Reversible Shorts Pattern

This week sees the beginning of July and summer is now well under way, what better way to celebrate than to release yet another Emporia pattern, and this time it’s one for the boys. Another one?! We hear you cry. Yes, another fabulous pattern from the creative genius that is Clair! May we introduce you to the amazing Reversible Shorts!

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These bad boys have been on the cards for a long, long time – ever since the creation of the Reversible Dress – and now they are finally here, ready to be made into funky summer wear for little boys and girls.

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The Reversible Shorts are another super easy pattern which can be attempted by anyone from a beginner up to an expert seamstress. Choose two different prints and combine them to make one pair of shorts that work as two pairs! Super simple, and two for the price of one.

We love these Space Boy style ones created from Michael Miller fabric, backed with a green Minecraft inspired print.

And what about this Round the World themed pair, with a map on one side and boats on the ocean on the other?

We know lots of small people who would love to get their hands on some shorts like these. Here’s Clair’s son Leo modelling a dinosaur print pair.

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The pattern is available in ages two to seven and available to buy from Emporia priced £8.00.

Feel like you need help making these? We’ve got Reversible Shorts classes taking place on these dates:

10am – 1pm Saturday 8th July 2017
10.30am – 1.30pm Wednesday 16th August 2017

Classes cost £55.00 and include all fabric and access to our Brother sewing machines. To reserve a place, pop into the shop and pay a 50% deposit or give us a ring on 01233 612278 for more information.

 

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.

New Fashion Fabrics in Store!

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More exciting news for sewing fans this week as we got some very exciting packages from a brand new supplier – lovely new fashion fabrics for the Emporia shelves!

Alongside lots of new cottons and some canvas prints, we’re delighted to welcome a couple of new fabric styles to our repertoire – cotton lawn and the very fashion friendly scuba. Both will have dressmaking sewers hot under the collar as they think about all the amazing designs they could be knocking up with these gorgeous prints. Including bright florals and funky animal prints, these fabrics are the perfect excuse to lighten up your winter sewing with a bit of springtime brightness.

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If you’ve never sewn with anything other than plain old 100% cotton, you’re in for a treat with poplin – this is a lovely lightweight fabric that has a higher thread count than most cotton making it feel smoother and softer, and quite floaty. It is absolutely perfect for dresses (tea dresses look particularly scrummy in it), tops, blouses and kids’ clothes too, as it is still cool in summer and great for layering in winter.

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If you’re thinking of delving into the world of lawn for the first time, we’ve got several patterns you could use, including the Simple Sew Keyhole Blouse, Tilly and the Buttons’ Mathilde Blouse, the Sew Over It Doris Dress, and the Sew Over It 1940’s Tea Dress. Or you could always try the free and easy sleeveless top from Colette patterns, which uses just one metre. And if you’re sewing with kids in mind, then our Amelie dress pattern would look gorgeous in lawn, with sleeves or without.

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Scuba is a bit more of adventurous choice for dressmaking, but given it’s non-fraying edges and stable stretch nature, it’s not as tricky as you might think. It’s a double knit with a slight stretch that works well for body-con styles and designs with a little structure like a fifties or biker style jacket; it feels smooth and springy because it’s a man made fibre and has good level of drape. Also the edges don’t fray, so there is no definite need for hemming. The only issues to bear in mind are that darts and hems (if you choose to make them) may add bulk which cannot be ironed down. As scuba is renowned for being a warm, non-breathable fabrics, it’s better for winter and autumn wear rather than summer dresses. Make yourself a simple circle skirt to have a go with this versatile material or try out a simple.

Alongside these lovelies, we’ve also got a whole load of new spotty cottons which are great for anything from clothes to quilts and linings for bags and pencil cases etc. They’re beautifully bright and springlike, which is just what we need right now to get us through the chilly last month of the winter.

The new scuba and cotton poplins are priced at £8.00 a metre, as as the new spot prints – all available in store from today.

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!

Kits for Christmas

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Exciting news for those looking for crafty Christmas gifts this year as we launched not one, but three craft kit gift sets! Two from Emporia and one from Lotte Jamieson Crafts – take a look at these lovelies and then tell us you’re not inspired to give the gift of craft? Clair has expanded on her fabulous reversible and Amelie dress patterns, by presenting them in these fabulous sewing kits. Featuring the pattern itself and some exclusive fabric, which you can’t buy off the shelves of Emporia, you can give the gift of sewing to someone this festive season.

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The reversible dress kit comes with two beautiful fabrics that complement each other fabulously – a lilac heart print, and a blue flower and leaf print that features white, lilac and pale pink accents. Super simple and ideal as a first make for beginners, the kit will certainly make for a very happy Christmas morning for many aspiring sewers.

