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.

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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 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!

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!

New Classes for the Autumn

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

 

Our First Year in Park Mall – Special Anniversary Offers

This Sunday we will have been resident in Park Mall for one whole year! This is what the shop looked like when we had first moved in:

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Our very first window displays were made in a crazy rush just in time for the shop launch, which was attended by the deputy mayor George Koowaree, and loads of excited sewers and creative types from Ashford. And the rest of the summer seemed to disappear in just as much of a rush as we spent our time moving furniture around, stocking up on new fabrics, buying in new products and sourcing our lovely local crafters. We also started working on our future plans for the shop, getting excited about all the possibilities being in our new location could bring.

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It seems like much longer ago than one year we moved out of the tiny unit on Bank Street and into our much bigger, lighter and more spacious unit here because so much has happened since last summer: we’ve expanded our range of fabrics hugely, introduced a whole lot more sewing equipment, started selling yarn and knitting accessories, and increased the range of classes we offer, including ones that use our very own patterns, which is probably the achievement we are most proud of.

dresses

Emporia Patterns started off with the cute and simple Reversible Dress which has been flying off the shelves since it was launched back in February; loads of you have made your own fantastic versions of this and we’ve been really pleased to have introduced lots of newbie sewers to the delights of sewing little girls dresses in our classes. We recently then added another girl’s dress to the range, with the slightly more advanced Amelie Dress. This too has proven very popular so we can expect to see more amazing versions from all our customers soon! And with more patterns currently under development, there will be more new releases hitting our shelves over the coming months.

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To celebrate all our achievements and our one year anniversary, we are having a flash sale this weekend – on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th all our full priced fabrics will be 15% off. We will be open from 10am – 5pm on both days, so if you’ve had your eyes on a particular print for a while, now is the time to pop down and bag it! And we will be announcing the winner of our very exciting basket of crafty goodies – and if you haven’t managed to enter the draw to win it, there’s still time before Saturday.

Amelie Dress Pattern Launch

ameliedresses

This week we are very excited to announce the launch of our next Emporia pattern – the Amelie dress!

It’s another little girl’s dress, but this time its designer for a slightly more confident sewer than our fabulously simple reversible dress pattern. It comes with a choice of design elements, either with or without sleeves, making it adaptable for all seasons. The pattern is available in ages 1 – 6, and has been tested out by various sewers in our workshops and by some of our valued regular customers.

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And now it’s available for everyone to take home and make themselves! Although it’s a bit more complicated than our first official pattern, we have aimed to keep all our instructions and guidelines as clear and simple as possible, so if you are a very brave newbie, you will still be able to understand everything you’re supposed to do. Clair has never been a big fan of too much jargon when it comes to pattern instructions, so you won’t find the instructions full of complicated terminology – just precise directions and clearly illustrated pictures.

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We’re very proud of our second pattern going out into the big wide world, and we’d love to see and hear how you all get on with it – all feedback is welcome as it helps us to make necessary changes and continue developing our patterns until they are as perfect as they can be. So if you’ve made, or are planning to make, an Amelie dress, then please do share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and let us know what you think – we’re excited to see just how many different versions are out there.

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But if you don’t have the time or the ability to make your own, we do offer the making up service, as with the reversible dress – just choose your fabric from our fantastic selection, tell us the size you want and we’ll sew it up for you. An Amelie dress made to order costs £38.00, with sleeves or without; the pattern costs £12.00.