New Classes for the Autumn


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.



Summer Classes at Emporia

aye aye 0-3m

Now we’re all finally moved in and getting a bit more settled, we’ve managed to come up with some fantastic classes to keep you and the kids entertained throughout the summer holidays. From friendship bracelets and felt monsters to skirt workshops for kids and grownups, we’ve got the lot – so if you find yourself feeling a bit uninspired with your sewing during August, you know where to look!

Get to Know your Sewing Machine – 10am – 1pm Saturday 1st and 15th August 2015
Our most popular class on getting to know your sewing machine features twice during August – once on Saturday 1st and again on Saturday 15th. Here you can get cracking on your first ever makes, learn how to insert a zip or make button holes. Suitable for ages 8 and up, the class costs £40.00.

Make a Simple Girl’s Skirt – 11am – 12.30pm Thursday 6th and Wednesday 12th August 2015
Now’s your chance to whip up a quick and easy, but super lovely child’s skirt in a morning session with Clair. Make a simple gathered skirt from some of our beautiful fabric and give it to a very lucky little girl to wear on her summer hols. Suitable for beginners, this class costs £30.00 per person and includes fabric.

felt bear

Kids’ Class – Sew a Felt Monster or Bear – 1pm – 2.30pm Friday 7th  and Thursday 20th August 2015
Kids can join Clair for a summer holiday special children’s class, where anyone over the age of seven can sew themselves a funky monster or a cute bear to take home. The class costs £12.00 for an hour and a half.


Kids’ Class – Applique Owl or Monster Cushion – 11am – 1pm Monday 10th August 2015
Join Clair for another summer kids’ class at the shop as she shows children how to cut and sew an applique design for a cushion. The class costs £20.00 per child and includes fabric. Suitable for 12+.

Make a Circle Skirt – 10.30am – 1pm Monday 17th August 2015
Make your very own floral or nautical vintage style circle skirt with Melissa from Aye Aye. Melissa will show your how to recreate her iconic skirt in this sewing session. Choose from our double wide florals, gingham or nautical inspired prints and walk away with a super swishy skirt on the day. £45.00 per person.


Kids’ Class – Make a Friendship Bracelet – 11am Wednesday 19th and 26th August 2015
Get crafty with some embroidery threads  and make an old school style friendship bracelet with Graeme this summer. Suitable for the over 8s, the class costs £8.00 per child and lasts one hour. Threads are included.


Knitted Jewellery Class – 1pm – 2.30pm Friday 21st and Thursday 27th August 2015
Make a knitted bracelet or two in this unusual knitted jersey jewellery class. Although this session is perfect for those who already know how to knit and purl, if you are a confident beginner, you should still be able to get to grips with the simple style of the i-cord. Materials are all supplied on the day, and if you want to take home your super chunky knitting needles so you can make more bracelets, you can purchase them at the end of the class. £15.00 per person, suitable for 12+.

Kids’ Class – Make a Pencil Case – 10.30am – 12pm Monday 24th August 2015
Melissa from Aye Aye is back at Emporia and teaching children how to make their very own pencil case just in time for the new school year. Choose from a variety of funky fabrics and learn the technique of inserting a zip. The class costs £20.00 per child and is suitable for 8+.


Sew a Child’s Shirred Dress – 2pm – 4.30pm Wednesday 26th August 2015
Melissa from Aye Aye shows you how to shirr fabric and make a delightful summer dress for a child. The class costs £40.00 per person and includes fabric..

For more information or to book a place on any of the classes taking place over the summer, pop into the shop for a chat or give us a ring on 01233 612278.

We’ve Moved!


It’s taken two weeks and a whole lot of heavy lifting, but we have now finally moved into our brand new premises in Park Mall. With about a million times more square footage and plenty of room for buggies, mobility scooters and wheelchairs all at once (yes! all at once!) we have made a dramatic transformation from the tiny little place on Bank Street into a huge and spacious unit. We redecorated, restocked and remerchandised the whole place, and last night we relaunched, so if you haven’t managed to come and see us yet, what are you waiting for?!


