Half Term and Halloween at Emporia


Autumn is well and truly under way now, the nights are drawing in and there’s a distinct chill in the air. All this makes us want to wrap up warm, drink hot chocolate and indulge in a little bit of cosy creative craft. So to that end, we’ve got plenty happening in the shop to keep kids and adults entertained over this half term. Read on for autumnal inspiration!

Half Term Kids Classes


Simple Skirt – £25.00, age 8+
Make your very own simple skirt from our range of fabulous and funky fabrics! Choose a print, sew your skirt and wear it over the holidays to impress your friends. Some previous sewing experience is desirable but not necessary.
11am – 12.30pm Tuesday 25th October 2016


Halloween Trick or Treat Bag – £10.00/£20.00 age 4+/age 8+
Make your own spooktacular bag for collecting yummy Halloween treats this half term! Two different sessions mean that little kids can cut out shapes and glue them onto their bags, while older children can sew their own bags from some of our funky Halloween themed fabrics.
Over 4s – 11am – 12pm Wednesday 26th October 2016
Over 8s – 2pm – 3.30pm Wednesday 26th October 2016


Pencil Case – £20.00, age 8+
Pick a cool pattern from our range of fabrics and make yourself an amazing pencil case to start the new term with – the perfect way to impress your friends and your teacher!
11am – 12pm Friday 28th October 2016


Halloween Spooktacular – Free
Emporia is also taking part in the Park Mall Halloween celebrations as we are one of the shops involved in the Trick or Treat trail – kids can collect treats from all participating shops, win prizes for dressing up in their freakiest and most frightening best, and enjoy the street entertainment.
1pm – 5.30pm Saturday 28th October 2016

Adult Classes


Knit a Winter Hat – £32.00, 14+
Learn how to make your very own hat with this super simple session that teaches you the basics of rib, stocking stitch and decreasing – you’ll even get to make a big pompom to finish to sew on top. Knitted on really big needles with a lovely dense super chunky wool, this hat knits up amazingly quickly and will keep your head nice and toasty this winter. This class is perfect for beginners as long as you have a basic grasp of knit and purl.
2.30pm – 5pm Saturday 22nd October 2016


Beginner’s Patchwork – £75.00
This one off introduction to patchwork is run by renowned patchwork designer Mandy Munroe, and involves learning basic patchwork techniques including colour choice, rotary cutting and sewing blocks using modern methods. On the day you will sew four blocks and gain enough skill in order to continue sewing squares and triangles at home so you can finish off your quilt under your own steam.
10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 29th October 2016

For more information on any of our half term classes, click on the Classes page or give us a ring on 01233 612278. Or you can pop into the shop and have a chat with us in person, we’d love to see you here!


Knitting Classes for the Autumn


Despite the lovely hot weather of last week the first signs of autumn are already here – leaves turning red, getting dark by half seven and chilly misty mornings. All of which means only one thing to me – it’s time to get some serious knitting on. (Obviously those who know me well are perfectly aware that I knit all year round, but you get the gist.) So without further ado let’s get stuck into the new autumn knitting class list and see if I can’t inspire your knitting mojo.


Beginner’s Knitting
Have you wanted to learn how to knit for ages and ages and just haven’t quite managed it? Do you spend hours scrolling on Pinterest looking at all things wool and knitty related? Have you not managed to find any YouTube videos that actually show you how to knit instead of banging on about the kinds of wool they are using and holding their needles in the way of the camera? Then come and learn from me! I can teach you the very basic stuff that will set you out on the pathway to a lifetime of simple knitting pleasure. We will work with lovely chunky wool and big needles so it’s easier to see what you’re doing, plus it knits up much more quickly than the skinny stuff.

From casting on and knit stitch, to purl and casting off, we’ll knit some sample squares before starting you off on a simple cowl or scarf to take home and finish with your new found skills. Used to knit at school and need a refresher? This class is also great for those that want to revitalise old knowledge. The class costs £30.00 per person and includes a ball of yarn and a pair of needles.


Knit a Winter Hat
Learnt the basics of knitting, but haven’t progressed beyond square or rectangular things like scarves or cowls? Maybe you’ve just mastered the beginner’s techniques but want to get cracking straight away with something a little more challenging? Then this is the class for you. Using 15mm needles – even chunkier than our beginner’s session ones – we’ll knit up a super soft and super cosy winter bobble hat just in time for the colder weather. In this class you’ll be using knit and purl stitches to create rib, work in stocking stitch and learn how to shape your knitting with decreases. Plus, you get to make a fabulous giant pom pom to put on the top! Bonus. The class costs £32.00 and includes enough wool to make the hat and pom pom, plus needles.


