Spring Knitting and Stitching at Olympia

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Hello! We’re back! After four crazy days at Olympia in London, we are back at the shop and have finally unpacked everything. Mostly. We had a brilliant time at the show and can’t wait to get back to Knitting and Stitching again in the autumn, but for now we thought we’d share some of our pictures and stories with you from the weekend.

Did you see Clair on the Sewing Quarter the other week? Well, not just you and me and lots of Ashford sewers, but loads of other people did and plenty of them came to say hello to us at the show. Clair was mobbed! Lots of ladies were keen to congratulate her on her debut TV appearance and we also sold huge amounts of the Alice trousers and Kimono dress pattern there as a result, plus around 300 metres of fabric! We even had a lady come and find us to show off her kimono dress that she had made after visiting us at the Knitting and Stitching show in October. It’s always nice to see our patterns made up and in the real world, so it was especially lovely to have someone seek us out to show us what they had made. So if you’re a new follower who has recently made an Emporia pattern, do pop into the shop and show us your sewing skills as we love to see what you’re been up to.

We were also thrilled to bits to have Sewing Bee stars Mercedes and Janet come by our stall and have a chat with us! They were both lovely ladies and we talked about the Bee and how they did in the challenges so far – Janet was keen to point out that she still doesn’t know what punk actually means! – and they were both very complimentary about our fabrics and patterns. It was really exciting meeting some more sewing stars for the first time since we got all star-struck by Chinello and Patrick at the Sewing Bee live two years ago!

As usual there were masses of other stands with huge amounts of inspiring and exciting fabrics, patterns, kits and all kinds of sewing related things on sale, so we had lots to look at when we were allowed time off to wander round. Over the course of the four days we caught up with some of our old acquaintances from the sewing world too, including the lovely Tracey from Owl and Sewing Cat who we used to go on fabric buying trips to Germany with; fabulous Beth Studley, Ashford’s resident quilting expert, who was there with her baby bump; friend of the shop and fellow indie pattern designer Sharon from Maven patterns; and inspiring and famous Rachel from the Foldline, who gave Charlotte invaluable advice on jumpsuits.

We also caught up with our rep from Brother, Rachel, who will be down at the shop again soon for another demo day where she will be showcasing some of our brilliant sewing and embroidery machines. Another date for your diary is on Friday 29th March 2019, when Tracey from Owl and Sewing Cat will be joining us for day of drop in sewing projects, so be sure to make a note of that.

As usual there were plenty of inspiring exhibitions to look at too, including several quilts from the Quilters Guild and an upcycling competition which showed how students of fashion had refashioned various items of clothing or reworked unexpected materials to create fantastic creations. Our favourite was an amazing denim dress with some gorgeous applique patchwork designs on the front of a seafront scene with boats and houses.

All in all it was a fabulous four days, full of laughs and hard work. Keep your eyes peeled for dates of the next show!

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Appearing on the Sewing Quarter!

 

We are super, SUPER excited to announce that this week we will be going live on television on the wonderful Sewing Quarter channel! Clair will be appearing alongside presenter Vicky Gordon to showcase two of our patterns to a whole new audience, who will get to see just how easy they are to make and how fabulous they look on. Why don’t you watch along with us?

Hitting the screens of the live sewing channel, the Sewing Quarter at 10am and 12pm on Friday 22nd February, will be our very own Clair Heal, demonstrating both the Alice Trousers and the Kimono Dress pattern. It’s our debut appearance on the channel and Clair is very excited to be showing off her skills live on the telly. Tune in at 10am and you can see her sewing up some of the key parts of both patterns and chatting about her sewing tips, and if you miss this slot you can catch her again at 12pm for more of the same.

The Kimono Dress is one of our absolute best sellers and in fact it is our all time most popular grownup dress pattern: we are constantly told by our customers how much they love it and how many they have in their wardrobes. It is so functional because you can wear it all year round, either with layers or not; you can pattern hack it into a maxi, or change the sleeve length; make it into a top or sew it with the belt unattached so that you can wear it loose like a kaftan or tie it round your waist. It is so, so simple to make and it’s versatility makes it even more wearable than half the things in your ready to wear wardrobe. We love and we hope the viewers of the Sewing Quarter do too!

The second pattern to go under the limelight with Clair’s sewing skills are the Alice Trousers – designed to be a loose and comfy jogger style, spring to summer piece, you can make these from lovely floaty cotton or try something with  a bit of stretch. Perfect for the school run or a day at the park, you can bung them in your suitcase for hot weather holidays and know you’ll always have something to wear for all times of the day or night. Make them up with elasticated ankles for an on trend look or go more formal and leave them straight; pattern hack them into a pair of wide leg style culottes or you can even leave out the pockets and turn them into a pair of pyjama bottoms. They are another well loved pattern from our collection and can be made up in no time.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on either of these patterns, head to the Emporia website and pop them in your shopping basket! Or come and see us in the shop and have a chat with us about the different ways we have made up both patterns. And most importantly, don’t forget to watch Clair LIVE on Friday at 10am and 12pm! And if you can’t join us live, then you can always watch on catch up at the Sewing Quarter online or via their YouTube channel.

