Live at Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC!

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(Well, one of us is – the other one is still in Ashford, but let’s not mention that.)

Exciting times, Clair is live at the NEC this weekend for the massive sewing show Sewing for Pleasure! She arrived on Wednesday ready to set up, and had her first day yesterday – if you’ve in the Birmingham area or fancy a day out, you’ve got another couple of days to go along and see what’s what at one of the biggest sewing and dress making shows in the UK.

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Here she is at our stand, with our gorgeous range of Kaffe Fasset prints, all of our fantastic sewing themed jewellery and our full collection of independently designed patterns, including the brand new releases – the Lotta dress and the Issey culottes.

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And here’s the lovely Hannah who kindly volunteered to help out on the first day – she was busy at work showcasing the kimono dress pattern in some gorgeous Kaffe Fasset material.

So far it’s been hugely busy, as you might expect, but that hasn’t stopped Clair from having a little look around at what everyone else is up to. The Emporia stand is located in front of the Toft Alpaca, selling alpaca wool and animal patterns, and opposite The Silk Route, who are selling silks. Just around the corner is the Brother stand, where our lovely rep Rachael is working, the fabulous Maven patterns who are another indepdent small scale pattern designer.

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And of course our fabulous friend Paul from Fabrics Galore is always nearby, selling his own range of amazing wares. It wouldn’t be an Emporia day out without a visit to see Uncle Paul, now would it?

There are plenty of amazing displays on show all over the hall too including some beautiful kimonos – Clair was very excited to see these, as she loves anything Japanese. Alongside these there are some stunning examples of quilting and embroidery, proving these stitching skills are far from old ladyish.

The Sewing for Pleasure show is taking place at the NEC Birmingham today until Sunday 18th March 2018, and Emporia is located at stand F15.


Two New Patterns are Coming!


For those of you with eagle eyes you may have noticed a couple of new designs featuring in our behind the scenes photoshoot post from last week; you may also have noticed these same new designs have been featuring in our window displays for the last few months. Well, now you can finally make them for yourself as we have two brand new Emporia patterns available to buy from next week! Exciting times!


The first pattern to launch as part of our collection is the Lotta dress; designed with spring/summer in mind, the Lotta has a full gathered skirt, flattering bodice darts, a matching front and back v neck and small puffed sleeves, making it an intermediate pattern. It’s perfect for parties, as a wedding outfit or make it sleeveless for a summer holiday dress – you can also dress it up or down depending on the kind of material you use. Why not make a version in lawn for extra lightweight feel?

Be bold with your print choices for something that makes a real statement or keep it simple with one colour, and let the fabric and the dress design really stand out. Whatever you choose to do, Lotta is certain to grab attention with her form fitting, curve enhancing features.


The other pattern to be released just in time for spring is our Issey culottes. These super stylish, Japanese inspired trousers are just the thing for the transition to the warmer months with their wide legs and cropped length. Featuring a very simple design that is incredibly easy and quick to sew, Issey has in-seam pockets, a fold over waistband with V detail at the back and a zip closure.

Fabric wise you could make these in almost anything! From simple cotton or chambray to wool or needlecord, these culottes work all year round depending on your fabric choice. Why not make up a pair in satin or silk for a spin on eveningwear? Or perhaps try out a denim pair for all year round? There are so many choices and we can’t wait to see what you make yours out of.

Both the Lotta dress and the Issey culottes are available to buy from the shop from next week, priced £12.00 each. If you would like to pre-order one, please give us a ring on 01233 612278 or contact us via the Contact Form.


Behind the Scenes at our Photo Shoots

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Last weekend we teamed up with the amazing Photography Company, i.e. Emily Holland who is part of the Love Ashford team, to take some photos of our patterns for our forthcoming website. We used a gorgeous house out in Mersham which belongs to friend of the shop Hannah – and she kindly agreed to be a model for the day too.