Cable Wristwarmers
If you’ve been knitting for a while and love the look of cables, but have never had the confidence to try them, then now is the time. This is a class for knitters who are pretty confident with their knit and purl stitches, and can work on skinnier needles as we will be using a gorgeous alpaca blend that knits up on 4.5mm needles. Using rib, stocking and reverse stocking stitch, you have the choice of making a pair of beautifully soft cable wristwarmers in either small, medium or large size, so you can keep them for yourself to wear this winter or give as a gift, perhaps for Christmas. And if you’re feeling confident, you can ratchet up the skill level by adding in more detail with a stripe of stocking stitch in between the cables.  Cables tend to look much more complicated than they actually are to knit, so why not conquer your fear and beat the cables at the own game, and get to work with some truly beautiful wool at the same time? The class costs £40.00 per person and includes enough wool to make a pair of wristwarmers, 4.5mm needles and a cable needle.

The first knitting classes to take place this autumn on these dates:

Beginner’s Knitting – 2.30pm – 4.30pm Saturday 24th September – still spaces on this weekend’s class!
Knit a Winter Hat – 2pm – 4.30pm Friday 30th September
Cable Wristwarmers – 11am – 1pm Friday 21st October 

For a full list of classes, times and dates, please click on the Classes page at the top of the blog. 

New Kimono Dress Pattern

Exciting news, people! A brand new pattern has just landed and we are really pleased to be able to show you the next Emporia Pattern – the Kimono Dress!


Clair’s been busy, beavering away at the finishing touches to this pattern and we are now ready to show you the first Emporia dress for adults. Designed specifically with beginners and new sewers in mind, this easy to make and easy to wear dress features no closures, a super stylish Obi style belt, and handy in-seam pockets. Excellent for beginners or relative newbies to sewing who want to make something for themselves but are worried about progressing on to fiddly buttons or fitting with zips, this dress gives you the chance to make something that will fit you perfectly, regardless of how much sewing experience you have.


It may look a little like a fancy hospital gown when it’s on the hanger, but once it’s on your body and you’ve tied up the belt, it transforms in a very cool but quite feminine dress, which can be dressed up on down, worn in summer with sandals or in winter with leggings, big boots and a cardy.


Clair’s so pleased with her brand new design that she’s made two for herself already, and one for me! What do you think of our fabric choices? We’re nothing if not adventurous when it comes to choosing prints. And we are clearly loving the kimono vibe right now.


The Kimono Dress classes are taking place this autumn, but unfortunately the actual pattern won’t be available until some time next spring. So if you want to make your very own one for the coming season, check out the dates for the coming classes and sign yourself up.

Kimono dress classes take place on the following dates: Tuesday 4th October, Friday 25th November and Wednesday 14th December from 10.30am – 2.30pm. The class costs £85.00 per person, and includes fabric. If you would like to reserve a place on one of these, give us a ring on 01233 612278, email emporia.fabric@gmail.com or pop in and see us.

Crochet with Emma Jane


Good news for crochet fans! The lovely Emma Jane who used to teach crochet at the old shop is back! After quite an extended maternity leave, she’s coming back to Emporia to share her crochet skills with anyone that wants to learn a new craft or brush up on their old one.

Giving beginners the low down on how to cast on and cast off, and become confident with creating your very first crochet stitches, this class will ease you gently into handling your hook and yarn, before you start on bigger and more adventurous projects. Emma Jane will not only demonstrate how to get to grips with the brand new stitches, but she’ll also talk you through the common stitch abbreviations so you can start to contemplate reading patterns. Plus, you’ll get technical handouts complete with those abbreviations, stitch reminder diagrams and a basic granny square pattern to try at home once you’re done.


This is a lovely relaxed class with Emma Jane, perfect for complete beginners or those that have attempted to teach themselves. The session costs £30.00 per person and includes your first crochet hook and a ball of yarn to get you started.

The beginner’s crochet classes for the autumn take place on these dates:
10.30am – 12.30pm Wednesday 7th September 2016
10.30am – 12.30pm Wednesday 5th October 2016
10.30am – 12.30pm Wednesday 2nd November 2016
10.30am – 12.30pm Wednesday 7th December 2016

If you would like to book a place on any of the classes, drop us a line on 01233 612278 or email us on emporia.fabric@gmail.com, or come and see us in the shop!

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.



Half Term Classes for Kids

Half term starts this weekend, so if you’re at a loss as to what to do with your kids next week, take a look at our classes for creative children and see what inspiration you can find to keep them entertained.