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The Amelie kit comes in a beautiful minty green featuring simple flower designs, and we think it makes the perfect transition from winter into spring. As the Amelie is little more complex than the reversible, we recommend giving this as a gift to sewers who know their stuff. And who know’s they might even have time to get on their sewing machine and having it finished by the time the Queen’s speech comes on!

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The Christmas gift kits are just for sewing fans this year – Lotte Jamieson Crafts has launched a beginner’s knitting kit just in time for the chilly festive season.

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Perfect for those who want to get to grips with making something a bit more on trend than your average scarf, the Irvine Cowl kit contains an easy to read pattern (featuring three different versions ranging from super duper easy to the enthusiastic beginner), knitting needles, 200g of Lotte Jamieson Merino wool and a branded tote bag which can be used as a knitting bag.

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All you have to do is choose the colour of the wool from the range of 12 luscious hues in the shop and you could be giving a newbie knitter the gift of their dreams under the Christmas tree!

The Emporia Patterns Dress Kits are £35.00 each and the Lotte Jamieson Knitting Kits are £26.00 each. All three patterns are also available to purchase individually.

For more information or two see the gift kits for yourself, pop into the shop – we are open 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, with late night opening until 7pm on Thursdays between now and Christmas. We will be closing at 2pm on Christmas Eve.

Interview with Scott Randall of Hairyhand

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This week we take a little time to talk to Scott, the man behind the creative Hairyhand label, who has recently stocked up the Emporia rails with a range of printed children and adult’s clothes. Have a read and see just what inspires Scott, how his career developed and why he would be spending his days sat in a wood cabin if he wasn’t out there being creative.

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Scott Randall aka Hairyhand Creative Agency, Creative Director, Art Director, Designer & Illustrator, Commercial Artist, and ‘Hairyhand’ is me as a solo designer/crafter/artist, all my personal stuff. Whereas Hairyhand Creative Agency produces ‘Creative’ for clients who require marketing services, so that can be any aspect of Branding, Advertising etc.

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How did you get into illustrating?
I developed the ability to draw and model make when i was at primary school and I suppose the drive to create stuff has always been there.

Who and what inspires you to create?
I suppose having a creative brain I have a natural desire to ‘create’. Also, you could say that ‘problems’ inspire me to create.

Which crafters/artists/designers do you most admire?
Hard to say as it feels like my brain is totally saturated with work from the last 20 years, but I would say that I admire anyone who can come up with new ideas that actually work. A lot of my creative thinking has been greatly influenced by a creative agency called MotherLondon. I was also inspired by the work of Dan Flavin, a while back. He did lots of installations with neon tubes. And you could say that the stencil designs on my t-shirts are inspired by the likes of Banksy.

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When did you decide to make the leap from making for friends and family to creating your own business?
I made the leap in 2008. I was unemployed having taken a year out from work to get married and start a family, so needed to earn some money. I was aware that advertising is apparently a ‘young man’s game’ and at the tender age of 33/34, it would be tough, so rather than wait for someone to employ me, I decide to work for myself.

What five things would you say were essential when you set up your business?
A business plan – I regret not creating one, but at the time it seemed like I had to just get on and do. Funding.
Drive and determination. Ability.

Name three of your most popular designs.
Commercially, I suppose the Wonderbra advert I created as part of One Minute briefs – that got me a Chip Shop Awards nomination. The Chevy Guevara, Washroom Antics and the Evel Kenieval t-shirt designs are popular.

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If you weren’t a designer/creative/artist what would you be doing with your time?
Chopping wood, living in a wood cabin.

Do you run any workshops or take part in any groups?
No, but I’m thinking of running some sort of design/advertising workshops, although I need to decide exactly how they would work. Every now and then I or the agency takes part in OneMinuteBriefs which is a great way to generate content for social channels. Every day a brief is set by @OneMinuteBriefs to advertise a random, generic product e.g. umbrellas or coffee. You’re then meant to come up with an idea to advertise it in just one minute. This can be an advert for a poster of any type of marketing execution. But the truth is, even though it can be done, I don’t think anyone actually spends just a minute.

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What’s new with your craft for 2016/17? Tell us about some of the exciting things we can expect to see from you in the shop this year and next.
I’m looking at getting a series of limited edition prints produced for some new/some existing t-shirt designs. I’m looking at turning the Chevy Design into a print, there’s also another design that’s not been published yet called Dinner’s Ready (Hi Honey, I’m Home) that I ‘m looking at getting turned into a print.

Thanks Scott! You can get your hands on Scott’s funky merchandise at Emporia now, with more exciting prints and designs coming soon.

Amelie Dress Pattern Launch

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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.