Emily is an amazing photographer and has been working with her sister for a a few years now having set up their company through the Ashford town centre pop up shop. Despite now mainly focusing on wedding photography, they also still do photoshoots like ours and for families too. And this is all on top of Emily still being on maternity leave. You can see their work on Instagram @weddingsbyemandbeth or visit their website

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Brrrm, brrrmm. Modelling pays well these days

We took plenty of photos and had a really enjoyable time posing in the clothes, and we even had help from Clair’s sons – one in the form of another model and the other in the form of child-model wrangler. It was another of our truly iconic Emporia days out, which always involve good fun, plenty of laughs and generally some pastries of some sort. Sadly it was a bit too early in the day for wine, but I know we all had a glass or two when we got home – modelling is hard work!

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Having a hot cross bun break

We are still working on our website, and a couple of other exciting projects that we will be releasing soon, but in the meantime, take a look at the some of the behind the scenes pictures from the day, of our fabulous models and gorgeous location.

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A team effort

Keep your eyes peeled for all our exciting news coming soon!


Saturday Manager Vacancy


We’re hiring! Sadly, our lovely Saturday Manager Raquel is leaving us this spring and we are now on the look out for a replacement. She has been with us since October 2015 and has made a big impact on our weekend customers and we’re very sad to see her go, but with all things in life, we must move on and this means we are now looking to find the next member of the Emporia gang. If you are a big sewing fan, are free on Saturdays and would love to work with us, then read on …

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Since Raquel joined us over two years ago we have expanded our shop quite significantly; we had only just moved into the new premises in Park Mall in July 2015, and now we’ve been here for two and half years and are well and truly settled in. Back then we only had cottons and a few jerseys, and now we stock an even wider range of cottons, poplins, lawn, jersey, felt, velvet, wool, organza, chiffon, sequins, lace, fur, brushed cotton, canvas, net and oil cloth. We also introduced the Brother sewing machines in January 2017 and are now selling sewing, embroidery and overlocker machines. Clair has been super busy over the last two years designing patterns, so we now have ten Emporia patterns alongside our other independent dress patterns. And we have a much larger selection of wools and knitting too. So things have changed a great deal since the old days of the tiny shop!

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Now we are looking for a seriously passionate sewist who would love to join our team; if you are free on Saturdays (and some Sundays), keen to showcase your amazing customer service and would love to get involved with helping out with our patterns, then head to the vacancy page and see how you can join our gang!

Application forms are available from the shop – the closing date for the Saturday Manager job is Saturday 17th March 2018.



Low Down on the Innovis NV1100

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We are hosting yet another Brother Demo Day next week giving lots of you the chance to see just how amazing some of our sewing and embroidery machines are. Rachel from Bother will be here from 10.30am onwards on Friday 16th February, showcasing any machine you want to see in action, and answering your questions. If you are thinking about getting your hands on any of the Brother machines, it’s well worth popping along for a chat to see what’s what and take advantage of any special offers we have on the day.

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A brand new machine will be joining the Emporia stables on that day – the Innovis NV100 – which is also on special offer during February and March 2018. The NV1000 has a fantastic range of features including a large (210mm) work space to the right of the needle, plus 140 stitches (plus lettering), 10 different styles of button hole, and a memory function that allows you to combine and store different stitches and symbols for embroidering. It also comes with all the brilliant extras that Brother is renowned for that make sewing a much smoother experience, like the SFDS – Square Feed Drive System for optimum stitch quality, the advanced needle threader, automatic thread cutter, slide speed control, lock stitch button, drop feed and knee lift.

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A powerful and multi-functional sewing and quilting machine, this model also comes with a variety of different feet like the Zigzag foot, buttonhole foot, overcasting foot, blind stitch foot, zipper foot, a monogramming foot and a button fitting foot. And if you buy this one before the end of March 2018 then you can get your hands on either the Creative Quilt Kit OR Creative Sewing pack and Couture Kit for FREE, both of which are worth over £140.00. The Creative Quilt Kit includes a wide extension table, motion free grip, open toe walking foot, 1/4″ piecing foot with guide and a stitch guide; the Creative Sewing Pack contains a narrow hem foot, a concealed fastener foot, a plastic quilting foot, a braiding foot and a piping foot; the Couture Kit includes an adjustable binder foot, a gathering foot, a 5-groove pin tuck foot, a straight stitch foot and needle plate set, an adjustable zipper/piping foot, and a non stick foot.

