New Dress Fabrics

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Even more new fabrics have been arriving since last week, and we could hardly wait to share them with you. A whole new range of different dress fabrics that will bring a completely different (and slightly more grownup) feel to your sewing are now on our shelves, so if you fancy seeing just what we’ve gone and got our fabric-greedy hands on, then read on!

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New Lawns
We’ve expanded our range of cotton lawns again, and have some real beauties in store. Check out these super lovely gold embellished ones! A gorgeously simple print on navy, black and off white is given an extra edge with the addition of gold. Perfect for summer dresses and maybe the most sophisticated pair of Alice trousers you’ve ever seen!

Jacquard
Beautiful paisley patterns on these super shiny satins will make for amazing linings if you want something a bit fancy, but will also function as fabrics in their own right. Available in a range of gorgeous colours, some are shot to give them an extra shine and depth. Back a waistcoat or line a winter jacket with these babies and people are sure to notice. The jacquards are 140cm wide and £6.00 a metre.

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Taffeta and Chiffon
A pair of luxury fabrics if ever there were – we’ve only got a limited amount of colours for both the taffeta and the chiffon right now, but come autumn we will be expanding this range to include several more. We’re thinking prom dresses, party dresses, bridesmaid dresses for the taffeta, and pussy bow blouses for the chiffon. Time to up your sewing skills to include working with slippy fabrics! Both fabrics are 140cm wide: the taffeta is £8.00 a metre and the chiffon is £4.00 a metre.

Habutae Lining
You’ve been asking for lining materials for quite a while now and we’ve finally managed to get some. In a range of basic colours, you can be sure to find something to coordinate or contrast to line whatever you are making. On the rolls, these are 112cm wide and only £2.95 a metre.

Lace
Another luxurious fabric to hit our shelves this month is this lovely heavyweight lace. With a large pattern and a gorgeous feel, this is certain to be making it’s way into several sewers shopping baskets soon. Lace covered dresses and skirts, embellishments on hems and edging, this stuff will add extra elegance to whatever it touches. Currently available in grey, blush, teal, black and navy at £10.00 a metre.

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Poplin
We’ve also added significantly to our stock of poplins with patterns including bicycles, London buses, florals, stripes, squares, chevrons, spots, ditsy flowers owls, elephants, stars and butterflies, just to name a few. Ranging from £6.00 to £8.00 a metre, these are perfect for whipping up summer skirts, shorts, dresses and anything else you can think of!

All new fabrics are currently in store at the prices stated above – as always we love to see what you make with our fabrics, so don’t forget to tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to show off your makes.

 

Two New Summer Patterns

Clair has been a super busy bee this summer releasing three new patterns since May, and now she has two more for you! The Simple Gathered Skirt (which you can see on show in our current August summer sewing themed window) and a child’s Reversible Skirt.

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Both patterns are slightly different from our normal pattern releases in that they are simply a set of detailed instructions that take you, step by step through the processes that you need to complete each garment. Despite us running a Simple Gathered Skirt class for a year or so now, many of you have asked for a pattern or some instructions that you can take home so you can make more for yourselves or for other people.

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So now Clair has obliged and we are launching the pattern instructions next week! Meaning there is plenty of time for you to make you and your kids, friends, family some lovely skirts for the rest of the summer, or get a head start on your autumn wardrobe.

Our second pattern release for next week is a girl’s Reversible Skirt to go with our other reversible kid’s items. It’s another set of super simple instructions that show you how to make a fantastic gathered skirt for a little girl, that has two sides for you to choose fabulous prints!

We’re loving this Black Widow versus Captain America shield design that Lotte has made for her daughter. The perfect solution for fussy kids who can’t decide between two different patterns, this skirt is a two in one dream.

Both the Simple Gathered Skirt and the Reversible Skirt instructions will be available from Emporia next week, priced at £3.00 each. If you’d like to get your hands on one or both of the patterns, let us know in advance and we’ll reserve them for you.

 

New Fabrics In Store

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Loads more exciting fabrics have arrived in the shop this week, so here’s a sneaky peak of what you can expect to see in store. From rabbits and sunrises to giant gold polka dots, we’ve got a luscious new range of inspiring prints that will have you planning your next sewing projects right away.

We can’t get over just how lovely this gorgeous collection of rabbits on a Japanese style landscape is, and the contrast between orange and blue, and purple and grey is simply delicious. With a two complementary blenders to add to the mix, this is a super inspiring collection and we can’t wait to see what you make from it. Clair’s already thinking about running up a kimono dress from the blue version …

Rich pinks, bright turquoise and luxurious gold are at the heart of this collection: it’s full of simple but gorgeous designs and the added element of the gold hints will make you fall completely in love with all the prints, whether you want just spots, floral outlines or patchwork themed birds and hearts.

Want something more subtle? Go light and floaty with these delicate feather prints – perfect for clothing or homewear projects.

Fans of simple geometric shapes will be keen on these little crosses on neutral backgrounds: choose from black, red and light blue to make patchwork projects or maybe some men’s shirts or whatever else takes your fancy.

All our new fabrics are priced at £16.50 per metre. Emporia is open from 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, and from 10am to 2pm Farmers Market Sundays – the next one is Sunday 6th August, so come and say hello!

 

Brother Sewing Machine Demo Day

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Next Wednesday we are having a very special visitor come and spend the day at the shop – it’s the lovely Rachel, our Brother rep, who will be spending all day showcasing our marvelous machines and all the things they can do. From our basic mechanical machines all the way up to our all singing, all dancing, top end digital embroidery machines, you can see them all in action.

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Rachel has been working for Brother for several years now and currently looks after the South East area on behalf of the company, and she’s been helping us learn all about our range of sewing machines since we started selling them in January this year. She’s a proper pro when it comes to all our machines, sewing, overlocker or embroidery, so if you anyone can explain them all, it’s her.

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We have a range of sewing machines in stock that are available to purchase, some you can take home today and others you can have delivered to your door the very next day, all with a 3 year guarantee. Feel like you don’t want anything too complicated for your first sewing machine?

Check out the lower end of the price range with the simple mechanical machines – with a range of different stitches and a few basic feet, you still sew a button hole with these models, and even sew on an actual button!

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Our mid-range digital machines promise to take your sewing up a few notches as they come with a fantastic range of different functions, from tens of different stitches including overstitching and blind hemming, to self-threading needles and automatic thread-cutting.f480zu1_lOr if you fancy checking out our super-duper big guns, then you can watch Rachel demonstrate the amazing embroidery machines which feature hundreds of different stitches, an SD card slot for adding in more embroidery images, plus all the extras that the top end sewing machines come with like the self-threading needles and the thread-cutting.

Whatever your choice of machine, or whether you have no idea what you would like, you just want to see what they can do, Rachel will be on hand to explain all the functions and show you everything these bad boys can do! There will be exciting discounts and special offers, plus finance available on the day.

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The Brother demo day takes place from 10am – 4pm Wednesday 26th July 2017 and is free to attend – just pop into the shop on the day and join in.

Two Tone in the Emporia Window

This week we’ve been busy installing a rather unusual window display at the shop, courtesy of local artist and crafter Mandy Munroe. Featuring a very fishy theme, this fantastic installation has been curated by Mandy herself who has been at the forefront of gathering the talents of local crafters, including knitters, crocheters and sewers, into making a variety of different fish themed articles, all in the name of the Create Platform. And we think it looks brilliant!

The story behind our amazing installation comes from the Legacy of Two Tone,  Ashford’s moat famous fish (a mirror carp) who lived in Conningbrook Lake for around 45 years, and was seen as a major catch in the fishing/angling community. Given his significant life span, he grew into quite a substantial fish and was known by anglers around the world for his size and unmistakable colour; he was the biggest freshwater fish in the UK and became incredibly famous on the international angling scene.  Sadly he died in 2010, but has now been immortalised in wool in the Emporia windows for the next two weeks.

And what has that got to do with the Create festival I hear you cry! Well, 2 Tone, or Two Tone, is a music genre that created in the UK in the late 70s by fusing elements of ska, punk, rocksteady, reggae and New Wave, and one of this year’s acts to showcase their spectacular musical talent at Create is the legendary ska band, The Selector. So bringing together theme of the music alongside the famous fish, a crafty band of Ashfordians have been getting knitty and sewing up a storm in order to create our incredible display.

The window features a whole range of different fish and pond themed items that have been made especially for our window installation, the highlight of which is of course Two Tone himself, shown on his ska themed quilt (sewn by Mandy herself); he is surrounded by loads of his fishy friends, and a variety of other amazing hand sewn and knitted creations. Check out those cute knitted pebbles and stones! And how fantastic are the shimmering pieces of pond weed? And don’t miss those adorable jellyfish, who’ve clearly come to visit Two Tone on their summer holiday.

We have a huge long list of people to thank, which you can see in full below, but we think the best way to thank everyone who got involved is to come along and see the installation in person. It looks truly amazing and is testament to the fabulous devotion to craft that so many of you have.

And if you missed out on making some fish for the window and feel left out, then you can still get your hands on our Two Tone knitting patterns which will allow you to create as many mini fish as you like!

Mandy Munroe and Emporia Fabric and Craft would like to thank these people for making such a special window:

– Members of The Little Teapot Knit and Natter group, Hamstreet Knit and Natter,  The Library Knitting group and Ewe-Nique created fish, weed and pebbles.
– Mersham Brownies mastered finger knitting and produced lots of pond weed.
– Wood n Ware very kindly crafted the hull of the boat and members of Artvark stitched some of the fish as well as contributing to the Two Tone Trail.
– Special thanks go to Carol, Christine, Tracey, Wendy, Julie, Janet, Stephanie, Abi, Elaine and Linda alongside some other secret stitchers who all contributed.
– The Official Two Tone Knitting Pattern was designed specially for this project by  Nicky Triggs, Two Tone knitter extraordinaire, along with the beginner friendly Easy Fish pattern which she kindly made available to community groups.

You can also see more beautiful fish in shop windows around town, inspired by Two Tone, Ashford’s famous fish, coloured and designed by various community groups including schools and nurseries.  And don’t forget the Create Festival itself which takes place from 12 midday on Saturday 22nd July 2017 at Victoria Park, Ashford. 

New Summer Florals and Feathers

A lovely range of pretty, bright florals and some lovely feather prints arrived at the shop this week, alongside some more unusual prints inspired by maps and the like. Giving you plenty of inspiration for some easy summer makes, take a look at these gorgeous new collections and see what you want to make from them.

Little girls dresses and skirts, bedding, curtains and cushions would look fabulous in these bright and super cute fresh florals.

These lovely feather prints remind us of early style photography or x-ray prints – perfect for making some Alice trousers for the summer or maybe a cool kimono dress.

And we’ve got a fantastic selection of some more unusual prints – these amazing fat quarters are designed by Tim Holz for the Rowan collection and feature excerpts from a range of old fashioned documents and items, such as maps, sheet music, books, forms, shop labels and Victorian style script. Ideal for adding a more masculine take on interior design or for creating a really different take on a quilt, we are completely in love  with new this collection.

And we have these three luscious designs on bolts too – what amazing things could you make with these?

All these prints are available in store now priced from £15.00 to £15.50 with fat quarters priced at £4.25 to £4.50. For more information give us a ring on 01233 612278 or pop into the shop and take a look in person.

Reversible Shorts Pattern

This week sees the beginning of July and summer is now well under way, what better way to celebrate than to release yet another Emporia pattern, and this time it’s one for the boys. Another one?! We hear you cry. Yes, another fabulous pattern from the creative genius that is Clair! May we introduce you to the amazing Reversible Shorts!

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These bad boys have been on the cards for a long, long time – ever since the creation of the Reversible Dress – and now they are finally here, ready to be made into funky summer wear for little boys and girls.

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The Reversible Shorts are another super easy pattern which can be attempted by anyone from a beginner up to an expert seamstress. Choose two different prints and combine them to make one pair of shorts that work as two pairs! Super simple, and two for the price of one.

We love these Space Boy style ones created from Michael Miller fabric, backed with a green Minecraft inspired print.

And what about this Round the World themed pair, with a map on one side and boats on the ocean on the other?

We know lots of small people who would love to get their hands on some shorts like these. Here’s Clair’s son Leo modelling a dinosaur print pair.

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The pattern is available in ages two to seven and available to buy from Emporia priced £8.00.

Feel like you need help making these? We’ve got Reversible Shorts classes taking place on these dates:

10am – 1pm Saturday 8th July 2017
10.30am – 1.30pm Wednesday 16th August 2017

Classes cost £55.00 and include all fabric and access to our Brother sewing machines. To reserve a place, pop into the shop and pay a 50% deposit or give us a ring on 01233 612278 for more information.

 

Pre-Order Star Wars and Marvel Fabrics

 

Exciting news people – Star Wars and Marvel fabrics are back! Coming very soon we will have a fabulous selection of both Star Wars and Marvel Avengers prints back on the Emporia shelves and we know that loads of you out there will be just as excited by the prospect as we are. Featuring the likes of Rae from Rogue One and the kick-ass Black Widow we’re sure you’ll want a slice of these babies as soon as they arrive.

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Cartoon Characters

Well, the good news is that you can get yourself more than just a slice of both the Star Wars and the Marvel prints by pre-ordering your chosen fabrics, and you’ll get some money off the standard retail price too. Brilliant news for fans of these comic book style prints!

