New Autumn Fabrics

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The kids have finally gone back to school, the weather has taken a turn for the chillier and the evenings feel like they’re are getting darker much earlier too, which can only mean one thing – autumn is well and truly on its way. So it’s perfect timing that these gorgeous autumnal inspired prints have just arrived in the shop. Featuring a host of adorable woodland creatures and cute forest style prints, these luscious fabrics are making us very excited for the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

Bright colours, adorable animals, autumnal florals and folk inspired patterns all come together to create some simply beautiful designs. We’re already thinking about what we can make with these fabrics – an Amelie dress or maybe a simple gathered skirt or two – what do you think? What kind of autumnal makes are you feeling like sewing up? Take inspiration from these lovelies and let us know!

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A simply beautiful teal and turquoise woodland featuring deer, foxes, squirrels, hedgehogs, hares and rabbits is just crying out to be turned into a fabulous autumnal quilt to snuggle under on the sofa.

These dragonfly and butterflies prints are an unusual take on a more traditional spring or summer theme, but in these colours work perfectly for a colder season.

A stunning contrast panel of traditional Scandi style designs on a black background makes for a very easy cheat’s quilt or can be turned into cushions or table runners very easily.

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This gorgeous floral would make a lovely child’s dress or maybe a fresh take on a kimono dress.

Try out these trees for some simple patchwork – such a cute woodland scene will certainly make for a perfect autumn day’s spot of sewing.

This little foxy fellow comes with his own mixers of tiny orange and white stitches – we all know someone who loves foxes, so maybe it’s time to start thinking about making gifts for other people if you’re feeling suitably inspired.

All the new fabrics are priced at £16.00 per metre.

We’ve also taken delivery of some great new accessories for our Brother sewing machines, including Stitch in the Ditch feet, Open Toe and standard walking feet, concealed zip feet, quilting feet, and adjustable binder feet. And a whole range of colourful embroidery threads, plus water soluble sheeting for the embroidery machines. Prices on these products vary, so pop into the shop and take a look at what we can help you to do with your Brother machine.

 

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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.

 

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. 

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. 

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.