Gorgeous fabrics on display

The fabric wall is now about three times as big, and with more units due to arrive soon you can expect to see even more new arrivals from Michael Miller, Makower, Riley Blake, Swafing, Guterman and Camelot. Just to kick things off, a massive delivery from Makower containing a whole range of different coloured plains arrived just yesterday, so if you’re in need of any colours of the rainbow, we’ve got the lot!


New rolls of cheaper fabric

We’ve also introduced a new larger and cheaper range, currently on sale on rolls – these nauticals, ginghams and floral prints are double wide and only £7.99 a metre – perfect for dresses and larger scale projects. More jersey has arrived in the shape of plains – including black, pink and pale blue, and we’ve also got plenty of netting now in stock, at only £2.50 a metre.


Aye Aye’s superb collection gets plenty of room now

Those of you getting ready for Christmas already will be pleased to know we’ve got super wide felt in the shop, with festive red and green already selling to the super organised crafters of Ashford. Our selection of vintage buttons and fabrics has also expanded for those that love a rummage, and if you have a passion for vintage fashion too, you can browse the vintage clothes rail for some seriously unique pieces.


Gorgeous new designs from R & R

More wool will be heading to the shop soon, including local brands and some big names – knitters and crochet fans keep your eyes peeled! And the craft selection is still very much in residence, and will be expanding as time goes on. Aye Aye and Richardson & Richardson moved in just as soon as they could, and you can now see a much larger range of their fantastic clothes and accessories on our shelves. New names are joining our old and well loved regulars, and you can expect to see mini interviews and in depth coverage of their products over the coming months as we focus on the unique crafting talent that has come under the Emporia wing.


The brand new sign going up

Classes are taking place as normal, and we’re thinking of reintroducing Stitch and Bitch sessions mid week if we get enough takers – let us know if you’re interested! We’ve already had two classes take place on the shop floor, which fascinated customers and allowed us to be nosy and see the attendees make progress with their projects. Mandy Munroe’s sew and slash patchwork class is returning again next week (10am – 3pm Thursday 30th July 2015) , so if you fancy joining us for that, give us a ring or pop into the shop for more info.


At the launch – tired and a bit shiny, but very happy

Other than that, it’s just business as usual – measuring, cutting, sewing, creating and loving every minute of working in our fantastic new shop.

VE Day Vintage Style


This Friday marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, when the Second World War was finally declared over, and to celebrate we are taking a little look at vintage style. This week’s blog post is all about how you can create some key vintage style for yourself as well as learn a little bit about what women were actually wearing during the war. From the Make Do and Mend campaigns run by the government to the utility clothing worn by women working in the factories and on the farms up and down the country.


We’ve got gorgeous vintage patterns on sale here

Currently showing at the Imperial War Museum London is the Fashion on the Ration exhibition, which showcases clothing for both men and women from the relative comfort of autumn of 1939 to the fully rationed days at the end of the war and beyond. Highlighting the creativity of those on the home front, the exhibition gives you a chance to see just how influential that period of innovation during adversity was.


Classic polka dots make for great retro styles

The exhibition not only makes an excellent day out for those who already have a passion for vintage fashion, but it also makes a great introduction to anyone who has never looked closely at clothing from this period – from austerity rationing to changes in female clothing that accompanied their changing roles, there is plenty to be inspired by here.


Aye Aye headscarves in patriotic colours on sale at the Imperial War Museum London shop

But most importantly of all, for the duration of the exhibition you can buy limited edition retro style headscarves made by our very own Melissa from Aye Aye right there! Simple yet so effective – if you are popping up to London to see the exhibition you can get your hands on one right there in the Imperial War Museum shop. And if you’re not, you can come and see us in our little shop and either pick one off the rail or make your own choice of fabric for a more personal take on vintage style.

They may not be flying over the white cliffs, but these birds have a distinctly vintage feel

They may not be flying over the white cliffs, but these birds have a distinctly vintage feel

For those of us wanting to go that little bit further on a quest for vintage style, we can’t quite head back to the forties, but we’ve got a little selection of patterns from the fifties that could work just as well. Retro blouses and shirts can instantly give your outfit an edge, and with a little help from the Internet you could even adapt one to give a more forties feel. And nothing says retro like a good old fashioned style dress. Make them up in contemporary prints for a twist on the vintage theme or go properly retro with fabrics that speak back to an earlier time.

