Success Story - Anniversary Edition Machine

On the 10th Anniversary of The Cotton Patch we launched our Anniversary Edition Sewing machine. It was a robust machine with no computerised screens, just knobs you could turn and buttons you could press and with all the basic stitches that you would need for patchwork and quilting. We packaged it with a walking foot, a darning foot (Big Foot), a quarter inch foot (Little Foot) and a satin stitch foot together with the Sew Steady Table.

In conjunction with one of the patchwork and quilting magazines we ran a competition for someone to win the Anniversary Edition sewing machine. We didn't know it then but the winning of the machine for that particular person would prove to be an integral part of their future career.

The photo above shows Helen Culver (when she was just 15) with Jean and Geoff Sewell when she won the Anniversary Edition sewing machine. I recently touched base with her to see how she was getting on - her mother is a customer and she had sent a link to Helen's graduation ceremony. Helen filled us in on what has happened since she won the machine 10 years ago....

I graduated from Derby University with 1st Class Honours in BA(Hons) Fashion Studies in June last year. I went straight into a job as a Junior Garment Technologist at a Children's Character Licensed Clothing Company (Smith&Brooks, which is now owned by Sports Direct), but I only stayed there for 3 months before I was offered a job by BC International.
BC International is a clothing company dealing with Character branded clothing including Disney, Spongebob, Muppets, Snoopy etc, supplying to retailers including Topshop, River Island, Littlewoods, BHS and many more. I did a 15-month placement at BC International between my 2nd and 3rd years at uni, and they contacted me as soon as a permanent position became available after I graduated. I have been working there since September as a Product Developer and I love it :)

The job title probably needs some explanation, it's not a common role ...

A Product Developer develops a product from design stage to in-store - so someone else designs the garments, then I am responsible for the type of fabrics used; the type of prints and techniques used; the silhouette and fit of a garment; technical drawings; safety compliance; ensuring the garments pass wash testing etc. ... Its a very technical and varied role.
I have always wanted to do something 'technical' in the Fashion Industry - I enjoy designing and I am good at it, but I'm not as passionate about designing as I am about pattern cutting and (boring) technical stuff like that!!
This is my website if you would like to have a look ...
My Graduate Collection is on there :) a lot of hard work and pain went into that, as I'm sure you can imagine!!

For 5 years alongside doing my degree I worked in a fabric shop and had my own Clothing Alterations business that I ran from there. Doing this, along with constantly sewing for my degree left me no time to do any kind of sewing for pleasure, and eventually took all the fun out of sewing :( When I finished my degree and left the fabric shop, I couldn't even bear to go into my sewing room! My lovely sewing machine sat gathering dust!
However, I'm pleased to say that since Christmas, my passion has been rekindled :) I have dusted away the cobwebs and resurrected some long forgotten projects and am patchworking again like crazy :) Finally getting to use the beautiful 'charm packs' I have saved up! I'd forgotten how much fun patchwork is, I'm so pleased to be sewing for me again, I love it!

The Anniversary machine is still going strong and seems to enjoy sewing as much as we all do!

Isn't that a great story? So, if you have a young person who is interested in sewing, encouraging them now could lay the foundation for something really amazing in the future.


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