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Comic book heroes in Dark Teal

Because we love Star Wars and Marvel and we know you do too, we’ve decided to give you a discount on your pre-orders for the next two weeks before Friday 7th July

Pre-order up to 1 metre and get 10% off
Pre-order between 1 and 3 metres and get 15% off
Pre-order over 3 metres and get 20% off

Take a look at these amazing prints and let us know just how many metres you’d like. Here’s Star Wars:

And here’s Marvel Avengers:

The standard retail price for all the Star Wars and Marvel fabrics is £16.00 per metre – these prints are due into Emporia sometime in July with limited availability on each fabric. To place a pre-order for any of the prints, please come and see us in the shop as we are unable to take reservations or payments over the phone.

Alice Trousers Pattern Launch

 

This week we’ve got another lovely treat for you – the launch of yet another Emporia pattern! Just in time for all the lovely summer weather we’ve been having and only a few weeks before the school holidays, we’re proud to announce the arrival of the Alice trousers.

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These fabulous loose fitting summer trousers are the perfect thing for keeping cool out in the sunshine, whether you are taking the kids to school, having a day out at the beach or heading off to dinner with friends – dress them up, dress them down, wear them with wedge sandals or flip flops, they are destined to become your wardrobe’s best friend.

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Choose light and floaty lawn or viscose, or go with casual cotton or poplin to make a pair of these stylish yet comfy trousers. We love the big, bright and bold prints, but they look equally good in ditsy flowers or plain fabric. This bright funky orange elephant print looks gorgeous and so summery. Or what about these lovely yellow, bold and bright floral – very sophisticated and perfect for dressing up for a night out.

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The pattern comes in sizes 8 – 20 and is super easy to make; the ideal introduction to sewing trousers if you’ve never made any before, the Alice is another simple pattern to follow, with clear, concise instructions and illustrations. Using only six pattern pieces, you can make the Alice trousers in just a couple of hours – there are no closures or zips, an elasticated waistband and ankles, and cut-away pockets, all of which are nice and easy to construct. Alternatively you can leave the ankles straight and make them without pockets if you prefer – even easier and quicker!

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The Alice trousers pattern is available in store now priced £12.00. For more information on the pattern or to see some ready-made examples of the trousers, pop in and see us for a chat, alternatively you can give us a ring on 01233 612278.

 

 

Not sure you can make the trousers yourself? We are running Alice trouser classes (£85.00) on these dates:

10.30am – 3pm Monday 22nd May
10.30am – 3pm Wednesday 21st June
10.30am – 3pm Friday 28th July
10.30am – 3pm Saturday 26th August
10.30am – 3pm Thursday 21st September
10.30am – 3pm Tuesday 21st October
10.30am – 3pm Friday 24th November
10.30am – 3pm Wednesday 6th December

 

New Fabrics for Summer Sewing

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The sun is out and we have a fantastic new selection of summery prints that will make your heart and your sewing machine sing! Just look at these big, bright, bold prints featuring flowers and the ocean waves in a range of gorgeous colours. We’ve fallen head over heels in love with most of them already, so get ready to do the same.

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These fabulous florals come courtesy of Kaffe Fassett – featuring large scale print in bright and bold colours, these babies have been much admired by many customers, as well as us. Clair has already made herself a simply stunning kimono dress from the turquoise and green print, which we think is perfect for summer wear, be it barbecues, beach days or even weddings.

Big circle skirts, skinny strapped summer dresses or loose floaty trousers would work perfectly in any of these designs – I’ve got my eye on the strong red with turquoise accents for the next Emporia pattern release! (Keep your eyes peeled for more news on that soon.) Why not take a different angle and make something for the kids? Small people doesn’t have to mean small prints – we think the poppy style flowers make excellent reversible dresses and what little girl wouldn’t look set for a summer wedding in a yellow and red floral Amelie dress?

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If you like your summer prints a little more nautical then check out our amazing Japanese designs from Tokyo Milk – featuring octopuses, swimmers from the twenties, Japanese inspired waves and coral themes, these prints are an exciting and unusual contrast to the Kaffe Fassett collection.

Octopuses may not be everyone’s obvious choice when it comes to summer themes, but these sea creatures coupled with beautiful blue backgrounds and floral flourishes have definitely got our imaginations going. I’m loving wearing my octopus kimono dress today in the sunshine.

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If the big old tentacled ones are a bit bold for your liking, then you can take it down a notch with the subtle coral print, or make like a piece of art and have traditional Japanese waves crashing all over your dress.

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Along with these fabulous prints on the bolt, we’ve also got some luscious charm packs in store too, and a few jelly rolls. So if you’re feeling inspired to make a bright, bold and summery quilt, or maybe a bag, check these little lovelies out.

Don’t forget there’s still time to enter our Me Made May competition! Show us a photo of you in a me-made garment using Emporia fabric to win a fabric and patterns – tag us on Twitter using @emporia_market or Instagram using @emporiafabricandcraft, or on Facebook using the shop name, or come into the shop in person and we’ll take a snap of you. 

Kimono Dress Pattern Launch!

Today we are super, super excited to launch the long-awaited pattern for the kimono dress! We’ve been working on this design for quite a while now and have quite a few sewers on a waiting list to get their hands on the pattern. Well now the pattern is here and we can’t wait to see how everyone gets on with making their own kimono dresses!

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Here is Clair’s latest version made out of some of our stunning new Kaffe Fassett designs – big, bright beautiful florals on a super summery background, we think this print shows off the elegant side of the kimono just perfectly.

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The pattern is launching as part of our Me Made May month of celebrating creating your own clothes, so this is the perfect time to crack on with making yourself a summer dress in your choice of fabric. The kimono works well in any of weight of cotton including poplin, quilting, lawn, chambray, lightweight denim, but you could also go for something more luxurious such as raw silk or satin. You could even try it out in scuba or a ponta roma for a slightly different take.

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We know we’ve talked about the elegant simplicity of the kimono dress a thousand times before, but hey, we love it so much, we’re going to do it again: incredibly simple to make and very easy to wear, the kimono dress is a subtly curved shift dress, with a v-neck, batwing sleeves, pockets in the side seams and an obi style belt which is attached just above the natural waistline. It’s incredibly versatile in that you can dress it up for more formal, going out type wear or go casual and keep it for the beach; you can also wear it in the colder months by adding a long sleeved t shirt underneath, leggings and a big cardy to keep yourself more toasty. You can even wear it as a maternity dress – just move the belt up above the bump and wear it a little looser. However you choose to wear it, this dress is such a key part of our wardrobes, we can’t imagine being without one (or two or three or four!).

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Another new and exciting element of this brand new pattern is that we’ve made a few suggestions for pattern hacking at the bottom of the standard instructions, so if you’re a confident sewer or feeling inspired to take a different approach to what we’ve suggested, you can go off piste and create something a bit more personal.

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The Kimono Dress pattern is now available to buy from Emporia Fabric & Crafts priced £12.00. Need help? We’re still teaching the kimono dress as a class – the next two workshops take place from 10.30am – 3pm on 17th June and Tuesday 4th July 2017.

Don’t forget there’s still time to enter our Me Made May competition! Show us a photo of you in a me-made garment using Emporia fabric to win a fabric and patterns – tag us on Twitter using @emporia_market or Instagram using @emporiafabricandcraft, or on Facebook using the shop name, or come into the shop in person and we’ll take a snap of you. 

Interview with Me Made May Creator Zoe – part 2

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This week we bring you the second half of our interview with Zoe Edwards, the mastermind behind Me Made May. Here she talks about what it’s all about, how you can get involved and where you sign up!

Who can participate in MMM? 
Anyone can! Even if you’ve only been making clothes for a week and only have one solitary self-stitched garment or accessory, you can take part by setting a challenging but do-able pledge to wear that thing more than you otherwise would. Hopefully that experience would lead you to figure out how you’d be able to spend your future making time more usefully, and make you feel proud of your achievements.

Do we all need to have a wardrobe full of beautifully stitched, handmade clothing? 
No. The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them. For example, a very common pledge is for a participant to aim to wear one self-stitched or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May 2017. But you can pledge to do whatever you like, no matter how new you are to sewing or knitting. How about pledging to wear two or more self-made garments a week? Or maybe to try making a new type of garment by the end of the month to wear on the final day? Perhaps you could pledge to finish all your UFO’s (unfinished objects) by 31st May.

Can we see how other people are getting on? Where can I go for some MMM inspiration?
Some participants choose to document their challenge photographically (it’s not compulsory for taking part though) and share them with others on social media. Lots of people choose to write about their challenge of their blogs if they have one, and/or share photos via twitter and instagram. Google searches and hashtag searches (#MMMay17, #memademay) should open up a world of inspiration!

What will your pledge be for this year? Do you have a standard set of self-sewn patterns you go back to for each MMM or do you like to mix it up? What do you wear more of in everyday life, self-drafted, other designer’s pattern or shop–bought clothing? 
I’m still considering how best to set my own pledge specifics for this year. I tend to think about how my lifestyle has evolved since the previous year, and consider what I would like to improve on (like wearing my self-made skirts more, or improving my mix-and-match game) and make a suitable pledge based on that. My current wardrobe is about 90% me-made and refashioned items, with 10% secondhand (often donated from my best friend!). I still buy bras, socks, tights and footwear new, but one day when I’m no longer breastfeeding, I’ll have a go at making bras too.

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Sounds like we’d better get making …
You can but MMM isn’t a reason to make lots of new clothes (unless you want to). This challenge is about wearing the items that you have already created, not about stock-piling more makes. However, if you want to use taking part in the challenge as the kick in the butt you need to finally hem that half-finished skirt, or rework an ill-fitting garment, then great. Remember, this challenge is meant to be fun, and panic-making isn’t fun! So please people, NO PANIC-SEWING/MAKING NECESSARY OR CONDONED!

Where do I sign up?
All you have to do is copy the pledge below and paste it into the comments section of my MMMay’17 post, having adapted it to include your details and the personal specification of your challenge, before 1st May 2017:

 ‘I, (insert name here and blog address/instagram handle if you have one), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear………………………………………………… each day for the duration of May 2017.’

So if you’re feeling inspired to get making or show off what you’ve already made, sign up here! And don’t forget if you’ve made anything with our fabric, you can enter our super duper Me Made May competition for a chance to win some fabulous sewing prizes. For more information, click here to see how to enter, and if you want to see how our own MMM wardrobes are working out, you can find us on Instagram under @emporiafabricandcraft and @lottejamiesoncrafts.

Interview with Me Made May Creator Zoe – Part 1

 

This week we are super lucky to bring you the first half of an interview with Zoe Edwards, renowned sewing blogger and creator of Me Made May! Here she talks about what inspired her to start the self-sewn fashion movement and how having kids has changed her approach to sewing.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name’s Zoe and I blog all about my explorations into sewing and refashioning. These passions form a big part of my desire to live a more sustainable and authentic life. I also aim to inspire and assist others in making/remaking their own clothing. I currently live in Eastbourne with my husband and our daughter Dolores and our son Frankie.

I am a self-employed sewing teacher, and although I’m currently on maternity leave, I usually teach classes at The Village Haberdashery and Tilly and the Buttons’s HQ, London, and MIY Workshop, Brighton. I firmly believe that sewing and creating can have a fantastic impact on mental health, and am also convinced that enjoying sewing needn’t break the bank.

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What exactly is Me Made May?
Me Made May 17 (#MMMay17 on social media) is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear garments and love them more. The me-made and self-stitched challenges have been taking place for eight years now and they work on both a personal and community level. This challenge is all about improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe, and perhaps also learning about yourself and your creativity.

What made you decide to go about setting up MMM, and how much has it grown/changed over the years? 
I didn’t ‘set up’ Me Made May as such, it kind of evolved from a personal, solo challenge I set myself in 2010 whilst I was living in Barcelona, Spain. I wanted to see if I could really rely on the clothes that I’d been making myself, so I decided to wear only me-made things (excluding bras, socks, tights and shoes) for the duration of March that year. It was a really illuminating experience and I want to try it again in a slightly warmer month, so I asked via my blog if anyone wanted to join me (specifying their own challenge) and I was surprised that about 80 people decided do so! And the rest, as they say … Last year we had at least 800 people ‘officially’ taking part. In more recent years, participants have really taken to social media to connect and interact with each other, although that aspect is entirely optional. The challenge is trying to fulfill your own pledge, taking outfit selfies and sharing them is in no way compulsory!

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How has it affected your sewing career? 
It’s hard to say. I guess more people have heard of my blog because of Me Made May, which has allowed me to semi-fund my sewing and blogging activities by having sewing-related companies sponsor my blog for a modest fee.

You’ve released several of your own sewing patterns in recent years – has the popularity of MMM helped with that or was designing and releasing your own patterns always part of the plan?
Ha! There’s definitely no ‘plan’ to the stuff that I do! I work on what interests and inspires me. Luckily, I have been able to forge a small income through some of those things that lend themselves to making money, like teaching or selling my sewing patterns.

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You’re a mum of two now – does that impact on your personal sewing in ways other than restricting your time?
It has definitely helped me streamline my sewing efforts towards making garments that I can wear at a play park rather than in a cocktail bar! I also love making things for my children. It’s so satisfying to use up cute scraps and small pieces of fabric that would probably otherwise end up in the textile recycling bank and make adorable (and hopefully useful!) little garments for my kids and their friends.

Next week we hear more from Zoe about precisely how you can get involved with Me Made May this year. 

Me Made May Competition Time

May is coming very soon and you’ve only got a few more days to sign up to the Me Made May and pledge to wear your self-made garments throughout the month – Clair and I are raring to go, so we’d love you to join us and thousands of other sewers, knitters and refashioners around the world by signing up too! If you still don’t know what MMM is yet (where have you been?!) then check out our previous posts on the blog, or pop directly over to So Zo’s site and take a little look at precisely what’s involved – we promise you’ll be glad you did.