You can't go wrong with a pretty flower and polka dot combo

You can’t go wrong with a pretty flower and polka dot combo for vintage loveliness

 Love vintage? We’d love to see your creations on both Facebook and Instagram – #Emporiafabrics. Show us what you’ve been up to!

Valentine’s Day at Emporia Fabric & Crafts


February is here, and the weather is still chilly enough to make you want to hide under your duvet all day eating chocolate eclairs, but romance is soon to be in the air as Valentine’s Day rears its pretty little head and invites you over for a little bit of a smooch. Well, we are throwing off the wintery chill and getting ourselves in the mood for love with a shop crammed full of loveliness, just for the most romantic day of the year.


Lots of people seem to think  that anything relating to Valentine’s Day must be a bit twee and slightly tacky, but at Emporia nothing could be further from the truth: we invited our regular crafters to see what delights they could come up with to mark 14th February 2015, and they’ve well and truly come up trumps. Not only is our window display crammed with a whole world of red, pink and white coloured loveliness, but that loveliness also spills over into the shop with extra crafts and gifts on display throughout.


Aye Aye has gone all out for Valentine’s Day with a series of beautiful hair bows and bands made from pink and red gingham, scarlet satin, tartan and pink polka dots, which are currently scattered all over our window tree. She’s also been very, very busy with her sewing machine and has created a wealth of vintage inspired wash bags featuring bright pink flamingos and some cutesy retro pink kittens.


For those that love a bit of heart shaped romance, look no further than the creations of Lotte and Clair. Clair’s gorgeous mini hearts are filling up the boxes in the window and she’s also made these stunning big heart cushions, in polka dot red and some Klimt inspired circle prints. Sitting alongside these are some knitty cushions in vibrant red by Lotte, as well as some dinky ones hanging from the tree.

And if you want to get involved with some romantic crafting and create a little something special for your loved one (or yourself – why not? You deserve it!) there are two Valentine’s Day inspired classes taking place this month: on Saturday 7th February you can join Lotte Jamieson to learn how to knit some hearts for yourself, and on Saturday 14th February you can sit in with Clair as she takes a patchwork heart class.

For more details on the classes or to see our wonderful array of Valentine’s Day gifts and makes, pop into the shop between 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday. We’d love to see you!

Pop Up Emporia Vintage and Craft Market


Now that Halloween and half term are done with we can start to get excited about the festive season: roaring fires, stockings, trees, decorations and of course, shopping for presents. Or at least shopping – it’s tricky to not look at things for yourself when you’re surrounded by lots of lovely gifts. Well, this year we aim to make Christmas shopping (and buying the occasional sneaky self-gift) much easier this year as the Emporia Vintage and Craft Market returns to Ashford next week.


Sarahdipity Crafts

We know the market hasn’t been around much lately, and we’re just as sad about that as you are, but now it’s back and it’s not just here for the weekend. This winter the Emporia Vintage and Craft Market takes over the space next door for a whole six weeks, in a one off special Christmas pop up. Bringing you all the usual suspects in local craft, plus some brand new additions for the festive period, we’re really excited to have the chance to bring the joys of the Emporia market to everyone in Ashford for such a big chunk of time.



Kicking off on Wednesday 12th November 2014, the pop up Emporia market will be open every day apart from Sunday, until Christmas Eve itself, giving you the chance to get your hands on fabulous handmade local crafts and unique gifts. Based on the collaborative market that usually happens once a month, this pop up shop will also feature the crafters themselves behind the tills on certain days of the week. So if you want to ask about bespoke items or getting an product made in a different colour or size, then you will still have the chance to chat to the makers and see if they can’t make your Christmas wishes come true.


Aye Aye Missy

As usual we’ve got a fantastic selection of local makers selling their wares to the public, including many of the regulars who feature their handicrafts in the shop or at the market. Beautifully made jointed bears and cuddly owl cushions will be on sale from Poppykins, whilst Sew Brilliant will be stocking kid’s sewing kits and memory bears and bunting made to order, just for you. Sarahdipity Crafts brings you crocheted cushions, cross stitch pictures and scarves, while old favourite Aye Aye will be stocking her inimitable wash bags, hair bows, purses and glasses cases.


