Kimono Dress Pattern Launch!

Today we are super, super excited to launch the long-awaited pattern for the kimono dress! We’ve been working on this design for quite a while now and have quite a few sewers on a waiting list to get their hands on the pattern. Well now the pattern is here and we can’t wait to see how everyone gets on with making their own kimono dresses!

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Here is Clair’s latest version made out of some of our stunning new Kaffe Fassett designs – big, bright beautiful florals on a super summery background, we think this print shows off the elegant side of the kimono just perfectly.

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The pattern is launching as part of our Me Made May month of celebrating creating your own clothes, so this is the perfect time to crack on with making yourself a summer dress in your choice of fabric. The kimono works well in any of weight of cotton including poplin, quilting, lawn, chambray, lightweight denim, but you could also go for something more luxurious such as raw silk or satin. You could even try it out in scuba or a ponta roma for a slightly different take.

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We know we’ve talked about the elegant simplicity of the kimono dress a thousand times before, but hey, we love it so much, we’re going to do it again: incredibly simple to make and very easy to wear, the kimono dress is a subtly curved shift dress, with a v-neck, batwing sleeves, pockets in the side seams and an obi style belt which is attached just above the natural waistline. It’s incredibly versatile in that you can dress it up for more formal, going out type wear or go casual and keep it for the beach; you can also wear it in the colder months by adding a long sleeved t shirt underneath, leggings and a big cardy to keep yourself more toasty. You can even wear it as a maternity dress – just move the belt up above the bump and wear it a little looser. However you choose to wear it, this dress is such a key part of our wardrobes, we can’t imagine being without one (or two or three or four!).

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Another new and exciting element of this brand new pattern is that we’ve made a few suggestions for pattern hacking at the bottom of the standard instructions, so if you’re a confident sewer or feeling inspired to take a different approach to what we’ve suggested, you can go off piste and create something a bit more personal.

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The Kimono Dress pattern is now available to buy from Emporia Fabric & Crafts priced £12.00. Need help? We’re still teaching the kimono dress as a class – the next two workshops take place from 10.30am – 3pm on 17th June and Tuesday 4th July 2017.

Don’t forget there’s still time to enter our Me Made May competition! Show us a photo of you in a me-made garment using Emporia fabric to win a fabric and patterns – tag us on Twitter using @emporia_market or Instagram using @emporiafabricandcraft, or on Facebook using the shop name, or come into the shop in person and we’ll take a snap of you. 

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Getting Ready for Me Made May

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Now that the school holidays are just about over and we can finally sit back down at our sewing machines without a horde of fiddly fingered little people constantly poking and prodding at our bobbins and pins, etc, we suddenly realised that May is only three weeks away! Which means The Great British Sewing Bee returns to our screens! Hurrah! But not only that – it also means that we get to celebrate the sewing skills of everyone by taking part in the fantastic scheme that is Me Made May, which calls for an even bigger hurrah!

For those not in the know, Me Made May 16 is a fantastic celebration of sewing and self-made wardrobes which was set up by avid sewer and blogger So Zo to encourage people to not just make clothes, but actively wear them with pride and enjoy the sense of achievement that comes with it. Ever since she first came up with the concept in 2010, more and more sewers from around the world have signed up, whether they have been sewing for years or just a few months or weeks, to create a truly global community of like-minded crafters. And once again for 2016, we are joining in with hundreds of other people to take part and make our self-sewn (or knitted, crocheted, woven, etc) pledges.

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Last year’s winner, Zoe, modelling her fabulous dress.

Last year we ran a competition to celebrate the creative month, where we asked anyone who had sewn some clothes for themselves (or a child, friend or relative) with our fabric to send us a photo of themselves wearing it, or even better come into the shop and show us in person. We love to see what you all make with our fabrics, so this gives us an even bigger excuse than normal to be nosy! The winner then received a voucher to spend in the shop, and in 2015 it was Zoe with her fabulous Tilly and the Buttons dress made from our gorgeously grown up pretty Gutermann collection.

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A selection of my MMM wardrobe from last year.

We also charted our own Me Made May wears throughout the month so we could look back at the end of the process and see just how many items of our self-made wardrobe we could actually put on, and not just in May, but the rest of the time too. Which is kind of the point for MMM for us – it reminds us that we do have quite a few sewing skills to hand and we do actually own quite a few hand made garments, which we could be wearing much more often. It also gives us the requisite kick up the bum to actually get on with several projects that we’ve been contemplating for a while – I for one have been meaning to make a second pair of culottes for about three years now, so if I haven’t even started some by the end of May 2016, you are all allowed to come into the shop and pester me about it until I have finished them, whether I like it or not. Zoe is keen to state that MMM is not about forcing yourself to churn out as many items of clothing as physically possible throughout the month, but if you need a little incentive to get going, it is the perfect excuse.

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Clair’s MMM makes and wears.

