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.

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New Patchwork Classes for 2018

Yesterday we had a fantastic patchwork class with Mandy Munroe using the fantastic Sew and Slash technique; just look how pleased these ladies are with their new quilt tops!

They all had a brilliant day and are now raring to go on more of Mandy’s fabulous workshops, so this week we thought we’d showcase all of her classes so that you can see just what we get up to when she’s in the shop for the day.

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Beginner’s Patchwork – £75.00
Learn the basic elements of patchwork piecing in this simple class that promises to get you hooked on patchworking. Mandy will help you choose appropriate colours and patterns for your project which will see you get to grips with sewing both squares and triangles.
10.30am – 3.30pm 8th March 2018

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Sew and Slash Patchwork – £75.00
Create an unusual quilt top with this clever take on traditional patchworking. Again Mandy will help you with choosing your prints and get you started on making a fantastic looking project.
10.30am – 3.30pm 29th March 2018

Quilting and Binding Workshop – £50.00
Bring a small project to this class, such as a lap quilt, runner or cushion front and learn how to quilt. Mandy will show you how to straight line quilt, trim and apply binding, giving your piece a properly finished look. Machines with walking feet will be provided in the class.
10.30am – 3.30pm 1st February 2018

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Abstract Free Form Cutting – £75.00
Have you seen the February issue of Popular Patchwork Magazine? Mandy will be teaching the cutting and sewing technique used for this quilt. This academy workshop was a sell out at Festival of Quilts three years running!
10.30am – 3.30pm 26th April 2018

All classes include fabric (excluding the Quilting and Binding class); for more information, please pop into the shop or call 01233 612278. Places must be booked in advance, and can be secured with a 50% deposit.

 

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.

Sewing for Spring

Spring has sprung, and despite the rough winds of this week, we shall all be starting to think about the warmer months and shedding a few layers of jumpers and cardigans some time soon. So if you’re feeling like you want to update your spring wardrobe and inject a bit of colour and print to your clothing, take a look at these inspirational sewing projects that could brighten your day.


Simple Gathered Skirt
This is a super simple project suitable for both kids and adults. You can make this either with an elasticated waistband or cut a separate waistband and insert a zip. Why not add some patch pockets for extra detail and somewhere to keep your phone or a lipstick? Follow Clair’s tutorial to make the easier version for an adult, or if you feel like you need a bit of guidance, there’s always our Simple Gathered Skirt class which takes place on Wednesday 29th March or Friday 28th April.

Applique a T Shirt
Liven up a plain t shirt with some colourful patches of applique. Choose complimentary colours for a subtle spring like feel of blossom and flowers, or go bold and bright with clashing colours and geometric shapes for a funkier edge. Get creative and express yourself through sewing! Either way you can be sure that the design is uniquely yours and no-one else will have anything like it. Unless they’re so jealous of yours, that you kindly offer to make one for them too.

Doris Dress
This new pattern from Sew Over It makes for a great cross-over spring to summer dress as you can vary the length or make it in heavier or lighter weight cotton. We think it would look fabulous in any of our brand new dress fabrics, like the orange and turquoise lawn or perhaps some of the spotty poplin. Have you made a version of this dress yet? Feel free to share as we love to see your makes!

Kimono Dress
Although this is very much an all year round dress, the kimono dress really comes into its own in spring and summer. Choose from some of our amazing fabrics and make something that reflects your personality. Go cool with pink skulls or pretty with bright floras on a navy background; why not try out paw prints or dogs, or maybe go for something a bit more unusual with a large scale print of bicycles or leopard print? There is so much choice already, and we’re constantly getting more fabrics in store too.

We’ve also got plenty of other patterns in the shop as well as a really long class list of different garments you can make with Clair, so there is no need to feel uninspired by your spring sewing! Check out the classes page above or pop into the shop and collect a classes list for more information on times, prices, dates and details of the workshop.

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.

 

The A-line Skirt Pattern is Here!

Finally after all our trialing in the classes and pattern testing over the summer, the Emporia Patterns A-line Skirt is here and ready to sell to all you eager sewers!

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Taking up residence alongside the kids’ reversible dress and the Amelie dress, this classic shaped skirt is the often the first bit of grownup dress making that students at our classes graduate onto. Featuring an elegant shaped waistband that sits higher on the natural waist, inset pockets and darts at the back, this pattern is excellent for teaching newbie sewers a few new skills without being too intimidating. The skirt only features four main pattern pieces, making it super simple to construct; plus it comes with easy to understand instructions that lay things out in plain English, so you don’t have to wade through loads of jargon to put it all together.

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Here are some of the versions we have made so far during pattern testing and just because we love it so much!

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Go for full length for a more formal or elegant take, or rock the classic midi any time of year – with either sandals or boots – it’s an extremely versatile piece. You’ve even got the option of turning it into a mini skirt if the mood takes you, the choice is yours! Clair loves a big, bright print, making a strong statement, whereas I love a nautical look or something a bit off the cuff, like big black, white and red skulls!

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Customers have made all kinds of versions at our classes, including white with gold tigers, gold and beige stripes, retro style birds, ditsy florals and watery blue stripes, all of which proves it really is the most wearable and most versatile skirt.

The A-line Skirt pattern is now available in the shop priced £12.00. And if you still need a little hand holding with your sewing, we have spaces on the A-line Skirt classes throughout the rest of the year and into early 2017 – check out the Classes page at the top of the blog for more information.