Monday 1st May 2017 is a very special day – not only is it a bank holiday (hurrah!) but it’s also the first day of Me Made May and therefore also the very first day you can take part in our MMM competition! Now if that doesn’t get you more excited than the prospect of eating badly cooked sausages from a neighbour’s barbecue while standing in the cold/damp/wind of normal May bank holiday weather, then I don’t know what will. Every year we run a competition throughout May to celebrate our participation in Me Made May and how much we enjoy wearing clothes that we have made, or refashioned, ourselves. And we also really enjoy seeing what you lot out there have made too, so much so in fact that we think you deserve a little reward.

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This year we are making our MMM competition even bigger and better than before with three different prizes to be won! We want to really spread the word this year that making and wearing your own garments is something to be very proud of – dressmaking (and knitting, crocheting etc) is no longer a lost skill, it is something that has made a huge resurgence in the past five or six years, and is still growing. It doesn’t have to be about making huge and elaborate ball gowns or filling up your entire wardrobe with everything from pants and socks to jeans and coats, it can simply be a time when you get to sit down, by yourself or with a friend or your mum, and be creative. And that creativity results in you making some comfy pjs or a pretty summer dress, or any item of clothing that you will wear and cherish because you made it yourself. THAT is what we want to make a hoohah about – the joy of sewing and wearing your Me Made makes.

So what do we want from you? We simply want to see what you’ve been up to with out fabrics. At Emporia we are desperately nosy and we really love to know what you plan to make with that spotty turquoise print, or the cotton lawn with the orange flowers. Maybe you bought some of that delicious multi coloured stripe jersey from us ages ago and still haven’t got around to making anything with it yet, or perhaps you’ve been hoarding lots of different prints in your stash and have forgotten they’re there – now is the time to get sewing!

You can enter the MMM competition in three different ways: put your garment made with Emporia fabric on Facebook or Instagram and tag us so we can see what you’ve made; or you can email us a photo of your garment – you don’t have to be wearing it, but it does help us see the dress or trousers or whatever you’ve made at it’s best angle; or you can pop into the shop wearing your garment so we can take a photo ourselves as well as see it in person – again, if you don’t want to wear it, just pop it in a bag and bring it in that way, you still get a chance to win!

Three different winners will be chosen from the Emporia MMM Competition – one by us, one by you, our lovely sewing audience, and a third by the creator of Me Made May herself, Zoe! Prizes include patterns, fabric and lessons so there is plenty to get your hands on as a reward for your heard work. We can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to!

The Emporia Me Made May Competition takes place from 10am Monday 1st May – 5pm Wednesday 31st May 2017. All entrants must have bought their fabric from Emporia Fabric & Craft (excluding vintage fabric) from July 2015 onwards; in order to enter the competition, entrants must provide evidence of their handmade garment in either photographic form or in person. For more information on the concept of MMM or the competition, please give us a ring on 01233 612278, contact us via the Contact form, or come and see us in the shop.

 

Lampshades by Weird + Gilly Made to Order

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Last week we took a lovely little delivery of some gorgeous new lampshades made by Weird + Gilly using some of our amazing fabrics. Bright and funky, and perfect for kids’ bedrooms, these lovelies are now gracing our shelves to advertise a brand new service at Emporia. As of now you can place an order for a Weird + Gilly lampshade using any of our fabrics!

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Giving you the chance to choose from our fabulous range of beautiful prints, featuring all kinds of designs from mid century modern shapes and geometric patterns, to fairies and castles, dinosaurs and eggs, wild creatures and farmyard animals, you can pick something to match your room, or to use your lampshade as inspiration to kick off your interior design ideas. Whether you want something plain, subtle or in a ginormously bright and obvious print, we have hundreds of fabrics to choose from that will all make amazing lampshades.

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Order time is between 10 and 14 days depending on how busy the Weird + Gilly ladies are, so you won’t have to wait too long before your lampshade is ready. Simply choose your fabric, pick whether you want a standard lamp or a hanging lamp, and decide what size you want. Prices start from £25.00 for a 20cm lamp, and go up to £35.00 for a 30cm lamp. We can’t wait to see what kinds of prints people choose.

For more information on ordering a lampshade with your choice of fabric, pop into the shop for a chat with us or give us a ring on 01233 612778.

Easter Events and Opening Times

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This week we’re all set to take part in the Ashford town centre Easter Egg hunt, pop on our hand decorated bonnets ready for the parade and then sit back and consume plenty of chocolate – and maybe find some time for a little bit of sewing on the side. How about you?

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If you have small people off school this week then you might be keen to know that we still have spaces on our Easter kid’s classes. Make a rabbit on Monday, sew a drawstring bag on Tuesday, create an applique Easter cushion on Wednesday, sew a simple skirt on Thursday, or decorate an Easter egg hunting bag on Friday – there’s something for everyone in the run up to Easter itself. For full information, times, dates and prices, click on the Classes link at the top of the page and get in touch if you would like to book your little nippers into any of our sessions.

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Emporia is also taking part in the Ashford town centre Easter trail from Monday 10th to Saturday 15th April 2017. All you need to do is pop into the shop, collect your Easter Trail form and then visit the various shops that are taking part to find the relevant letters and write then down on your sheet. Prizes will be handed out from the Love Ashford gazebo from 10.30am to 2.30pm on Saturday 15th April.

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And if you’re in town on that Saturday to collect your Easter treats, then why not take part in the Easter Bonnet Parade too? Kicking off from 2pm at the Love Ashford gazebo, you can really show off your creative skills with a hand made bonnet, decorated just how you like. And there will be prizes for the best ones, so there’s even more opportunity to win Easter chocs!

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Our Easter opening hours will be:
10am – 5pm from Monday 10th to Thursday 13th April
1am – 2pm Good Friday 14th April
10am – 5pm Saturday 15th April
Closed Easter Sunday 16th April
Closed Easter Monday 17th April
Open as normal again from Tuesday 18th April onwards.

We hope you have a fabulous Easter weekend and enjoy plenty of time to eat chocolate and do some relaxing craft!

 

Me Made May 2017 is Coming

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Once again Me Made May is just around the corner and we are getting very excited about what we’re going to make and wear. Not only will the weather be a bit warmer (hopefully) but we will also get to try out some of our lovely new poplins and cotton lawns for ourselves. Plus we will be running our annual MMM competition, and it’s even bigger and more exciting than ever before!

For those that are new to the whole MMM phenomenon, very simply put, it’s a whole month of celebrating all kinds of sewing, knitting, crochet and general upcycling of clothing. Whether you have been sewing since you were four years old and have a wardrobe fit to burst with self-sewn garments, or you struggled to make a simple skirt or pair of pyjama bottoms as your very first makes, you can still take part. Me Made May is all about feeling proud of your creative skills, making the most of garments you have made yourself and challenging yourself just a little bit, to maybe push yourself a bit harder to make more or adapt things to fit you properly.

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Zoe Edwards is the creator of the MMM movement and she’s been running for it every May for eight years; she started it to encourage people to get more creative with their clothing and in their approach to wearing self-sewn or hand created garments. Hosting the annual celebration every year from her blog So Zo, she bigs up all the sewers, knitters, crocheters, upcyclers and recyclers in her celebration of all things me-made. All you need to do to take part is sign up on her blog post with your pledge of how many MM garments you will be wearing during May this year. Then you can share your progress on Instagram or Facebook, and see what others are making and wearing too. From those who can pretty much kit out themselves head to foot, including underwear, in self-created clothing (much like Zoe) to those of us who may want to pledge to wear something for a certain number of days per week, the idea is to challenge yourself just enough to get creative, but not so much that you feel panicked by a sudden and enormous sewing To Do list.

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In fact Zoe specifically states on her blog that she does not condone panic sewing whatsoever, and neither do we. Don’t treat MMM like homework that you have to do – just set yourself a creative challenge that might make you finish off some nearly-done dresses, or maybe make you finally hem those trousers you started last year; perhaps you have been meaning to make some summer tops for ages, but just haven’t got around to it yet. Maybe you have a pile of clothes that you never wear and could easily be upcycling and transformed into something else? Well, MMM is the time to do it! Give yourself a bit of a push to sit back down at the sewing machine or pick up those needles and make something for yourself that you really want to make – all in the name of Me Made May!

We will be running our MMM competition again this year, and for 2017 it’s going to be bigger and better – more details on that to come soon! But if you have bought any fabric from us in recent months and are planning on making a garment for yourself from it, then we suggest you crack on with it now, because by the end of May it could be winning you a lovely prize!

In the meantime, for more information on the whole concept and to sign up with your pledge for MMMay2017, click here to visit Zoe’s blog. And don’t forget to click back throughout April and May for more information on the competition and plenty of MMM inspiration.

New Classes for the Spring

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Now that spring is well and truly on its way we have started to spend much more of our time planning our warmer weather wardrobe. With the trees and plants in bud and fresh green leaves springing up all over the place, we are starting to feel like it wouldn’t be too silly to start imagining what we might look like in some strappy dresses or even a short sleeved t shirt would be good! If you feel like spring is making you want to unleash some new skills on your sewing wardrobe, then look no further as we introduce two brand new classes for the coming months.

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Beginner’s Overlocker Classes
Many, many sewers all over the country rushed out and bought some overlockers that were on sale from a sueprmarket (which shall remain nameless) last year and have since only got the machine out of the box once or twice, and just generally panicked at the noise it makes. Either that, or they very much wanted to buy an overlocker, but were too scared at the prospect of the fact that it cuts off the excess material leaving no room for error. Well, fear not Wannabe Overlocker Sewers – we have the class for you!

Melissa will take you gently by the hand and show you how to master your own overlocker, or you can borrow one of ours and learn all the secrets of these marvelous (but temperamental) machines. Learn all about how to thread and re-thread all four cones; see what kind of stitches you can sew with; and get to grips with sewing up stretchy material to create either a pair of child’s harem trousers or an adult’s t-shirt. Choose from our funky stretch jersey fabrics and go home, not just with a brand new item of clothing made by your very own hands, but also the skills with which to tame the overlocker all by yourself!

Special offer! If you buy one of our overlockers during April or May, you can get a half price overlocker class! Pop into the shop to test drive our overlocker machines today.

10.30am – 1.30pm Saturday 29th April 2017
10.30am – 1.30pm Saturday 24th June 2017

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Sew a Child’s Shirred Dress
Shirring is a fantastic way of gathering material and can create a fitted form on dresses, skirts, tops and trousers. Shirring is done by using elastic on your bobbin and standard thread on your spool, thereby creating a series of tight gathers across your chosen material, whilst showing only the thread on the top layer, ensuring a professional looking finish.

In this class you will learn the basic techniques of threading your machine with elastic and sewing the shirring effect on a child’s dress. Choose from a lovely selection of light weight cottons with fabulous and funky prints, to make a gorgeous summer dress for your little one. Please bring relevant measurements with you to the class to ensure your dress fits it’s desired model – see a member of staff for details.

10.30am – 1.30pm Saturday 27th May 2017
10.30am – 1.30pm Wednesday 28th June 2017

Coming soon …
Melissa is working on a shirred adult top class for the summer, so click back soon for more details on when these classes will take place.

For full details on all classes and workshops, please see the Classes page at the top of the blog. Or pop into the shop and have a chat with us in person. You can also ring us on 01233 612278 for more info. Please note that all classes require a 50% booking fee to confirm your place, and places cannot be cancelled with less than 48 hours notice.

Sewing for Spring

Spring has sprung, and despite the rough winds of this week, we shall all be starting to think about the warmer months and shedding a few layers of jumpers and cardigans some time soon. So if you’re feeling like you want to update your spring wardrobe and inject a bit of colour and print to your clothing, take a look at these inspirational sewing projects that could brighten your day.


Simple Gathered Skirt
This is a super simple project suitable for both kids and adults. You can make this either with an elasticated waistband or cut a separate waistband and insert a zip. Why not add some patch pockets for extra detail and somewhere to keep your phone or a lipstick? Follow Clair’s tutorial to make the easier version for an adult, or if you feel like you need a bit of guidance, there’s always our Simple Gathered Skirt class which takes place on Wednesday 29th March or Friday 28th April.

Applique a T Shirt
Liven up a plain t shirt with some colourful patches of applique. Choose complimentary colours for a subtle spring like feel of blossom and flowers, or go bold and bright with clashing colours and geometric shapes for a funkier edge. Get creative and express yourself through sewing! Either way you can be sure that the design is uniquely yours and no-one else will have anything like it. Unless they’re so jealous of yours, that you kindly offer to make one for them too.

Doris Dress
This new pattern from Sew Over It makes for a great cross-over spring to summer dress as you can vary the length or make it in heavier or lighter weight cotton. We think it would look fabulous in any of our brand new dress fabrics, like the orange and turquoise lawn or perhaps some of the spotty poplin. Have you made a version of this dress yet? Feel free to share as we love to see your makes!

Kimono Dress
Although this is very much an all year round dress, the kimono dress really comes into its own in spring and summer. Choose from some of our amazing fabrics and make something that reflects your personality. Go cool with pink skulls or pretty with bright floras on a navy background; why not try out paw prints or dogs, or maybe go for something a bit more unusual with a large scale print of bicycles or leopard print? There is so much choice already, and we’re constantly getting more fabrics in store too.

We’ve also got plenty of other patterns in the shop as well as a really long class list of different garments you can make with Clair, so there is no need to feel uninspired by your spring sewing! Check out the classes page above or pop into the shop and collect a classes list for more information on times, prices, dates and details of the workshop.

