Emporia Goes to Germany Part 2


Waking up the next morning we were greeted by a frosty fog that covered the bay, and the chilly air was a shock to the system when we opened the windows on the balcony to take some photos. Coming downstairs for a hearty German breakfast (scrambled eggs, meatballs, cheese, smoked salmon, rye bread, fruit, yoghurt and lots of teeny tiny muffins) we could see that it had snowed over night, and was threatening to do so again.


The atmosphere at breakfast was one of great excitement as there were several other fabric shop owners who had never been to the Swafing factory before, so we listened agog to the how the day would pan out and started to get fidgety to get to the factory and start choosing. Everyone gathered in the lobby at half nine and we were whisked off by Hans and his men once more in the blustery snow, through the town to Swafing HQ.


To say it was a similar feeling to being let into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is an understatement – we were giddy with excitement (as you can see from last week’s pic) and Clair and I had to stop ourselves from doing little jigs of glee as we walked up and down the aisles of fabrics. The other buyers peeled off and started to load their trolleys with various bolts, and despite the relative calm of everyone else (and the workers) we found something hilarious to laugh about on almost every row, whether it was the fact that I declared you could make lovely pyjamas out of almost that every single bolt we looked at or that we were saying “Ooh look at that!” every five minutes, even at the interfacing and hosiery rolls. We were most definitely the naughty school children of the group, giggling, skipping about and generally not behaving like the rest of the grownups.


Despite the fact that Swafing stocks vast amounts of upholstery, craft cotton and fashion fabrics, we were hell bent on picking out some jersey for the shop, so we spent most of our time cooing over the gorgeous prints, stripes and soft, squishy fleeces on show. Most of what we came away with, we think will make some fantastic t shirts, skirts, babygrows, onsies, dresses and hooded tops. And a good deal of it will be suitable for men and boys too, as we specifically picked out some more masculine styles. Cool neutral stripes, large stars on a grey background, knights on chargers next to castles and nautical anchors are all destined to hit our shelves sometime soon.

Unfortunately we couldn’t bring home everything we liked, but here’s some stuff we might have to go back and get next time: thick squidgy fleeces, brightly colours pandas, zingy apples, pink foxes, Angry Birds and some incredibly kitsch gnomes. One print which caused up to have hysterics and still makes us giggle when we look at it, was this bizarre combo of deer in a park, with an oddly proportioned giraffe hanging about in the background. Not really a pair of animals that go naturally together, but then neither of us are David Attenborough, so what do we know? Maybe in Germany this is a sight you see every day. What do you think?


So having spent all day clutching our calculators and grabbing enormous bolts of fabric and hauling them onto our trolley, we headed back to the hotel and had our final dinner, with yet another faux birthday celebration and more sparkler themed ice creams, before tripping up the stairs to our beds, ready to dream about all the delicious things we could make with our brand new selection of fabrics.


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