Make a Pencil Case
11am – 12pm Tuesday 31st May
Join Clair at this cool kids’ workshop for newbie sewers, suitable for 8 and up. Choose from our range of super funky fabrics and make your very own unique pencil case ready for the new school year. £20.00 per child – some previous sewing experience is desirable but not necessary.


Finger Knitting Bracelet Class
11am – 12pm Wednesday 1st June
Lotte invites kids aged 8 and up to come and try their hands at making some bright and summery bracelets. Using the simple technique of finger knitting, children can make themselves or their friends these cool accessories with gorgeous coloured jersey. The class costs £10.00 per child.


Make a Hot Air Balloon Fridge Magnet
10.30am – 11.30am Thursday 2nd June
The lovely Jaina is back with her fabulous decoupage class once more to keep the children of Ashford occupied this half term. Kids will get to cover a hot air balloon shape in brightly coloured paper, wrap a basket with string, and add a magnet to turn the whole lot into a fabulous fridge adoring piece of art! The class costs £12.00 per child and is suitable for 4 year olds and over.


Make a Simple Skirt
11am – 12.30pm Friday 3rd June
This class gives budding sewing enthusiasts the chance to make their very first garment for themselves or a friend. Clair will be teaching this simple class, where kids aged 8 and up can get to grips with sewing a gathered skirt in any of our fabulous prints. Choose yourself something bright and funky for the summer and be the envy of your mates! The class costs £20.00 per child.

All classes must be booked in advance, with a 50% deposit. Please take note of the age restrictions on classes as the sewing machines can be quite tricky for small hands to use. Come and see us in the shop or give us a ring on 01233 612278 for more information.

The Sewing Bee is Back!


Arriving just in time to keep our Me Made May inspiration going ahead full steam, the first episode of the new series of the Great British Sewing Bee hit our screens on Monday night, and we were all agog with excitement. More pattern matching, more tricky construction, a new judge and plenty of sewing dramas ensued and no doubt there will be plenty more to come as the series goes on. Whether you are a seasoned sewer, a complete newbie or somewhere in between this is compulsive viewing for anyone interested in having a nose into how other people sew.

One of the most obvious changes to the programme for series 4 is the removal of WI advocate and sewing expert May Martin, and the arrival of new judge Esme Young, a senior lecturer at London’s Central St Martin’s College and costume designer, just like our Clair! Any doubts that she wouldn’t be up to the mark were dispelled instantly as she thoroughly scrutenised the contestants’ bias cut tops and used the word “arse” to great effect when describing Angeline’s wiggle skirt from the final challenge. Her cutting edge credentials are also backed up by her Hackney studio which has produced garments for films like Trainspotting and Bridget Jones’ Diary.


Patrick is back though and in a weird twist, is being much nicer to the sewers than he was last year – maybe series 4 is his turn to play good cop … And of course how could we not mention the ever delightful Claudia Winkleman! Mad as a box of frogs and always ready with a quick one-liner about dungarees or how she wants to force Patrick into a satin ballgown, Claudia is very much the jam in the judge roly poly, and we adore her for it.
The first episode is always a bit of a jumble when it comes to meeting the contestants and learning their names and backgrounds as there are so many of them and it’s more about what they’re making rather than who they are; we’re still very much at the stage of “the one that did the thing with the lace” and “the man with the big quiff,” but as the worst sewers start to drop out, we have no doubt we’ll start to pick our favourites, as well as remember some of their names. People to watch at this stage we think are Angeline for her fantastic wiggle skirt, Joyce for being such a speedy sewer, and Rumana for her simple but unusual obi skirt.
Asides from all the great sewing, there are always a few wince inducing moments, or scenes that make us feel marginally better because we’ve made the same idiotic mistake in a minute of non-concentration, all of which makes for fantastic telly. Stand out moments for us so far include: tut-tutting at so many skirts being made in the refashioning project, having a quiet titter (as well as a sympathetic Aww) when footballer Josh kept cutting out the same side of his bias top over and over again, and Duncan taking the shears to his final showcase circle skirt minutes before the end, and just hacking wildly into what we assume was very expensive silk. Anything that makes you shout at the television is good in our opinion, and we can’t wait for next week’s episode on children’s clothes.
Feeling inspired by the Sewing Bee? We’ve got plenty of patterns in stock, including the brand new Doris from Sew Over It, classes aplenty and a whole wall and a half of fabric. Pop in for a chat, see what takes your fancy and you could be sewing up a storm in no time.