Mother’s Day Gifts at Emporia

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and we have plenty of exciting crafty gifts to give to your mum (or ask your children to buy you) in the shop; from lovely handmade crafts created by our local crafters or gifts that they can use themselves for a spot of sewing or knitting, there is plenty to be inspired by.

Cake Pattern Weights
These gorgeous little cake themed pattern weights are just too delicious for words. Bag Mum a box of macarons, doughnuts or some cute little fondant fancies! Priced between £19.99 and £24.00.

Ceramic Hearts
Hand thrown, glazed and fired by local potter maker R. J. Laurenson, these beautiful ceramics would make the perfect gift for any mother who’s been inspired by the likes of The Great Pottery Throw Down. Nothing says I love you like one of these stunning hearts, or the chance to have a decent sized cup of tea from a beautifully decorated cup and saucer.

Sewing Patterns
Gift your mum the gift of craft with any of our fabulous sewing patterns – choose from a wide range, including the whole selection of Sew Over It dress patterns, and of course the wonderful Emporia designs created by Clair herself.

Dress Fabrics
If you’re thinking of getting her a pattern, why not give her the fabric to go with it? We’ve recently got a whole range of exciting dress fabrics, including poplin and lawn, on our shelves, so check out these gorgeous prints and see what you think would be in her style.

Cotton Yarn
Does your mum love to knit or crochet? We’ve got a whole host of lovely spring and summer bright coloured cotton yarn in the store just waiting to be transformed into something amazing. Rowan Handknit Cotton comes in a pastel range of pretty double knit, Designer Yarns cotton is bright and funky, and the Natura XL is an extra chunky version which is great for homewares and all kinds of crochet projects.

Knitting Patterns
Inspire your mum to knit some truly beautiful designs with our range of Rowan pattern books. From beginners to slightly more advanced styles, there’s plenty to get stuck into for knitters of all abilities. Is your mum a complete newbie knitter? Bag her the Lotte Jamieson Irvine cowl pattern, which will gently introduce her to the world of knits and purls.

Fat Quarters
For those on a smaller budget, a selection of fabulously funky fat quarters makes a really thoughtful gift. Choose from our enormous range of cottons and make up a selection that suits her.

Sewing Machines
If you feel like really splashing out on Mum or you are a mother who feels like you deserve a really  big treat, then come and take a look at our lovely Brother sewing machines. From the very basic models at the budget end, up to the all singing, all dancing embroidery machines, these babies are bound to make some mother’s have a very happy Mothers Day. Click on the Sewing Machines link at the top of the blog for a full rundown of all our sewing machines and overlockers, or pop into the shop for a test drive.

Mother’s Day takes place on Sunday 26th March 2017. For more information on any of our fabrics or crafts, give us a ring on 01233 612278 or pop in and see us in person at Park Mall shopping centre.

Easter Holiday Kid’s Sewing Classes

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It may seem like half term has only just finished, but the Easter holidays are drawing ever closer – in just over three week’s time, they’ll be off for another two and a bit weeks, meaning you had better come up with some ways of staving off the boredom without simply relying on the electrical babysitters (iPad, Xbox, phone etc) every day. Don’t let them stay glued to the telly all day – get them inspired with some craft! Or, if you have a seriously crafty child on your hands and if you’re already panicking about how you will come up with enough ideas to keep them entertained, then we have the answer – a whole week of sewing workshops for them to get stuck into.

Make a Rabbit – £20.00, 8+
11am – 12pm Monday 10th April 2017
Kick off Easter week with a fabulous rabbit making class! Sew up your very own Easter Rabbit in a choice of spring themed fabrics, adding a tummy and maybe a fluffy tail if you want. A great class for kids with a passion for sewing and making gifts.

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Sew a Drawstring Bag – £20.00, 8+
Tuesday 11th April 2017
Create a drawstring bag to keep your swimming stuff or PE kit in, or maybe to use for sleepovers, as it’s the perfect size for a pair pyjamas and a washbag. Choose from our ever-widening selection of cool and creative fabrics to sew something both pretty and practical. This class is only really suitable if you have used a sewing machine before – if you’re in doubt, please speak to Clair or Charlotte at the shop before booking.

Make an Easter Applique Cushion – £20.00, 8+
11am – 12pm Wednesday 12th April 2017
Create a simple but effective Easter Rabbit themed cushion in this kids’ holiday class. Choose your rabbit fabric, learn how to sew applique style, and then turn your design in a fabulous envelope cushion cover! Excellent for those new to machine sewing and children who have a little more experience.

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Sew a Simple Kids’ Skirt – £20.00, 8+
11am – 12.30pm Thursday 13th April 2017
Learn how to sew your very first garment in this simple skirt class for kids. Choose from any of our funky prints or go for a pretty spring floral to wear over your Easter holidays. This is a great chance for children who have had some experience sewing with a machine to advance their skills and make something personal to them.

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Decorate an Easter Egg Hunt Bag – £10.00, 4+
11am – 1pm Good Friday 14th April 2017
Cut out fabric designs, create pompoms, use your imagination to create a fantastic, colourful bag to keep all your eggs in when you go hunting on Easter Sunday! Suitable for little ones aged four and up, this is a drop in session running for two hours on Good Friday, however places still need to be booked so we know how many children are going to attend.

All kid’s Easter classes run from Monday 9th to Friday 14th April 2017; times vary; all classes must be booked beforehand, with either a 50% deposit or by paying the full class fee; all fabrics and materials are included in the price of the class. 

Please note that there are age restrictions for all of the children’s classes – these must be adhered to apart from in exceptional circumstances – please speak to us if you need clarification on this. 

New Arrivals for Spring

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It may still be windy, raining and generally grey outside but this week we got hold of some lovely new items for the shop that are a fantastic reminder that spring is on its way! Bright colours and cute designs, plus a brand new kind of product has hit our shelves this week and we have fallen in love with the new arrivals, completely and utterly.

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First up, let us introduce you to these amazingly sweet and incredibly practical pattern weights designed by Oh Sew Quaint. Simply delicious, aren’t they? Available in three different designs, you can up your cutting accuracy with these beautiful little cakes. Choose from classic doughnuts with sprinkles, go old school with the Fondant Fancies, or bring a little French (ooh la la!) patisserie fun to your sewing table with macarons.

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We can’t wait to start using these babies at the shop – but be warned, although they look sweet, you’ll lose a tooth if you try to eat one.

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To accompany these lovely treats are a brand new selection of spring themed prints from Clothworks. Featuring a range of woodland animals and trees, the colours all shout Springtime! and will certainly get you in the mood for some sewing for the new season.

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Foxes, hedgehogs, owls, deer and frogs all feature in the designs, alongside spring blossom and budding flowers, proving that woodland themes don’t have to be about autumn and winter.

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Light, fresh and simple in design, the accompanying prints range from stripes to bluebells and grass-like chevrons, giving you the chance to mix and match for a super cute spring project. We’re thinking kid’s pyjamas, quilts, reversible dresses and homeware to brighten up the last of the grey winter weather.

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The cake themed pattern weights cost £19.99 – £24.99 for a box, and the fabrics are all £16.00 a metre. Perfect gifts for Mothers Day or just a spring themed treat for yourself!

Sample Sale Rail

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When we’re not running classes and workshops, choosing new fabrics or generally helping the sewing populace of Ashford with their purchases, we spend quite a bit of our time developing new patterns and creating things for our window displays. This often results in one-off creations or finished garments that don’t quite tally with the final pattern. Sometimes we end up displaying them around the shop or reusing them in the window, but now we’ve built up quite a stock of them, so we’ve decided to put them altogether on a Sample Sale rail so you can browse at your leisure and see if there’s something you’d like to take home, either for yourself or as a gift.

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Ranging from A-line skirts and simple gathered skirts to our recently developed kimono dress, plus pyjama bottoms for kids and adults, there are some lovely pieces ready to buy on the rail. There are also a few accessories like tote bags and aprons too.

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Joining these are a couple of gorgeous designs from Clair’s previous career as a maternity wear designer – check out this luscious leopard print swing coat and the very funky Vivienne Westwood-ish tartan kimono jacket. Both of these garments work perfectly well for non-pregnant women too, so they are great for pre, post and during pregnancy, or if you aren’t even considering being pregnant! Basically they are fabulous designs that look amazing regardless or whether or not you’re currently growing a person inside you.

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Prices vary according to what we’ve made, and sometimes the prices of several items that are almost (but not quite) the same can be different prices too – this comes down to how much material we have used, how often it’s been on display and whether it’s based on the final pattern version or is an earlier stage in the development process. Either way, all the items on the Sample Sale rail are cheaper than what you would pay to have something made up in your choice of fabric, so they are all essentially a bargain. And there’s always the chance that prices will get reduced further.

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As a rough guide, A-line skirts are £35.00 for knee length and £45.00 for maxi length; kimono dresses are £45.00; simple gathered skirts range from £15.00 to £35.00 depending on length; the tartan kimono jackets are £45.00 and the leopard print faux fur jackets are £45.00. Pyjama bottoms prices vary.

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For more information or to check out some of these lovely items in person, pop into the shop and try something on!

New Canvas, Poplin and Cotton Lawns

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Last week we showed you a couple of pictures of our brand new arrivals and this week we’ve got even more! A fabulously exciting and large delivery arrived earlier in the week and we’ve been spending plenty of time oohing and ahhing over them ever since. We’ve got a brand new selection of canvas prints, some extra poplins and some super delicious cotton lawn, for the first time ever! Take a look a this luscious selection and see if you aren’t inspired to start planning your spring sewing.

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Cotton Lawn
If you’ve never been sure exactly what cotton lawn is, then do come and see us and have a stroke of these super smooth, silky fabrics. Despite feeling almost like a heavy weight silk, these 100% cottons have a very high thread count which gives them a very luxurious feel. Liberty print lawns have become famous across the world for their iconic designs printed onto this light and floaty fabric, which works perfectly for blouses and shirts, lightweight pyjamas, summer wear and underwear. Check out our funky lawns which come in bright summery orange, bold teal leopard print and a geometric style pink and green number.

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Canvas
These lightweight canvases are perfect for making bags and cushion covers, covering lampshades or making pin boards. They are also good for backing lighter fabrics, for example using as the reverse of an apron or to stiffen table mats; there are endless options for creating household and interior decor style items with these practical yet pretty prints. Get your hands on canvas spots, plains and unusual prints and see what you can create.

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Cotton Poplin
Slightly wider, these rolls of poplin will have you dreaming of bright spring and warm summer days in no time. Ditsy line drawn prints and bold and funky florals, cute little elephants, tiny pink owls and French inspired bicycles are all in the mix, alongside a collection of super cute polka dots. Great for all kinds of dress making, you could have the whole family decked out in matching ice cream covered shirts by the time summer comes.

 

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All the poplins, lawns and canvas weight fabrics are priced between £6.00 and £8.00 a metre. For more information, give us as ring on 01233 612278 or pop into the shop to take a look in person.

New Fashion Fabrics in Store!

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More exciting news for sewing fans this week as we got some very exciting packages from a brand new supplier – lovely new fashion fabrics for the Emporia shelves!

Alongside lots of new cottons and some canvas prints, we’re delighted to welcome a couple of new fabric styles to our repertoire – cotton lawn and the very fashion friendly scuba. Both will have dressmaking sewers hot under the collar as they think about all the amazing designs they could be knocking up with these gorgeous prints. Including bright florals and funky animal prints, these fabrics are the perfect excuse to lighten up your winter sewing with a bit of springtime brightness.

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If you’ve never sewn with anything other than plain old 100% cotton, you’re in for a treat with poplin – this is a lovely lightweight fabric that has a higher thread count than most cotton making it feel smoother and softer, and quite floaty. It is absolutely perfect for dresses (tea dresses look particularly scrummy in it), tops, blouses and kids’ clothes too, as it is still cool in summer and great for layering in winter.

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If you’re thinking of delving into the world of lawn for the first time, we’ve got several patterns you could use, including the Simple Sew Keyhole Blouse, Tilly and the Buttons’ Mathilde Blouse, the Sew Over It Doris Dress, and the Sew Over It 1940’s Tea Dress. Or you could always try the free and easy sleeveless top from Colette patterns, which uses just one metre. And if you’re sewing with kids in mind, then our Amelie dress pattern would look gorgeous in lawn, with sleeves or without.

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Scuba is a bit more of adventurous choice for dressmaking, but given it’s non-fraying edges and stable stretch nature, it’s not as tricky as you might think. It’s a double knit with a slight stretch that works well for body-con styles and designs with a little structure like a fifties or biker style jacket; it feels smooth and springy because it’s a man made fibre and has good level of drape. Also the edges don’t fray, so there is no definite need for hemming. The only issues to bear in mind are that darts and hems (if you choose to make them) may add bulk which cannot be ironed down. As scuba is renowned for being a warm, non-breathable fabrics, it’s better for winter and autumn wear rather than summer dresses. Make yourself a simple circle skirt to have a go with this versatile material or try out a simple.

Alongside these lovelies, we’ve also got a whole load of new spotty cottons which are great for anything from clothes to quilts and linings for bags and pencil cases etc. They’re beautifully bright and springlike, which is just what we need right now to get us through the chilly last month of the winter.

The new scuba and cotton poplins are priced at £8.00 a metre, as as the new spot prints – all available in store from today.

Embroidery Machines and Overlockers

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Since the arrival of our fantastic selection of Brother sewing machines last week, they’ve had lots of admiring looks and plenty of oohs and ahhs. This week we thought we’d take the time to have a closer look at a couple of our other very exciting Brother machines, those that can do a little bit more fancy footwork than an ordinary sewing machine. So here’s the lowdown on over fabulous overlocker and the simply amazing embroidery machine! And don’t forget, if you fancy a test drive on these babies, or any of our Brother stock, do feel free to pop by the shop and have a go on them – we’re sure you’ll be just as keen on them as we are.

