Sunday, 15 March 2015

25th Anniversary...Part Two - The Cotton Patch Photo Album

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By Liz Holpin, Director of The Cotton Patch


In Part One of our retrospective focusing on the 25th Anniversary of The Cotton Patch we covered how it all began. Jean had the kernel of an idea and despite some concerns as to whether she was too old to start a business (in her late 50's), amazingly in her early 80s she is still working three days a week. 

And that is just one of the changes that we've seen in the past 25 years that our sterotypes of what we should be doing in her 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or even older is constantly being redefined by those we see and hear. Jean and Geoff Sewell are no exception to this new rule - so if you are thinking about changing what you do - it's never too late. Just love what you do.

New till - Shop Opens May 1990
Here are some of the photos from the album that we would like to share - 

Some of the early shows where we had just one small transit (but it was packed to the gunnels!)

Packing for the Harrogate Quilt Show

Geoff, Jean and Nik

There were Cabot Conferences around the country with Christine Porter who brought over top teachers like Caryl Bryer Fallert, Marianne Fons, Harriet Hargrave, Margaret Miller, Darra Duffy Williamson, Sharon Squier Craig and Carole Leibzeit to name just a few. 

Liz Holpin with Caryl Bryer Fallert and the quilt The Cotton Patch purchased from Caryl.

Liz Holpin and Christine Porter with the quilt that Marianne Fons taught in class.

Jean Sewel, Christine Porter and the winner of the Quilt Block Challenge in Waterford, Ireland

Liz Holpin, Louise Glover and Sally Ablett

Christine Porter with Margaret Miller and Class

Margaret Miller teaching colour theory and value

Sally Ablett, Darra Williamson,?, Christine Porter and Margaret Miller

Some of Carole Leibzeit's Quilts

The class in Waterford, Ireland

Class in Progress

Catharine Millar

Louise Glover and Janet - manning The Cotton Patch stand in the classroom

Harriet Hargrave, Christine Porter and Carole Leibzeit

Louise Glover and Carole Leibzeit Class

Carole, Sharon Craig and Harriet Hargrave



In the first ten years our employees grew with each year and in 1994 when I returned to the UK after living in the Caribbean for a few years Val Richards joined The Cotton Patch as well. Val and the others who were there then - Jean, Geoff, Margaret and Cherrie are all still working here. Louise Glover taught many of the classes in the late 1990s but after many years struggling with Multiple Sclerosis Louise was forced to retire at a very young age. We missed her knowledge, enthusiasm and joy of patchwork and quilting. Louise now lives in a Leonard Cheshire home in Wales. 

These were photos of The Cotton Patch staff in around 1999 at the annual Christmas Party. Penny, Shirley and Louise are the only ones who don't still work at The Cotton Patch!

Denise and Jean

Denise, Jean, Val, Pat, Margaret, Ken, Cherrie, Anne, Geoff, Penny, Shirley, Louise

Louise and Liz

Pat, Margaret, Ken and Penny.

 In the next installment we'll share some photos of the enlargement of the shop in 2000-2001 and some of the last 15 years trips and shows. Plus we have some of those old catalogues...some of you may even still have them too!


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About Us

The Cotton Patch is a family run patchwork and quilting business which was started by Jean Sewell in 1990. The shop is situated in Hall Green, Birmingham and expanded in 1999 to include the shop next door. Originally offering Mail Order catalogues, The Cotton Patch established one of the first patchwork and quilting websites in the UK. The Cotton Patch continues to be a premier supplier of patchwork and quilting fabrics, tools and notions and supplies customers throughout the UK and the world.