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If you would like to take a closer look at the Innovis NV110, come and see it in action on Friday 16th February 2018 from 10.30am to 4pm.



Win Tickets to Sewing for Pleasure!


Next month Clair will be heading off to Birmingham for a very exciting trip to the NEC for the wonderful Sewing for Pleasure, and we are giving away four pairs of tickets FREE to our lovely followers! Featuring a wealth of exciting stalls, stands and demonstrations and workshops, this inspirational exhibition is sure to get any sewing or knitting fan excited.

Taking place at the NEC in the heart of Birmingham, Sewing for Pleasure offers craft fans an amazing array of different stitch themed activities and shopping experiences; whether you are after demonstrations of new and exciting crafts, the chance to get hands on with physical workshops or just the opportunity to browse fabric and craft stalls from all around the country, there is plenty to be inspired by over the course of four whole days. Speak to the experts, shop for yarn, fabric and patterns, and soak up the crafty atmosphere – we’re sure you’ll have a fantastic day out.


For more information on the full run down of Sewing for Pleasure click here.

In amongst all the creativity Clair will be hosting our very own Emporia Fabric & Craft stand, where she’ll be selling new fabrics, the Emporia patterns collection and jewellery, plus a range of sewing equipment and haberdashery. We will also be launching two NEW patterns at the show which will be on sale exclusively at Sewing for Pleasure for the first week. Exciting times! Who wouldn’t want to win tickets to see that?!


The Sewing for Pleasure event takes place from Thursday 15th – Sunday 18th March 2018 at the NEC Birmingham; if you would like to take part in the competition to win a pair of tickets to the show, all you need to do is follow the blog if you don’t already, and leave a comment below saying who would like to go to the event with. We know you all love a day trip out, so now’s your chance – get entering!

The competition runs from Friday 2nd – Wednesday 28th February 2018, and we will announce a winner via the blog and Facebook on Thursday 1st March 2018. Please make sure you follow the Facebook page too, so that we know we can get in touch to notify you if you win.



Win a Cupar Hat Knitting Kit!

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This week we are approaching the end of January, arguably one of the most gloomy and depressing months of the year – Christmas is long gone and spring is still far too far off to look forward to; the evenings are still dark and the weather is still cold! So what can we get excited about? Craft! That’s what! We suggest you take advantage of the Hygge factor of the long nights and make sure your craft stash is well and truly full, before settling down in the evening to make something for yourself, a friend or loved one, or even for charity. Psychologists have been talking for years now about the mental health benefits of all kinds of craft – knitting and crochet can apparently help stave off dementia, and sewing is good for mental agility and mindfulness – so if you’re feeling a touch of the winter blues right now, the answer could well lie in your sewing box or knitting bag.

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And to that end we are sharing the Win a Cupar Hat Knitting Kit competition hosted by Lotte Jamieson Crafts this week. For anyone who has already knitted her super easy Irvine cowl or perhaps wants a simple and quick project to keep their hands busy, this pattern is the ideal next step. Using extra chunky 15mm needles and just one hank of Lotte Jamieson merino yarn, this hat can be made with an extra fold over edge that will keep the wind out and ensure warm ears whatever the weather; add a large pompom for fun or go without, it’s up to you!

The kit contains a pair of 15mm needles, one hank of 100% merino in a colour of your choice, the Cupar hat pattern and a knitting bag to keep it all together. It’s a lovely little treat to mark the end of January, so we’re sure you’d love to take part.

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The competition runs until the end of January, when Lotte herself will be rejoicing at the end of that most wintry month, and the winner will be announced on Thursday 1st February. All you need to take part is like the Lotte Jamieson Crafts page and competition post on Facebook or Instagram, and then comment on the post to say who you would like to knit the hat for, or whether you’d hand it over to someone else to get the knitty benefit. Just follow either of the links below to enter, and don’t forget to comment!

Lotte Jamieson Crafts Facebook Page      Lotte Jamieson Crafts Instagram Page

For more information on the hat pattern, or any other Lotte Jamieson knitting kits, Emporia sewing patterns or tutorials, pop into the shop for some crafty inspiration – we’d love to see what’s keeping you busy during the dark winter months.