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1034D Home Lock – £199.00

Overlockers give you the chance to sew with jersey and other stretch materials, adding cuffs and neckbands without over stretching as well as binding off edges with a neat finish. But it’s not just about tackling stretchy fabrics or those that fray easily; you can also make great use of an overlocker to neaten edges and give a much more professional finish to all your sewing projects. This model works as either a 3 or 4 thread machine, and features a built-in carrying handle, a F.A.S.T. lower looper threading system, an instructional DVD, perfect overlock stitches on all types and weights of fabric, a built in light, differential feed, a removable knife and a common snap on presser foot.

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Innov-is F480 – £1,299.00

If you are a big fan of embroidery then this combination embroidery and sewing machine is the perfect machine for you. Designed to tackle sewing and embroidery projects alike, the F480 is superior quality and packed with features. You can create labels, monograms and even design your own stitch patterns with an easy-to-use keypad and numerous advanced feature, all of which make this machine a favourite amongst keen sewers. As well as featuring 182 built-in stitches (including 10 buttonhole styles), 5 Styles of lettering (upper and lowercase), 138 built-in embroidery designs, the SFDS: Square Feed Drive System, and a memory function that recalls previously programmed stitch sequences. Alongside all these amazing embroidery functions you also get the best of the sewing machine side of things with a whole load of extra features like a lock stitch button, a needle up/down button, automatic thread cutter, advanced needle threader and a quick set bobbin winder. The user-friendly colour LCD screen is the icing cake.

All machines come with a 3 year warranty from Brother, basic accessories such as screwdrivers, spare needles, bobbins and a variety of extra feet suitable for that particular model. For more information on each sewing machine at Emporia, pop in and see us for a demo or to have a go yourself.

Sewing Machines are Here!

Our very exciting brand new Brother sewing machines have arrived! We’re very excited to welcome a range of fantastic machines, ranging from starter models at a good price for newbies all the way up to the all singing and all dancing versions old sewing hands will be blown away by. Following our fabulous day of training from our official Brother rep, we are all now fully equipped to give you the low down on each different machine we stock, and give you individual advice on which model might be the right one for you.

Take a look at a few of the lovelies that are now gracing our shelves and see what you think!

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LX17 – £119.00

The LX17 is perfect for basic alterations and repairs. With easy drop in bobbin, a 4 step automatic button hole and included instructional DVD, the LX17 makes an ideal starter machine. This starter machine also comes with 17 built-in stitches (including an overcast stitch) and a soft cover.

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XR27NT – £189.00 (Coming in February)

A more traditional sewing machine, The XR27NT features a wide range of stitches ideal for repairs, dressmaking and home furnishing projects. It also includes features designed to make sewing quick and easy such as the automatic needle threader and quick set bobbin system. It comes with 27 built-in stitches, an automatic one step button hole and an instructional DVD to help you get started.

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Innov-is 15 – £249.00

You may be new to sewing, or maybe you are looking for a sewing machine that’s easy to use, in which case the Innov-is 15 is the perfect choice. Featuring a ‘jog dial’ which makes it very simple to select different stitches quickly, an built-in needle threader, and an LCD screen which shows information about the stitch width and length. There are 16 stitches to choose from, including 3 different buttonholes, plus drop feed setting and top loading bobbin.

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Innov-is 55 Fashion Edition – £449.00

The feature-packed Innov-is 55 Fashion Edition is perfect for dressmaking sewers keen to create their own wardrobes. Whether you are new to sewing or an experienced designer, this machine offers you unlimited ways to shape your pattern picks into impressive ready-to-wear garments. This edition also comes with a Creative Sewing pack worth £59.99, featuring 5 additional sewing feet; more extras include 7 other feet, an advanced needle threader, a quick-set bobbin, and a lettering facility.

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Innov-is 1800Q – £1299.00

When it comes to sewing machines, this one is the Mother Ship – the Innov-is NV1800Q is great for almost any sewing project, such as dress making or home furnishing as it features a large wide table and huge range of standard accessories. Large quilt projects fit easily on the workspace to the right of the needle, which measures a whopping 210mm, and it features  over 230 built-in stitches! Choose from 10 styles of button holes and 5 Styles of leterting upper and lowercase; enjoy the SFDS – Square Feed Drive System which deliver’s a smooth strong feed and the ICAPS – Continuous Automatic Pressure System; make full use of the touch sensor keypad with direct stitch selection, the lock stitch button and the Custom Stitch facility which allows you to design your very own stitches. This beast of a machine also comes with a whole host of extras including a large wide table, a hard case,  3 free motion quilting feet, a walking foot, an adjustable zipper/piping foot, a non stick foot, an open toe foot, a zigzag foot, a button hole foot, an over casting foot, a blind stitch foot, a monogramming foot, and a button fitting foot – phew! That’s a whole load of sewing!

This is just a selection of the machines we will be selling – check back in a week or so for the lowdown on our overlockers and embroidery machines. 

All machines come with a 3 year warranty from Brother, basic accessories such as screwdrivers, spare needles, bobbins and a variety of extra feet suitable for that particular model. For more information on each sewing machine at Emporia, pop in and see us for a demo or to have a go yourself.

Exciting New Arrivals at Emporia!

f480zu1_lNext week we will be welcoming some very exciting new arrivals to the shop; after a few secret meetings with a very nice lady, we are very proud to announce that we will be selling Brother sewing machines at Emporia!

Understandably we are hugely excited by the prospect of having a fantastic range of fabulous machines in the shop, as this means not only will we be able to help all the newbies at the Beginner’s Class take home their first sewing machine, but we will also be able to try out all the different makes and models, before we recommend them to you.

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Of course customers looking to buy a new machine will be able to try out whichever model they want in order to give it a good test drive – there’s nothing like being able to run through a full range of stitches, check out the self threading option and all the digital design functions on a fancy machine is there? And that’s not all, because anyone who attends one of our sewing workshops will be able to try out a Brother machine from our tester range, giving them the chance to see the differences between their own and another model, or perhaps think about upgrading to a slightly more advanced machine.

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Alongside a whole range of sewing machines, ranging from basic models all the way up to incredibly swanky ones, we will also be selling overlockers and embroidery machines! Very exciting news for anyone who loves sewing with jersey, or who happens to be a bit of an embroidery addict. This of course means that we will be running classes with our new overlockers, so if you want to improve your sewing presentation or learn how to sew with stretch fabrics then these classes will teach you the basics and give you the lowdown on overlockers in general, and why they’re not as scary as everyone thinks.

The new machines from Brother will arrive in the shop next week, and range in price from £119.00 to £1399.00 – keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter account for the big announcement of their arrival!

January Scrap Sale

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January is a traditional time for sales and this year we’ve got a record number of fabrics on our post Christmas sale rail, ranging from festive prints to fabulous funky designs, all at just £8.00 a metre. But now we’ve also decided to have a bit of a clear out and we’re selling off a huge range of our contemporary prints in a week long scrap sale!

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Given how much sewing gets done in the shop, it should come as no surprise that we have a vast stack of off cuts and scrap pieces from some of our loveliest prints, just sitting in a basket and waiting to be used at some point. So instead of making a million pencil cases we’ve decided to give you, our favourite fabric buying members of public, the chance to get your hands on some seriously good bargains.

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Now some of you maybe thinking of scraps as tiny, fiddly bits of fabric that you can’t do much with, but this is very much not the case; the average size of the scraps in our Scrap Sale are around 25/30cm square meaning you can make very good use of these pieces for small projects like purses, makeup bags, toys, dolls’ blankets and hanging decorations. Patchworkers will also be able to make good use of these for hexies, quilts, and making up larger pieces for bags and various other projects.

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All the large pieces in the sale are 10 for £5.00, and for those that are interested in the smaller scraps, they are 10 for £1.00 just for this week. Sale fabrics off the bolt are £8.00 per metre, and sale fat quarters are £2.00 each.

The Scrap Sale takes place from 10am Saturday 14th January to 5pm Saturday 21st January 2017.

New Year Classes

Happy new year crafters! We hope you all had a fabulous festive break and are ready to get back in the saddle and start some new sewing, knitting and crochet for 2017. Many people decide to take up a new hobby or commit more time to one they’ve maybe been a bit half-hearted about previously as one of their new year’s resolutions, so perhaps you’ve thought about learning to crochet or conquer your fear of cable knitting. Short winter days and long winter nights are the perfect opportunity to bag yourself some Me Time and get stuck into whatever craft floats your boat.

We’ve themed our first window of the year around all the various things you can make at the shop, ranging from stylish kimono dresses to cosy knitted hats.  So here are our new year classes for you to browse and decide which craft you want to get stuck into.

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Beginner’s Sessions
Choose from sewing, crochet or knitting as our expert team give you the lowdown on all the basics for your chosen crafts.
Beginner’s Sewing
10.30am – 1pm Saturday 7th January & 4th February 2017
Beginner’s Crochet
10am – 12pm Wednesday 11th January & 1st February 2017
Beginner’s Knitting
2.30pm – 4.30pm Saturday 28th January & Friday 24th February 2017

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Kid’s Stuff
Get ahead for warmer weather and practise your sewing skills on clobber for little people. Make a super simple reversible dress, the lovely Amelie dress with or without sleeves, or why not give our brand new reversible shorts pattern a go?
Reversible Dress
10.30am – 1.30pm Tuesday 10th January & Saturday 25th February 2017
Amelie Dress
10.30am – 2.30pm Saturday 21st January & 
Friday 10th February 2017

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Winter Knits
Feel like moving on from just knitting and purling? Make the leap to more interesting knitting with a super easy chunky knitted hat class; or why not try your hand at cables – they’re not as tricky as they look, honest.
Winter Hat
2.30pm – 5pm Friday 13th January & Friday 10th February 2017
Cable Wristwarmers

2pm – 5pm Saturday 4th February & Wednesday 22nd March 2017

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Selfish Sewing
Give yourself a break from doing things for other people and make yourself something to show off your sewing skills: our amazingly stylish A-line skirt pattern is a great make for confident beginners and the new kimono dress still looks hot to trot in winter.
A-line Skirt
10.30am – 2pm Tuesday 24th January & Wednesday 22nd February 2017
Kimono Dress
10.30am – 3pm Friday 20th January 2017 & Tuesday 28th February 2017

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Patchwork
Spend some time creating a beautiful heirloom or growing your patchwork skills in our classes with Mandy Munroe — choose from the basic beginner’s class, or get adventurous with the chance to Sew and Slash or learn ow to produce Log Cabin Birds.
Beginner’s Patchwork
10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 14th January 2017
Sew and Slash
10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 11th February 2017
Log Cabin Birds
10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 8th April 2017

All classes are correct at time of publishing – more classes will be added as the year goes on, so check back for further dates and more classes being added to the schedule. Need more information? Pop into the shop, email us via the Contact Us form or ring us on 01233 612278.

 

Christmas and New Year Opening Hours

 

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Christmas is pretty much upon us now, and there’s nothing left to do but wrap up presents and start to indulge in the festivities. Unless of course you are a committed crafter, in which case you’re probably still wondering if you have enough time to make a hugely complicated king size quilt before Christmas Eve as well as knock up new pyjamas for all your children and your other half, plus knit each of your friends a hat. Well whether you fall into the first camp or the second, or indeed the third camp that is indulging in some purely recreational craft as part of the Christmas downtime, just in case you still need a last minute gift or a browse of the fabrics, here are our opening hours over the holiday period.

Thursday 22nd December 10am – 7pm
Today we are staying open for the last late night Christmas shopping evening as the town gets truly festive with a evening Christmas market. Lots of the usual suspects from the Ashford Farmer’s Market will be in residence, plus Father Christmas will be welcoming kids into his chalet for a present and a photo opportunity. The town will be in full festive mode and no doubt there will be some mulled wine and mince pies to indulge in.

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Friday 23rd December – 10am – 5pm
Christmas Eve – 9am – 3pm
Christmas Day – closed
Boxing Day – closed
Tuesday 27th December – closed
Wednesday 28th December – 10am – 5pm
Thursday 29th December – 10am – 5pm
Friday 30th December – 10am – 5pm
New Year’s Eve – 10am – 2pm
New Year’s Day – closed
Tuesday 2nd January – 10am – 5pm

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So if we don’t see you between now and 2017, we would like to wish you a very restful and warm Christmas and a happy new year from everyone at Emporia.

Fill your Stockings with Christmas Crafts

 

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We are so lucky to have a fabulous collection of local crafters fill up some of the nooks and crannies in our shop, and what better time to take a closer look at them than just before Christmas! With just over a week left, there’s still plenty of time to take some extra care with your presents and buy some unique, handmade gifts that will make the recipient feel even more special on Christmas morning.

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R&R
Richardson & Richardson have been with us for ages, providing the people of Ashford with their amazing laser cut jewellery and cards. For anyone with a passion for anything sci-fi, geeky or just plain out there, we have a fantastic selection of their amazing designs. Featuring pieces inspired by the likes of Harry Potter, David Bowie’s Labyrinth, and Jurassic Park, you can get necklaces, earrings and broochs, which will no doubt gladden the heart of some of your film fan friends or relatives. Similar themes also include unicorns, Christmas crackers, woodland animals, knitting, gothic scenes, and your favourite tipples all transformed into funky jewellery. Prices range from £10.00 – £20.00.