Clair will be appearing on the Sewing Quarter channel at 10am and 12pm on Friday 22nd February 2019, Freeview channel 73 or Sky channel 687. 

 

Me Made May 2018

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Me Made May is fast approaching once more and so we are gearing ourselves up for another month of sewing and making inspiration all courtesy of the amazing Zoe of So Zo What Do You Know!

Celebrating all things handmade and wearable, Me Made Me is exactly what we need to welcome in spring and the chance to get out our more summery me made’s out of the wardrobe. And of course it is the perfect opportunity to finish off the those projects that have been languishing in our work areas, waiting to be worn and loved – you know the ones, that dress you couldn’t be bothered to hem, the skirt that needs a zip inserting, or the trousers that you somehow managed to sew both legs the same and you couldn’t face unpicking them and redoing it. Now’s the time to get your sewing mojo back on and sort out your UFOs (unfinished objects) so that you can wear them with pride in May.

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Of course, Me Made May isn’t about rushing out and buying loads more fabric and patterns just so you can create an entirely new wardrobe for just one month; it’s about wearing and enjoying wearing your own handmade creations, be they sewn, knitted, crocheted or upcycled. So if you find that you haven’t been wearing many of the your me made makes for the past couple of months, it gives you the opportunity to find out why. Is it simply that it’s been tool cold and most of your handmade garments are for the summer season? Maybe it’s time to try out sewing with warmer and heavier weight fabrics – perhaps you could look at working with wool or sweatshirting. Do you struggle to get the fit right on your sewing? Why not try out sewing with jersey or look at patterns that have more easily adjustable closures, like wrap dresses or skirts or, anything with a belt tie that you can pull into fit your body. Do you only sew things for special occasions and then feel they’re too fancy for everyday wear? Maybe you should let yourself dress up a bit every now and then! Or look at making more comfortable and casual things in the future – Tilly’s new book contains patterns for a hoody, and you can’t get more comfortable and casual than that!

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Or maybe you’re simply you haven’t sewn or made anything in a while and you’re in need of inspiration. And if that’s the case, then look no further than our window, which showcases our patterns in a fantastically simple colour blocked series.

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You can also follow a global network of sewists taking part in Me Made May 2018 by following the hashtag mmmay18 on social medial sites like Instagram. Head over to Zoe’s blog here to read all about how she started off the movement and to sign up with your pledge to wear a certain number of me made makes for however many days of the month that you want to. Clair and Lotte will certainly be taking part once again this year, possibly with a seven day a week pledge to showcase our self made garments – it’s a challenge we’re happy to rise to! So now it’s your turn – what do you think? We say, Get involved and be inspired! #MMMay2018 here we come!

Inspiration takes many forms so feel free to pop into the shop, browse our patterns and fabrics, or if you can’t do it in person, head to our lovely new website and see what we inspire you to make there.

Crafty Teachers We Need You!

Can you crochet your socks off? Are you a free motion embroidery expert with a passion for showing off? Do you spend hours and hours felting wool until you have reached felty perfection? If so, we would like to hear from you!

We are on the look-out for three new craft teachers to join our gang of crafters and help the lovely people of Ashford learn some new skills – we currently only have sewing workshops run by Clair, and patchworking classes, run by the ever so talented Mandy Munroe. On our list of wanted skills are crochet, free motion embroidery and needle felting, which are all subjects we have requests for from customers at the shop on a regular basis.

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Crochet is something we’re always being asked about and unfortunately our old crochet teacher hasn’t been with us for some time now due to family commitments. But if you fancy hooking up (geddit?) with some of our customers who want to learn the difference between treble and triple stitches (no, me neither) then you could be the new star teacher at our shop. All we need from you is a set of supreme crochet skills, so we know you really know your stuff, and a fairly flexible timescale as to when you can teach.

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Free motion embroidery is a fabulously expressive artform and one that can really make the difference between a good quilt and a great quilt. We have several fantastic Brother machines here that can free motion embroidery, so we have all the equipment, plus the eager customers, but no teacher! Can you help us out? We really hope so!

