come and go, but still love the challenge of keeping up with new hi-tech products and keeping our customers happy."

Rosemary Coles

They say that behind every successful man there is a great woman, and this is certainly the case with Rosemary! As well as keeping her man fed and watered, she takes care of the day to day running of the shop and training centre, as well as writing the newsletters, course brochures and adverts. To relax she swims... and sews of course! She loves using her DESIGNER EPIC™ 2 ​​​​​​​and HUSKYLOCK™ s21 for projects and dressmaking, and of course for shortening her husband's trousers!​​​​​​​

Deborah Copley

Deborah has been with Coles since 2014 and balances a busy home life and part time working here. She loves sewing and (when she has the time!) she makes clothes for her kids, as well a home crafts. Deborah has a DESIGNER TOPAZ™ 40​​​​​​​, an H-Class 100Q and an S15™ Overlocker and she is thinking of adding an Opal 690Q to her collection!

Lee Bentley

Lee is our longest serving member of staff. He joined us in September 2009 as an apprentice sewing machine engineer and over the years has become an expert on sewing machines and overlockers, particularly the Husqvarna Viking models (both old and new!). He is now passing on his expertise to his own apprentice, George Farmer, and you if you're lucky you might see him out and about servicing machines.

Anna Mather

Anna joined Coles in 2012 and she has become our resident software expert, particularly mySewnet. She is a keen quilter and embroiderer and comes from a family of quilters. She teaches our embroidery software classes, so if you have any questions about software or computers then Anna will be able to help. Anna has a DESIGNER BRILLIANCE™ 80, a Designer Ruby and an S15 Overlocker, and now she's thinking of adding a cutting machine to her collection to link in with the software and cut applique pieces for her embroideries.

Catherine Crew

Catherine is the member of shop floor staff that has been with us the longest, so most of you will have come across her at some time. She is our overlocker expert and runs all our overlocker classes, teaching the basics for new owners as well as more advanced techniques for people who have be using their overlockers for longer. She also teaches dressmaking and tailoring classes can give advice on all aspects of garment construction. She owns an Epic 2, a Designer Ruby, a Sapphire 960Q and, of course, an S25 overlocker.

Jackie Shields

Jackie joined Coles in 2018 and she runs our Patchwork and Quilting department. She likes to spend her spare time walking the dog but when she's at home you'll probably find her in her sewing room with her Opal 690Q, S15 Overlocker and Juki Coverstitch machines. Jackie has been sewing for most of her life and she prefers to sew with jersey as it is so easy to fit - if you see her in the shop then ask her about what she's wearing because she probably made it herself! She has a new granddaughter, so she's currently enjoying making baby clothes - that should keep her busy as her granddaughter grows! 

Ellie Limback

Ellie arrived in 2017 as our goods in/out lady, so you may know her from sending out your orders or arranging the return of your machines. She has since moved to be in charge of the website and so these days she spends most of her time behind the scenes. Ellie loves all things sewing and is a keen hand stitcher and crocheter, as well of course as using an E20 for dressmaking and crafts.

George Farmer

George joined Coles in 2020 on placement as part of his Engineering Operative (Level 2) Apprenticeship. He is learning to service and repair machines with Lee and Neil in the Servicing department, and is already proficient with the Husqvarna Viking machines.

Gilli Theokritoff - Patchwork & Quilting

Gilli Theokritoff is an experienced quilter and teacher and has won awards for her contemporary quilts. She loves traditional piecing too and is keen to encourage new quilters with her lively and engaging classes. Gilli started her career as a shoe designer, moved into knitwear, designing for exclusive London stores and later for yarn companies such as Rowan. Eventually she discovered her true passion, patchwork, while bringing up her children (they are very handy with a sewing machine too!). She now teaches around the country and occasionally exhibits her work.

Kathleen Laurel Sage - Textile Artist

Kathleen Laurel Sage Kathleen is a freelance textile artist, designer and enthusiastic embroiderer. Her work ranges from conventional items through relief to exciting three dimensional pieces. Kathleen produces a wide range of embroidered structures which include floral vases and fashion accessories in the form of bags and unique jewellery.

Jill Dean - Soft Furnishings

Jill has been teaching at Husqvarna Studio for over 7 years. Initially on behalf of People's College, but exclusively for the Studio for the last 2 years. Jill enjoys making all kinds of items for the home including creative stitching. She teaches students of all abilities, whether just learning to measure up for a curtain to complex swags and tails!

Tracy Corns - Garment Making & Home Crafts

Tracy has been a freelance sewing tutor for the last 5 years at venues across Leicestershire. 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 or adjusting existing patterns. Tracy has owned a Ruby deLuxe for 7 years and has software too.

Emma Smith - Garment Making

Emma 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.

Jayne Childs - Embroidery & Software

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. Some of you may remember Jayne, as she worked for us for a number of years before moving on to be sales manager at Husqvarna Viking UK. 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. Jayne also works part time at Nottingham Trent University as lace archive Research Assistant and teaches on the Fashion BA.

Pat Lumsdale - Patchwork & Quilting

Pat Lumsdale has worked with textiles for over 40 years. She was a tutor at Denman, the WI’s residential college, until it closed in 2020 and spent many years working as their craft adviser. Pat teaches patchwork and quilting and loves sharing her skills with those just discovering this very addictive cutting and stitching back together craft! www.stitchedup-crafts.com