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R.J. Laurenson
Beautiful ceramic pieces inspired by the British countryside, Rachele has transformed her passion for hares, horses, butterflies and stags into gorgeously coloured tableware. Each piece has been layered with different prints of leaves, colour and animal designs creating an intricate and unique pattern. She has created coasters, trivets, over sized cups and saucers, as well as hanging hearts in both big and small. Prices range from £3.00 – £30.00.

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POLLEN
The creator of POLLEN may well have moved to Australia, but she’s still supplying us with her amazing coloured wooden necklaces. Bright, beautiful and funky, these coloured beads come in a range of sizes and arrangements, and make for some seriously striking jewellery. Treat someone you know who likes things a little different from the norm. Prices range from £16.00 – £20.00.

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Rosanna Clare
Rosanna Clare works with recycled leather and wood to create yet more intriguing crafts: trinket trays, tasseled keyrings, purses, sketchbook covers, earrings, necklaces, rings and cufflinks are all part of her range. Using bright colours and simple designs, Rosanna makes the most of her materials to bring out the best in them. Treat yourself or the man in your life to something stylish and creative. Prices range from £8.00 – £18.00.

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HairyHand
Funky designs on t shirts and hoodies, for both kids and adults, HairyHand brings his humorous, tongue in cheek style to Emporia. Bag yourself one of these limited edition graphic pieces for anyone you know that appreciates witty designs on their fashion.

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And if you’re looking for crafty stocking fillers, don’t forget our gorgeous range of fabrics can be presented in the very dainty packages of fat quarter bundles; plus we’ve got embroidery threads, pompom makers, wool needles, sewing scissors, hand sewing needles, rotary cutters, mats, rulers and our brand new sewing baskets if you know someone who would love to receive some crafty equipment under the tree.

There’s still plenty of shopping time left to get sorted before the big day itself, and don’t forget we’re open late on Thursday 22nd December for the Christmas Market which is happening right next door in Park Mall – come and see us during the day or between 5pm – 7pm next week.

Christmas Gift Orders

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So now there are only 17 shopping days left until Christmas (and that includes Christmas Eve people!) we thought it might be a good idea to remind you that if you don’t have the time, skill or inclination to make gifts for your loved ones, we are here to help! Whether you are after something huge and extravagant or a small, simple gift, we can help you choose the materials, pick the design and make it for you, ready for you to wrap and place it under the Christmas tree to make someone feel special on Christmas morning.

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All of Clair’s lovely sewing creations are available to order in time for the festive season, with the Amelie dress (£40.00) and the reversible dress (£35.00) for little girl’s being a very on trend gift right now.

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She’s just finished off making up a very funky reversible in skulls and Wonder Woman print, and the traditional Scandinavian style reindeers and snowflakes have been used on the sleeved version of the Amelie. Simple gathered skirts  (£20.00) are also just as pretty in festive prints like the navy and gold, or the bright stars on white.

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For grownups,  you can treat someone very special to a glamorous kimono style dress (£60.00) in any of our fabulous print – we’re still loving that leopard print very much – or get your hands on an A-line skirt in midi (£45.00) or maxi length  (£55.00) to pair with a funky Christmas jumper.

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If your entire family is well stocked up on festive attire, why not bag them some new Christmas stockings (£15.00) with their name one? Or maybe give someone’s living room the gift of pzazz with a couple of cushions (£15.00)? Everyone needs to carry their own shopping bags with them these days, so why not make them a funky as possible and choose one of our fantastic bright and colourful prints to give someone a unique tote bag (£10.00).

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For those in need of a serious injection of warmth, head to the woolly section for hats (£14.00 – £18.00) and cowls (£14.00 – £42.00) for both kids and adults, headbands (£10.00 – £14.00), wristwarmers (£20.00) and knitted cushions.

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Available in a range of gorgeous colours and varieties of styles, there’s bound to be something that will keep you and your family warm over the winter. Go for matching big and little cowls, or kit your kids and your friends out in a rainbow of stripes and stitches. All knitwear is available in both 100% merino wool or acrylic alternatives.

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As long as you can get your request in by next weekend, we should have enough time to make your order for you before Christmas hits. For prices on garments, accessories and gifts see bold highlights above. Alternatively, pop into the shop for a chat with Clair or Lotte about precisely what you want and we’ll see if we can’t make your Christmas dreams come true!

Kits for Christmas

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Exciting news for those looking for crafty Christmas gifts this year as we launched not one, but three craft kit gift sets! Two from Emporia and one from Lotte Jamieson Crafts – take a look at these lovelies and then tell us you’re not inspired to give the gift of craft? Clair has expanded on her fabulous reversible and Amelie dress patterns, by presenting them in these fabulous sewing kits. Featuring the pattern itself and some exclusive fabric, which you can’t buy off the shelves of Emporia, you can give the gift of sewing to someone this festive season.

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The reversible dress kit comes with two beautiful fabrics that complement each other fabulously – a lilac heart print, and a blue flower and leaf print that features white, lilac and pale pink accents. Super simple and ideal as a first make for beginners, the kit will certainly make for a very happy Christmas morning for many aspiring sewers.

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The Amelie kit comes in a beautiful minty green featuring simple flower designs, and we think it makes the perfect transition from winter into spring. As the Amelie is little more complex than the reversible, we recommend giving this as a gift to sewers who know their stuff. And who know’s they might even have time to get on their sewing machine and having it finished by the time the Queen’s speech comes on!

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The Christmas gift kits are just for sewing fans this year – Lotte Jamieson Crafts has launched a beginner’s knitting kit just in time for the chilly festive season.

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Perfect for those who want to get to grips with making something a bit more on trend than your average scarf, the Irvine Cowl kit contains an easy to read pattern (featuring three different versions ranging from super duper easy to the enthusiastic beginner), knitting needles, 200g of Lotte Jamieson Merino wool and a branded tote bag which can be used as a knitting bag.

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All you have to do is choose the colour of the wool from the range of 12 luscious hues in the shop and you could be giving a newbie knitter the gift of their dreams under the Christmas tree!

The Emporia Patterns Dress Kits are £35.00 each and the Lotte Jamieson Knitting Kits are £26.00 each. All three patterns are also available to purchase individually.

For more information or two see the gift kits for yourself, pop into the shop – we are open 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, with late night opening until 7pm on Thursdays between now and Christmas. We will be closing at 2pm on Christmas Eve.

The A-line Skirt Pattern is Here!

Finally after all our trialing in the classes and pattern testing over the summer, the Emporia Patterns A-line Skirt is here and ready to sell to all you eager sewers!

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Taking up residence alongside the kids’ reversible dress and the Amelie dress, this classic shaped skirt is the often the first bit of grownup dress making that students at our classes graduate onto. Featuring an elegant shaped waistband that sits higher on the natural waist, inset pockets and darts at the back, this pattern is excellent for teaching newbie sewers a few new skills without being too intimidating. The skirt only features four main pattern pieces, making it super simple to construct; plus it comes with easy to understand instructions that lay things out in plain English, so you don’t have to wade through loads of jargon to put it all together.

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Here are some of the versions we have made so far during pattern testing and just because we love it so much!

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Go for full length for a more formal or elegant take, or rock the classic midi any time of year – with either sandals or boots – it’s an extremely versatile piece. You’ve even got the option of turning it into a mini skirt if the mood takes you, the choice is yours! Clair loves a big, bright print, making a strong statement, whereas I love a nautical look or something a bit off the cuff, like big black, white and red skulls!

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Customers have made all kinds of versions at our classes, including white with gold tigers, gold and beige stripes, retro style birds, ditsy florals and watery blue stripes, all of which proves it really is the most wearable and most versatile skirt.

The A-line Skirt pattern is now available in the shop priced £12.00. And if you still need a little hand holding with your sewing, we have spaces on the A-line Skirt classes throughout the rest of the year and into early 2017 – check out the Classes page at the top of the blog for more information.

Three Days at the Wealden Times Midwinter Fair

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This week we are coming to you live from the Hop Farm at Paddock Wood as we host our stall at the Wealden Times Midwinter Fair! Surrounded by a whole host of fabulous other Kent based (and some further afield) businesses, there are Christmas trees, decorations, and a wonderful scent of orange and cinnamon from a stall just behind us – it is basically Christmas gift shopping heaven.

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Fat quarters all tied up like miniature presents

 

We set up our stall on Wednesday this week and the hordes of Kent descended on us for the first time yesterday morning, at 9m sharp – no waiting around for these ladies, they mean business – and we’ve been rushed off our feet ever since!

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Traditional gurning selfie

Here we are in our stand which is located in the green marquee, at precisely G34 – we’ve crammed our space full of quilts, cushions, Amelie dresses and reversible dresses, plus Christmas skirts for that extra festive touch. And this week we’ve launched our very exciting pattern kits! Perfect to give as presents to those crafty types, the kits come with enough fabric to make any size of either the Amelie or the reversible dress, plus the pattern and extras. The fabric included in both these kits is exclusive to the kit package, making them even more special. Beautiful soft lavender and blues for the reversible dress, and a bright wintery green with springtime flowers for the Amelie dress – these two are sure to be waiting under the Christmas tree for plenty of lucky sewers.

Happy & Glorious and their peacock themed stall

As if that wasn’t enough to entice you to venture out to the show for the last day tomorrow, we’re also lucky enough to have a couple of our local business friends with us too! The lovely Happy & Glorious (our real life shop neighbour) is our Wealden Times Fair neighbour too! Here’s Kate and all those beautiful gifts at her fabulously dressed stall – just look at those peacocks! Kate is selling a whole range of British made products from ceramics and prints to silver jewellery and scented candles, and she’s just over the way from us on stand G15.

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Gorgeous prints from Fable & Base

Also just down the road from us in the red tent is our lovely friend Francesca from Fable & Base. Francesca runs her amazing printed fabric company in Whitstable, where she produces some truly fantastic, unique designs using old fashioned printing methods. Whether you want a bespoke print or fancy having a go and designing and hand printing your own pieces,  Fable & Base has the answer for amazing locally produced upholstery fabrics. And soon you’ll be able to get your hands on some of Francesca’s amazing designs as she will be stocking them at Emporia Fabric & Craft!

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It’s not all glamour – Clair had to sit on the floor to eat her soup…

The Wealden Times Midwinter Fair runs for one more day at The Hop Farm at Paddock Wood, from 9am – 4.30pm, so if you want to get your hands on some of our lovely crafts as gifts in time for the festive season, you know where to find us!

Getting Ready for Wealden Times Midwinter Fair

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This week we have been prepping like crazy for the biggest show Emporia has ever taken part in – The Wealden Times Midwinter Fair! This time next week we will have been in resident at the Hop Farm showground for two days already, and about to embark on a third.

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Asides from a massive amount of planning, writing lists and general organising and discussing, we have of course been sewing like mad things; Clair spent the vast majority of the week sewing tiny sleeves into tiny armholes and wondering if she needs to get her eyes tested again. She’s created a beautiful range of seasonally themed Amelie dresses and reversible dresses to sell at the show, and consequently the whole work area has been completely taken over by pattern pieces and machines set up with various coloured threads, so that she can swap from one project to the next at a moment’s notice.  It’s basically like a Brans Hatch pit stop, but with sewing instead of racing cars.

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Asides from all the lovely dresses, we’ll be relaunching the Amelie dress pattern, introducing some new sewing kits, and launching a brand new pattern all at the Wealden Times – plus, there will be some exciting exclusive offers for everyone who drops by our stand. We’re very excited to be going and it definitely signals the start of the festive season – I imagine we’ll both take the chance to explore the rest of the fair and maybe bag a few Christmas presents while we ‘re there.

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We’ll be joined by a whole load of other fantastic British based businesses selling all kinds of delightful goods, and in fact one of our Wealden Times neighbours will be our real life Park Mall neighbour Happy & Glorious! From clothing and kid’s toys, to homewares, jewellery and unusual stationery, there is set to be a plethora of unusual and luxurious goods on sale, alongside a delicious range of foodstuffs in the Street Food Cafe and the tea room. So if you fancy popping along and getting your festive spree on, head to the Wealden Times Midwinter Fair website to pre-book tickets or pay on the door on the day.

The Wealden Times Midwinter Fair 2016 takes place from 9am – 4.30pm Thursday 17th, Friday 18th and Saturday 19th November and we will be located at stand G34, diagonally opposite the ticket office. We hope to see you there!

Have yourself a Hygge Christmas

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Halloween has been and gone, Guy Fawkes Night takes place this weekend and half term is nothing but a distant memory, all of which can only mean one thing – Christmas is well and truly on its way. And so this week we cleared away the autumnal colours and put our  Christmas windows in place.

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Full of bright colours and soft textures, our main window this year takes inspiration from the Danish word Hygge, a buzzword which seems to have swept across Britain in the style of the Vikings, dragging us all into it’s cosy wake. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past six or seven months, or just perhaps buried under a pile of fabric, desperately sewing, you may not have encountered the word, so for those not in the know, Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is the Danish embodiment of cosy, wintery, easy sociability – making the routine and day to day more special, taking delight in the small things, spending time with your family and friends without feeling like you have to cater for an entire army unit, or putting your pyjamas on after collecting the kids from school. Basically, it comes down to being kind to yourself, and others, and indulging in your own well being.

cardigans

So this winter you can see our Christmas winter is full of cosy designs, warm colours and patterns, comfortable clothing and bright prints to ward off the dark and cold of the early evenings. Even our Christmas wreath is made from soft and fluffy pompoms. Pyjamas are the obvious Go To for us when we think of comfort, so you can see three pairs of cosy pj bottoms in the window – featuring Christmassy fabric and super soft brushed cotton.

jumper

But day time clothes can also be comfy if you coordinate with warm wool – the brand new kimono dress is very easy to wear and fits beautifully over leggings and long sleeved funky thermals, match it with a chunky wool cowl and you’re good to snuggle on the sofa or serve up a Christmas meal to friends. Chunky cardigans and slouchy jumpers are your best friends during winter, just make them bright and soft, and pop them on over relaxed trousers or simple skirts to keep your comfort levels high.

kimonoxmas

If you’re thinking of what to buy your loved ones this Christmas, you can’t go far wrong with the Hygge concept for gifts either – cosy quilts, squishy soft cushions, warm woolly cowls and hats, bright acrylic necklaces, pretty patterned prints and soft jersey bracelets. And if you spy some things in the shop that you fancy for yourself, you can always make use of our Christmas Wishlists – simply pop your name and email address on a form, and fill in the boxes with a description of the items you like. Then you can send in your boyfriend/mum/child to the shop and we’ll help them make sure you get just what you want under the Christmas tree.