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Over the years we’ve been asked about various different crafts, but needle felting hasn’t been one of them until recently, and now suddenly some of you seem very keen to get to grips with this very stabby craft. Using real wool and some very sharp needles, the fibres are blended together into a solid sheet or lump to form whatever you want to make – from the very basic spherical blobs to complicated constructions like animals, bags or hats. We are keen to explore this art form with you, so we are keen to find someone who can help us source the right equipment and materials to really make sure we make the best of having new classes, so if you are the right person to spread the joy of felting, we want to hear from you.

If you are a crafty type and fancy teaching others how to get their skills going, we would love you to get in touch. There are only a few things we need from you:

We really need you to be able to teach on Saturdays – not all the time, but even the odd one makes a difference to people who work all week and want to get crafty at the weekend.

We need you to know your onions! You don’t have to be a full on expert with a degree from the University of CRAFT, but we want our customers to feel assured that they will be learning from someone who can help them with their queries, answer relevant questions and help them progress from absolute newbie to happy beginner.

We need you to be super friendly and not scared to talk to people – we understand that everyone gets nervous when they talk in front of a group of people, but we only ever have four or five, possibly six at the most, in a class, so we want the atmosphere to be more like a group of friends getting together for a craft session than a teacher/pupil set up. So if you’ve got the skills but you’re never taught anyone how to do anything before, you might want to have a practice on a friend, just to be sure you like it!

So if you tick all these boxes and would like to join our team of teachers, please do get in touch so we can arrange an interview. Send us an email on emporia.fabric@gmail.com outlining your particular skills and your availability for teaching at the shop.

New Kaffe Fassett Fabrics for Spring

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So now Easter is out of the way and the sun is finally beginning to shine just a little, we thought we would share with you some of our new Kaffe Fassett prints which have arrived just in time for some spring inspiration. As always these floral designs are some of our most popular and they’ve also been proving to be a success on our new website also, so if you take a shine to anything you see on this post today, make sure you grab a couple of metres while you can!

Fabulous bright florals and nature inspired prints are what the Kaffe Fassett Collective are renowned for, and these new arrivals are no exception. Take a look at these beautiful vivid colours that will make amazing spring and summer clothing and tell us what you think would be a great pattern to use. We’ve got plenty of suggestions to go with them too!

Big, bold and beautiful brassicas – these lovelies come in a variety of colour ways and we can see them making up as some amazing kimono dresses, maybe even a maxi one with a side split. Feminine and floaty, they are perfect for the hotter months.

Thousands of colourful circles in the Kaffe Fassett Paperweight range make for an interesting visual design. We think this design would be fantastic paired with the Alice trousers for spring or maybe an A-line skirt. And you could make yourself a purse or handbag with the offcuts.

More Japanese inspired designs lend themselves perfectly to a kimono dress, or why not try them out in a sleeveless Lotta for the summer holidays? Or for those that love the new trend for culottes, go for the Issey design to maximise how well you can showcase the large scale print.

And don’t forget we still have a good selection of other Kaffe Fassett prints still in stock, if none of these quite tickle your fancy. You can see all of them in the shop or take a look at the collection online at our website, here

 

 

Brand New Emporia Website!

http://www.emporia-fabric.co.uk is now open for business!

After many months in the planning and weeks in the making, we are very excited to announce that our brand, spanking www.emporia-fabric.co.uk is now live and kicking! Selling all our fabulous dress patterns and a range of our gorgeous fabrics, the website is now open for you to browse and buy if you can’t get into the town centre to see us in person.

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The website launched last week and since then we’ve been tweaking and sorting out various bits and bobs before today, and now we’re sharing it with you today.  There’s still some work to be done (and plenty of fabrics added to the online shelves!) so pleased be patient with us while we get on top of it – technology doesn’t always come naturally to us so we’re having help from some friendly web engineers. But we are still up and running, so if you see something you want to buy online, then you are good to go!

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The best bit about having a website is that we can now sell our patterns all over the country – and all over the world! So we’ve included loads of lovely photos of the various different designs so that you can see precisely how they will turn out once you’ve made them – which is something we know that sewists find really helpful. Using different fabrics and showing off the different styles you can make from the same pattern, we’ve showcased the lot of some of our most favourite people so you see just what you will be making.

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We’re also planning on selling our sewing machines through the website, so if you know what you’re after there, we can arrange shipment direct to your house for free (for some models). And if you’re after a little sewing themed treat, you can get your hands on our exclusively designed sewing and knitting themed jewellery online too – what more could you want? (More fabric? We’ve got that covered!)

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Having said all that, Clair and I are still in the shop all day Monday to Saturday and we’d be very sad if you abandoned us to shop solely online, so do make sure you pop in and say hello too! New fabrics will be arrived in the store and online very soon, so keep your eyes peeled and if you need to get hold of us in a rush, give us a bell on 01233 612278.

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.