Baa Baa Designs

Laser cut designers Richardson and Richardson will be bringing the bling with their amazing perspex jewellery and wood cut cards. Upcycle Sue is bringing her retro furniture that’s been reworked for the 21st century. Gorjuss Jutes have their painted bags on sale, while Handmade by Narjleen will be stocking sparkly beaded jewellery. Lotte Jamieson is bringing her knitted wares and Scandinavian style Christmas decorations, alongside her quirky fabric cats and birds. There’s more upcycled furniture from Wish Vintage, plus Baa Baa Designs will be on hand with more hats and scarves. Coasters and tea cup candles come courtesy of Pink Gecko, and our very own Saturday girl Olivia will be selling her super stylish vintage vinyl record bowls.


Upcycle Sue

There will be plenty of super duper crafty loveliness going on throughout the whole six week pop up, and there are still more craft designers yet to be announced, so if you are missing the market, now is your chance to get as much Emporia magic in your life as possible between now and Christmas!

The Emporia Vintage and Craft Market pop up shop will open at 10am on Wednesday 12th November, and close at 1pm on Wednesday 24th December 2014.

Halloween Birthday Party


You may not have noticed but we’ve been selling our gorgeous fabrics and crafts on Bank Street for nearly one whole year now. Our official birthday takes place on Friday 31st October 2014, so what with it being Halloween and all, we’ve decided to have a suitably spooky birthday party – and you’re all invited!

Head down to the shop on our birthday and you can expect to see all kinds of special events taking place: for a start, any customer who spends more than £10.00 gets to take away a fat quarter of their choice, absolutely free – nothing says Happy Birthday like free fabric we think. Once you’re in the shop, you can take a look at all our Halloween loveliness before popping out the back to indulge in some delicious tea and biscuits, or coffee and cake as the Casey from Lil’ Tea Tank spends the day with us, serving up her fabulous bakes. She will be in residence from 10am – 3pm, keeping out the chill with her tasty hot treats, and helping us celebrate our very first birthday.


If you feel like getting some craft on while you munch on your cake, then fear not – one of our fabulous tutors will be on hand with a drop in felt brooch making class. Grab yourself some colourful felt and a button or two, and get sewing – all for £5.00. Kids won’t be left out on the day either as they will have the chance to make some suitably spooky makes too: choose from spiders, ghosts or Halloween masks made from felt and wool, for just £2.50 per child. And of course it wouldn’t be Halloween without a quick rummage in the treats cauldron on the way out.

If that all sounds like jolly good fun, then please do pop in and join us as we mark our first anniversary – it would be fantastic to have all our loyal customers come and celebrate with us on the day. And in the meantime, you can take a look at our fantastic Halloween crafts in the run up to the scariest night of the year.


Perfect last minute dressing up aids like funky hair accessories, and the fantastic ghoulish headscarves from Aye Aye are just the thing to pop on your head and wear to your Halloween party. Modeled by Melissa from Aye Aye herself, and the lovely Casey from Lil’ Tea Tank, who will be here on the day, choose from horns, green brains, and creepy hands all perfect for  stylish yet scary dressing.


If your kids are keen to get out and about in their Halloween best, then kit them out with some Trick or Treat bags in our funky fabrics – made by Lotte Jamieson, these cute bags are spot on for little and not so little children eager to get their hands on their share of sweets.


Feel like spooking up your home with something a bit more grownup? These gorgeous witches’ cats also from Lotte Jamieson are just the job for sitting on the sofa or by the fire for your Halloween party. Plus, we’ve got a bumper crop of pumpkins sat in the window, waiting for someone to take them home and make them their own. And as if all this wasn’t quite enough Halloween fare, we’ve got bunting, bats, jewellery and a fantastic selection of spookily themed fabrics for you to make your own crafty creations with.

But most important of all – don’t forget to head our way anytime from 10am onwards on Friday 31st October for our special Halloween themed birthday!