All fabrics used in the Christmas window are available at Emporia priced £12.50 – £16.00 per metre; the wool used on the models is available from £6.95 – £12.00 for 200g. The prices of the gifts varies.

Interview with Scott Randall of Hairyhand

chevyguvara

This week we take a little time to talk to Scott, the man behind the creative Hairyhand label, who has recently stocked up the Emporia rails with a range of printed children and adult’s clothes. Have a read and see just what inspires Scott, how his career developed and why he would be spending his days sat in a wood cabin if he wasn’t out there being creative.

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Scott Randall aka Hairyhand Creative Agency, Creative Director, Art Director, Designer & Illustrator, Commercial Artist, and ‘Hairyhand’ is me as a solo designer/crafter/artist, all my personal stuff. Whereas Hairyhand Creative Agency produces ‘Creative’ for clients who require marketing services, so that can be any aspect of Branding, Advertising etc.

poloshirt

How did you get into illustrating?
I developed the ability to draw and model make when i was at primary school and I suppose the drive to create stuff has always been there.

Who and what inspires you to create?
I suppose having a creative brain I have a natural desire to ‘create’. Also, you could say that ‘problems’ inspire me to create.

Which crafters/artists/designers do you most admire?
Hard to say as it feels like my brain is totally saturated with work from the last 20 years, but I would say that I admire anyone who can come up with new ideas that actually work. A lot of my creative thinking has been greatly influenced by a creative agency called MotherLondon. I was also inspired by the work of Dan Flavin, a while back. He did lots of installations with neon tubes. And you could say that the stencil designs on my t-shirts are inspired by the likes of Banksy.

chevygreen

When did you decide to make the leap from making for friends and family to creating your own business?
I made the leap in 2008. I was unemployed having taken a year out from work to get married and start a family, so needed to earn some money. I was aware that advertising is apparently a ‘young man’s game’ and at the tender age of 33/34, it would be tough, so rather than wait for someone to employ me, I decide to work for myself.

What five things would you say were essential when you set up your business?
A business plan – I regret not creating one, but at the time it seemed like I had to just get on and do. Funding.
Drive and determination. Ability.

Name three of your most popular designs.
Commercially, I suppose the Wonderbra advert I created as part of One Minute briefs – that got me a Chip Shop Awards nomination. The Chevy Guevara, Washroom Antics and the Evel Kenieval t-shirt designs are popular.

washroom

If you weren’t a designer/creative/artist what would you be doing with your time?
Chopping wood, living in a wood cabin.

Do you run any workshops or take part in any groups?
No, but I’m thinking of running some sort of design/advertising workshops, although I need to decide exactly how they would work. Every now and then I or the agency takes part in OneMinuteBriefs which is a great way to generate content for social channels. Every day a brief is set by @OneMinuteBriefs to advertise a random, generic product e.g. umbrellas or coffee. You’re then meant to come up with an idea to advertise it in just one minute. This can be an advert for a poster of any type of marketing execution. But the truth is, even though it can be done, I don’t think anyone actually spends just a minute.

honey

What’s new with your craft for 2016/17? Tell us about some of the exciting things we can expect to see from you in the shop this year and next.
I’m looking at getting a series of limited edition prints produced for some new/some existing t-shirt designs. I’m looking at turning the Chevy Design into a print, there’s also another design that’s not been published yet called Dinner’s Ready (Hi Honey, I’m Home) that I ‘m looking at getting turned into a print.

Thanks Scott! You can get your hands on Scott’s funky merchandise at Emporia now, with more exciting prints and designs coming soon.

Half Term and Halloween at Emporia

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Autumn is well and truly under way now, the nights are drawing in and there’s a distinct chill in the air. All this makes us want to wrap up warm, drink hot chocolate and indulge in a little bit of cosy creative craft. So to that end, we’ve got plenty happening in the shop to keep kids and adults entertained over this half term. Read on for autumnal inspiration!

Half Term Kids Classes

gatheredskirts

Simple Skirt – £25.00, age 8+
Make your very own simple skirt from our range of fabulous and funky fabrics! Choose a print, sew your skirt and wear it over the holidays to impress your friends. Some previous sewing experience is desirable but not necessary.
11am – 12.30pm Tuesday 25th October 2016

trickbags

Halloween Trick or Treat Bag – £10.00/£20.00 age 4+/age 8+
Make your own spooktacular bag for collecting yummy Halloween treats this half term! Two different sessions mean that little kids can cut out shapes and glue them onto their bags, while older children can sew their own bags from some of our funky Halloween themed fabrics.
Over 4s – 11am – 12pm Wednesday 26th October 2016
Over 8s – 2pm – 3.30pm Wednesday 26th October 2016

pencilcases

Pencil Case – £20.00, age 8+
Pick a cool pattern from our range of fabrics and make yourself an amazing pencil case to start the new term with – the perfect way to impress your friends and your teacher!
11am – 12pm Friday 28th October 2016

spooktacular

Halloween Spooktacular – Free
Emporia is also taking part in the Park Mall Halloween celebrations as we are one of the shops involved in the Trick or Treat trail – kids can collect treats from all participating shops, win prizes for dressing up in their freakiest and most frightening best, and enjoy the street entertainment.
1pm – 5.30pm Saturday 28th October 2016

Adult Classes

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Knit a Winter Hat – £32.00, 14+
Learn how to make your very own hat with this super simple session that teaches you the basics of rib, stocking stitch and decreasing – you’ll even get to make a big pompom to finish to sew on top. Knitted on really big needles with a lovely dense super chunky wool, this hat knits up amazingly quickly and will keep your head nice and toasty this winter. This class is perfect for beginners as long as you have a basic grasp of knit and purl.
2.30pm – 5pm Saturday 22nd October 2016

slashandsewmm

Beginner’s Patchwork – £75.00
This one off introduction to patchwork is run by renowned patchwork designer Mandy Munroe, and involves learning basic patchwork techniques including colour choice, rotary cutting and sewing blocks using modern methods. On the day you will sew four blocks and gain enough skill in order to continue sewing squares and triangles at home so you can finish off your quilt under your own steam.
10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 29th October 2016

For more information on any of our half term classes, click on the Classes page or give us a ring on 01233 612278. Or you can pop into the shop and have a chat with us in person, we’d love to see you here!

October Bloggers Day

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Today we participated in another Park Mall Blogger’s Day as organised by the wonderful Kate of Happy & Glorious. Several of the independent shops took part once again, and we were delighted to see a whole new crowd of local and Kent based bloggers come and visit us to spread the word about what we’re up to in this small corner of the world.

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Everyone gathered at Stag coffee shop first thing as Freddie (one of the owners) talked a bit about some of the exciting events planned we have coming up and Kate gave a brief rundown of the details of the day. With several activities taking place in different locations, the bloggers had a good chance to spend time talking to the owners and exploring the shops and the things they sell. Back to the shop and our first visitor of the day was Laura of Any Something who popped in for a browse and chat about all things sewing, knitting and crochet. Sadly she didn’t have time to stay for a workshop but she was very keen to come back another day to maybe take a class and get some more sewing inspiration.

badgewearing

Just to keep things interesting this time around we decided that we would host a couple of workshops for the bloggers so that they could get a small taste of the kinds of things we get up to when we take classes, and of the general crafty nature of the shop. Clair showed everyone how to make their own woodland inspired felt badges, with a choice of toadstool, badger or fox, and I demonstrated how to knit coasters to allow you to create a cosy autumnal feel in your home.

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Inside Martyn’s Thoughts and Midwife and Life undertook the task of getting to grips with the knitted coasters and did a sterling job – creating a simple and squishy drinks mat that can be embroidered with extra decorative motifs or replicated to create a series to scatter throughout your house, wherever a hot beverage may end up coming to rest. Everyone else opted to sew up some gorgeous foxes, with Innocent Charms Chats choosing to make a very cute little badger brooch. Much laughter ensued throughout the session as all the bloggers chatted with us about their blogs, what they write about and how much they enjoyed undertaking a crafty session with us. And it was a real pleasure to see three men (three!) sewing and knitting in the shop, proving that blokes can be just as crafty when they want to be.

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Over at Happy & Glorious Kate hosted a papercraft workshop, where the bloggers could make their very own paper succulent in a sweet little terracotta plant pot. Not wishing to be left out of the proceeding Clair and I had a go at our own versions too – and we thoroughly enjoyed the chance to take part in a completely different craft, just for a change of scene.

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It was a really busy day, but good fun – if you’re a blogger on the lookout for some interesting events in Ashford, then keep your eyes peeled for the next bloggers days!

 

Christmas Fabric in Stock

stagadvent

We all know it’s coming, in fact some very well prepared people have been planning for this year since last year, but we know that for other people, even acknowledging that it’s getting closer can send them into a blind panic – so out of respect for those people and the fact that we aren’t even past Halloween yet, we’ll whisper it: Christmas fabric is now in stock at the shop. Shhhhh….

(And for those that are too excited for words that we are only 11 weeks from the big day itself, we say: Yay! Christmas fabric is in stock! Woop woop!)

Take a look at all these truly delicious festive prints and imagine what delights you could create with them:

xmascollections

This year we have three different styles: a traditional Scandi style collection, featuring reindeer, trees, hearts, stars and snowflakes in soft red, cream and grey; perfect for children and those that love penguins and polar bears, these cutesy icey scenes of skiing and snow will capture plenty of hearts; and finally our brights collection is just that – full of funky designs for a more modern take on the festive period, printed in super cool bright pink, turquoise, green and orange.

scandi

Obvious suggestions spring to mind such as stockings, Santa sacks, table runners and place mats, but what about sewing up some truly festive pyjama bottoms in the presents print, or with Rudolph’s head and shiny nose all over them? Clair is planning to make herself a kimono dress out of the bright stars on navy, so why not think outside the box and create some more festive outfits for yourself or your family.

brightspenguins

Last year we had several orders for the Amelie dress in the more traditional Scandi style prints and they looked insanely beautiful, just perfect for little girls who would love to open a swishy dress to wear on Christmas Day. But boys needn’t be left out – we think the snowflakes or hearts would make simply adorable waistcoats for the festive period. Or just imagine a one year old in a reversible dress covered in skiing penguins!

preprinted

If inspiration is not striking just yet or if you just fancy an easy life (quite frankly, who doesn’t?), then look no further than the pre-printed designs. Whether you want to make big stockings for hanging over the fireplace, tiny stocking bunting or simply knock up an advent calendar that you can use year after year, these fabulous prints take some of the hard work out of the process. The brights quilt panel could be turned into just that, a snuggly Christmas quilt, or you could create table runners or mats out of the paneled sections too. And who knows, while you busy sewing up one of these numbers, you may suddenly be struck by the perfect set of festive makes to get going with next.

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All our new season Christmas fabric is currently in stock and available to buy at £12.50 a metre. Pop into the shop for a closer look or phone us on 01233 612278 to ask us a question. And don’t forget, Christmas is only 79 days away …(Sorry!)

 

Witches, Wizards, Spiders and Skulls

halloweentable

October is here and Halloween is just around the corner, so this week we’re gearing up for our witchy themed window by showcasing our fabulous Halloween printed fabrics. If you’re planning on making costumes for yourselves or little ones, have some avid Harry Potter fans in your house or simply love a spooky print, you will definitely need some of these amazing fabrics in your life this autumn.

batsspiders

Nothing says Halloween more than spiders and bats, and these super spooky yet super cute little chaps are ideal for kids’ makes – try making some Trick or Treat bags with one of these, and line it with lime green or bright orange for a fantastic contrast. Check out the Amelie dress made up in the bat fabric in the window soon – it’s lovely beyond words.

spiderwebs

These beautiful spider web prints are so delicate they could almost be lace. Clair has already been making good use of both of them, making them into a kimono dress and an A-line skirt for the window, and they look amazing! But you’ll have to wait until next week to see them in person …

adverts

These adverts for various witch and wizardy style products are brilliant too – designed in an old school newsprint style, they are perfect for anyone with a penchant for unconventional Halloween prints. They’re a bit more subtle than your standard scary monsters and zombies; plus they’re perfect for anyone who loves Harry Potter as they are really very reminiscent of adverts for the shops on Diagon Alley in the Daily Prophet. Bags, cushions, curtains, blinds, quilts – all just the thing if you spend your night dreaming of receiving your Hogwarts acceptance letter by owl.

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In the same style as the advert prints are the poison skull symbols – in spooky purple and vibrant green – these would make some fantastically spooky pencil cases or more sophisticated Trick or Treat bags for older gothic-loving kids. Or you could go all out and make a full skirted dress for a Halloween party perhaps. So many  wonderful yet spooktacular Halloween options! (I am planning on making some knitting needle and crochet cases out of these, because I can then pretend they’re actually wand cases.)

We’ve also got appropriately spooky colours of wool in bright orange, zingy green, purple and grey if you fancy knitting or crocheting a mummy, some pumpkins or knitting a Halloween jumper.

All our Halloween prints are available in the shop now, priced £14.50 a metre – the mixed plains are £6.50 a metre.

Knitting Classes for the Autumn

wristwarmer

Despite the lovely hot weather of last week the first signs of autumn are already here – leaves turning red, getting dark by half seven and chilly misty mornings. All of which means only one thing to me – it’s time to get some serious knitting on. (Obviously those who know me well are perfectly aware that I knit all year round, but you get the gist.) So without further ado let’s get stuck into the new autumn knitting class list and see if I can’t inspire your knitting mojo.

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Beginner’s Knitting
Have you wanted to learn how to knit for ages and ages and just haven’t quite managed it? Do you spend hours scrolling on Pinterest looking at all things wool and knitty related? Have you not managed to find any YouTube videos that actually show you how to knit instead of banging on about the kinds of wool they are using and holding their needles in the way of the camera? Then come and learn from me! I can teach you the very basic stuff that will set you out on the pathway to a lifetime of simple knitting pleasure. We will work with lovely chunky wool and big needles so it’s easier to see what you’re doing, plus it knits up much more quickly than the skinny stuff.

From casting on and knit stitch, to purl and casting off, we’ll knit some sample squares before starting you off on a simple cowl or scarf to take home and finish with your new found skills. Used to knit at school and need a refresher? This class is also great for those that want to revitalise old knowledge. The class costs £30.00 per person and includes a ball of yarn and a pair of needles.

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Knit a Winter Hat
Learnt the basics of knitting, but haven’t progressed beyond square or rectangular things like scarves or cowls? Maybe you’ve just mastered the beginner’s techniques but want to get cracking straight away with something a little more challenging? Then this is the class for you. Using 15mm needles – even chunkier than our beginner’s session ones – we’ll knit up a super soft and super cosy winter bobble hat just in time for the colder weather. In this class you’ll be using knit and purl stitches to create rib, work in stocking stitch and learn how to shape your knitting with decreases. Plus, you get to make a fabulous giant pom pom to put on the top! Bonus. The class costs £32.00 and includes enough wool to make the hat and pom pom, plus needles.

wristwarmers

Cable Wristwarmers
If you’ve been knitting for a while and love the look of cables, but have never had the confidence to try them, then now is the time. This is a class for knitters who are pretty confident with their knit and purl stitches, and can work on skinnier needles as we will be using a gorgeous alpaca blend that knits up on 4.5mm needles. Using rib, stocking and reverse stocking stitch, you have the choice of making a pair of beautifully soft cable wristwarmers in either small, medium or large size, so you can keep them for yourself to wear this winter or give as a gift, perhaps for Christmas. And if you’re feeling confident, you can ratchet up the skill level by adding in more detail with a stripe of stocking stitch in between the cables.  Cables tend to look much more complicated than they actually are to knit, so why not conquer your fear and beat the cables at the own game, and get to work with some truly beautiful wool at the same time? The class costs £40.00 per person and includes enough wool to make a pair of wristwarmers, 4.5mm needles and a cable needle.

The first knitting classes to take place this autumn on these dates:

Beginner’s Knitting – 2.30pm – 4.30pm Saturday 24th September – still spaces on this weekend’s class!
Knit a Winter Hat – 2pm – 4.30pm Friday 30th September
Cable Wristwarmers – 11am – 1pm Friday 21st October 

For a full list of classes, times and dates, please click on the Classes page at the top of the blog. 

Clarke & Clarke Upholstery Fabric Now on Sale

clarkeclarke

Remember we introduced a small selection of  Clarke & Clarke upholstery fabric back in July – lots of lovely foxes, hares and woodland scenes – well, it’s been so popular that we’ve decided to branch out and get some more of their lovely designs into the shop.

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Renowned for their classic and innovative prints, Clarke & Clarke have been in the business of producing beautiful fabrics since the nineties as husband and wife team Lee and Emma Clarke create fashion led designs. Their fabric and wallpaper is available in over 90 countries around the world, and now we’re stocking them too.

countrysidefougeres

We’ve got two full ranges in stock, both with a countryside kind of feel, which is just perfect for autumn – plants, berries, animals, feathers and bird designs are all featured, alongside boats, butterflies, toiles, stars and classic script. And to accompany them there’s a range of woven textured plains, which will match up or complement the patterned designs. Fantastic for curtains, cushions, sofa or chair coverings, lampshade and table cloths – you could even make yourself a bag, create a play tent for your children, or sew an apron or two to match your kitchen blinds. Whatever you choose to make, we’re sure you’ll fall completely in love with these gorgeous designs.

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Take a look at some of our favourites and let us know what you think. Or pop into the shop and scout out the whole range before you make up your minds which ones you like best.

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The Highlander collection of plains is £22.00 per metre, and Countryside and Fougeres are £24.00 per metre. The minimum order for any of the Clarke & Clarke fabrics from the pattern books is three metres; postage is £5.00 up to ten metres, after that postage is free. 

New Kimono Dress Pattern

Exciting news, people! A brand new pattern has just landed and we are really pleased to be able to show you the next Emporia Pattern – the Kimono Dress!

bluewhitekimono

Clair’s been busy, beavering away at the finishing touches to this pattern and we are now ready to show you the first Emporia dress for adults. Designed specifically with beginners and new sewers in mind, this easy to make and easy to wear dress features no closures, a super stylish Obi style belt, and handy in-seam pockets. Excellent for beginners or relative newbies to sewing who want to make something for themselves but are worried about progressing on to fiddly buttons or fitting with zips, this dress gives you the chance to make something that will fit you perfectly, regardless of how much sewing experience you have.

kimonohanger

It may look a little like a fancy hospital gown when it’s on the hanger, but once it’s on your body and you’ve tied up the belt, it transforms in a very cool but quite feminine dress, which can be dressed up on down, worn in summer with sandals or in winter with leggings, big boots and a cardy.

leopardprintkimono

Clair’s so pleased with her brand new design that she’s made two for herself already, and one for me! What do you think of our fabric choices? We’re nothing if not adventurous when it comes to choosing prints. And we are clearly loving the kimono vibe right now.

skullskimono

The Kimono Dress classes are taking place this autumn, but unfortunately the actual pattern won’t be available until some time next spring. So if you want to make your very own one for the coming season, check out the dates for the coming classes and sign yourself up.

Kimono dress classes take place on the following dates: Tuesday 4th October, Friday 25th November and Wednesday 14th December from 10.30am – 2.30pm. The class costs £85.00 per person, and includes fabric. If you would like to reserve a place on one of these, give us a ring on 01233 612278, email emporia.fabric@gmail.com or pop in and see us.

Crochet with Emma Jane

emmajane

Good news for crochet fans! The lovely Emma Jane who used to teach crochet at the old shop is back! After quite an extended maternity leave, she’s coming back to Emporia to share her crochet skills with anyone that wants to learn a new craft or brush up on their old one.

Giving beginners the low down on how to cast on and cast off, and become confident with creating your very first crochet stitches, this class will ease you gently into handling your hook and yarn, before you start on bigger and more adventurous projects. Emma Jane will not only demonstrate how to get to grips with the brand new stitches, but she’ll also talk you through the common stitch abbreviations so you can start to contemplate reading patterns. Plus, you’ll get technical handouts complete with those abbreviations, stitch reminder diagrams and a basic granny square pattern to try at home once you’re done.

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This is a lovely relaxed class with Emma Jane, perfect for complete beginners or those that have attempted to teach themselves. The session costs £30.00 per person and includes your first crochet hook and a ball of yarn to get you started.

The beginner’s crochet classes for the autumn take place on these dates:
10.30am – 12.30pm Wednesday 7th September 2016
10.30am – 12.30pm Wednesday 5th October 2016
10.30am – 12.30pm Wednesday 2nd November 2016
10.30am – 12.30pm Wednesday 7th December 2016

If you would like to book a place on any of the classes, drop us a line on 01233 612278 or email us on emporia.fabric@gmail.com, or come and see us in the shop!

New Classes for the Autumn

clair

After much checking of dates, contacting teachers and general organisational madness over the past couple of weeks, our brand new, even more exciting than before, Autumn Class List is finally here! We’ve got so many different workshops taking place between now and Christmas, including half term and festive specials, that we’re sure there will be something appealing for everyone who loves a bit of crafty action.

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We welcome the return of the Beginner’s range of classes, with the Beginner’s Sewing session carrying on on the first Saturday of the month. Joining it are the Beginner’s Knitting sessions, where you can begin to create a basic cowl, on various days each month, and the Beginner’s Crochet carries on with Emma Jane, who is back after her maternity leave, to teach you how to cast on, cast off and become confident with the basic stitches. Mandy Munroe will be back to teach her Beginner’s Patchwork one day course again, giving you the chance to learn about cutting squares, sewing pieces and coordinating colours in order to create a larger quilt blocks.

dresses

The Reversible Dress and Amelie Dress are both back on the schedule, giving parents and grandparents, aunties, uncles and generous friends the chance to make beautiful dresses for some very lucky little girls. Both are available in sizes 1 – 6 and cover two different levels of sewing ability, so if you’ve moved on a bit with your sewing skills and want to make something a little more complex, the Amelie is your ideal next step, while the Reversible design remains a brilliant first time make.

alineskirts

Adult dress making comes in the form of the Pyjamas Class (great for beginner’s and those that want to graduate to trousers), Circle Skirt Class (again, great for beginners and those that love a retro look) and the new A-line Skirt, designed by Clair, which is the latest addition to the Emporia pattern range. There’s also a new addition to the skirt collection with the Simple Gathered Skirt Class, which is a great session for learning how to create a garment based around your measurements and get to grips with inserting a zip. Coming along later in the year is the Kimono Dress Class which is Clair’s first adult size dress pattern – sure to be just as popular as the kid’s dresses, this is a super stylish yet simple pattern which can be worn all year round.

wristwarmerhat

Two brand new knitting classes are being introduced this autumn/winter as Lotte invites you to knit your very first hat, and create some cables in the Wristwarmer Class. The Knit a Hat Class is a good next step for those that have taken the Beginner’s Knitting workshop and want to move on to shaping – created with super chunky needles and wool, your heads will be toasty in no time! The wristwarmer class is designed for those that are confident with knit and purl to learn a basic cable stitch, but if that’s too scary, then you can always join in with a plain stocking stitch version.

pursewalletworkshop

As a special one off for Support Sunday, we are opening from 10am – 4pm and the lovely Rosanna Clare (our resident leatherwork crafter) will be here for a really exciting workshop. You can join her from 12pm onwards to make your very own hand stitched leather wallet or purse, using traditional techniques on her vibrantly coloured leather. You can even emboss your own initials on the finished article!

pencilcases

We’ve also got October half term inspiration for the kids with a Simple Skirt and a Pencil Case class, plus loads more coming up for Christmas, with festive inspiration for all levels and crafts.

All times, prices, dates and age restrictions can be found on the Classes page at the top of the blog – if you’ve got a query, please do get in touch via email, phone, Contact Form or by popping into the shop for a chat.

 

 

Interview with Rachele Laurenson

instoreceramics

This week we take a closer look at the gorgeous ceramic art of another of our crafters, R. J. Laurenson. Here she talks about how she gets inspiration from the Kent countryside, why she loves working with textiles and how having a baby gave her the chance to get up to some serious craft.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Rachele Laurenson, and I am a mixed media artist and a part time art teacher in secondary education.

How did you get into crafting?
I fell back into art after my daughter was born and her grandmother kindly agreed to baby sit for me to attend Adult Education. It started with French classes for a year and then I decided to do pottery. It was love at first touch! I spent many years making pots and progressed to the sculpture classes where we would have models to work from. I took my portfolio to the University of Kent and was accepted as a mature student on their Fine Art degree course. From there I fell into teaching but have always tried to keep up my own practice.

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Who and what inspire you to create?
I am inspired by my surroundings; I live in a little village at the bottom of the North Downs, so I create lots of my art based on nature and local wildlife. I dabble with different mediums: ceramics, textiles, maps and stitch and always try to create layers in my work.

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Which crafters/artists/designers do you most admire?
I love Grayson Perry, who I was lucky enough to meet at the British Museum! I admire artists who are confident of their ability. I am very self-critical and feel like I am a ‘jack of all trades and master of none.’

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When did you decide to make the leap from making for friends and family to creating your own business?
I haven’t fully made the leap yet. I exhibit with fellow artists biannually at the Horsebridge Gallery in Whitstable. It is always a tremendous success and inspires me to produce more art. I attend several markets and discovered Emporia through one in Ashford, which is how my ceramics came into the shop. I still really enjoy my teaching and love that I can have both sides of an art practice

xmastable

Name three of your most popular designs.
At the moment my ceramic tiles and plates are most popular. I use layers of stencilling and bright food-safe glazes with images of hares, horses, butterflies and birds over the top. They are unique, affordable pieces that are only made in limited quantities and are ideal as presents. When I do exhibitions, I sell a lot of textile pieces, which use old map. They are sentimental and nostalgic and people love seeing their local area exhibited in a gallery; I think it gives them a personal connection to the work. I have also been commissioned to make personal sculptures and ceramics for customers.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing with your time?
I love playing tennis and pottering around the house working on projects that I usually don’t finish.

textileart

What’s new with your craft for 2016? Tell us about some of the exciting things we can expect to see from you in the shop or at the Emporia market this year.
I am planning on continuing to create new ceramic designs and I have a market coming up in September at Hever Castle. Now that I am on summer holidays, I am looking forward to getting back into my workshop and spending some time on creating some new clay sculptures.