So what do you do now? Well, decide what you want to pledge, ie. what you’re going to wear and when, then head over to the official site, and sign up, along with all the other sewers, knitters, crocheters, upcyclers and stitchers. And if you have your own blog or Instagram page, you can share your makes/wears with the tag #MMM16 and grab the official badge to put on your site from So Zo too. Clair is pledging to wear a self made item every day of the month, and I will be wearing something homemade every day I’m in the shop and at least two other days of the week too, so you can keep an eye on how we’re doing throughout MMM. Once you’ve made your pledge, let us know your plans and what last minute sewing you’re planning on doing throughout April and May – and don’t forget to enter the competition!

Me Made May Competition Winner!

Me Made May is over for another year, and this week we get to announce the winner of our little competition to see what you’ve all been making and wearing over the course of the month. We had loads of fantastic entries showing off your incredible sewing skills and your brilliant taste in hand made patterns. Thanks so much for all your effort, but there can only be one winner, and that is …

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Zoe with her gorgeous shift dress made from our very own Gutermann fabric! We think she looks fantastic and given how new she is to sewing, we’re incredibly impressed by her sewing skills. Just look at the centre line – perfect pattern matching! May and Patrick would be proud. So Zoe wins a £25.00 voucher to spend on more fabrics from the shop and a big round of applause from Emporia – keep up the good work, Zoe!

Clair and I have not been slacking when it comes to sewing for ourselves and our family either this month, so here’s a little selection of what we got up to during MMM.

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I’ve been wearing a variety of old and new makes this May, with the most popular item being my brand new anchor print A line skirt; designed by Clair and made by me one afternoon in the shop, I love this skirt more than words can describe and it definitely wins my personal favourite for MMM this year. Other garments I created for Me Made May 2015 include: camisole and matching pyjama bottoms in zebra print cotton lawn (camisole pattern from the Sewing Bee book 1 and pj bottoms by Clair); a quick jersey star print cowl; a denim coloured wrap skirt (taken from an existing vintage skirt); a hand knitted nautical knot necklace (designed by me); and a kimono sleeve top (Salme patterns). Two classic Me Made items that get dragged out every summer but I only had the chance to wear a couple of times this May as the weather was so cold are my much loved culottes and the long A line skirt made from an Indian bedspread.

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Clair hasn’t just been sewing for herself this May as you can see from her little selection. During May she wore: her red and green print belt (self designed); a kimono dress covered with little Japanese girls (self drafted); a grey t shirt embellished with applique flowers; a leopard print stretch bubble hem skirt, which has been a staple part of her wardrobe for years (self drafted); a stylised felt flower brooch made during the Emporia first birthday party create session; and a black and white star print wrap skirt (Tilly & The Buttons pattern). She also made a jumper and a hoody lined with red jersey from our fabulous Marc Jacobs sweater material for two of her boys this May.

Overall, we’re really pleased with how much we wore our MMM clothes and how it has inspired us to do more sewing. And we’re also really pleased with how many of you we have inspired this month too – so a special mention goes to this little girl and her fabulous VE inspired aeroplane dress.

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Well done everyone! Let’s hope even more of you are creating fabulous garments by this time next year. Roll on MMM 2016!

Competition winner!

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Congratulations Helen Parker! Helen is the proud winner of our Christmas Makes competition which she won with this gorgeous jacket, made from a variety of different Emporia fabrics. The jacket was made as a Christmas gift for her great niece Florence, whom we are sure looks very lovely in it. Helen – you are welcome to come into the shop and collect your prize of a metre of whichever fabric you choose. We look forward to seeing you soon!

And in other news, we’re very aware of just how grey and grim the weather has been recently. The sky is gloomy, it’s very cold and the daylight still doesn’t seem to last very long; just as we hit mid-January, it’s still over two months until the start of spring, and we’re inclined to feel the winter blues just a bit more. Well, if you’re suffering from a touch of post Christmas grumps, then we’re here to prescribe you a large dose of craft. Proving that grey doesn’t have to be gloomy, here are some of our most pretty, inspiring and funky grey prints on sale in the shop right now.

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Fake your knitting abilities with this woolly looking print, get inspired by nature with these cool and calm birds, or try out some scratchy zig zaggy style lines.

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Pretty greys come in all shades, from dark to light, and warm to cold: this regal number features mini crowns – just right for a prince or princess; snowflakes, spirals, flowers or circles – this lacey print is just crying out to be matched with a zingy green or teal; and who doesn’t love stars? Simple prints like this are great all rounders, and if you match them up with their other colourway partners, you’ll create a whole solar system of loveliness.

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Grey and orange ping off each other like rubber bands on a slingshot – go funky with square spirals or try a little Aboriginality in your designs with this innovative Makower design, and simple two tone circles make for a very 60s feel for circle skirts.

Whatever you think about grey – it really isn’t boring at all. Feel inspired? Head to the shop and take a look for yourself, or check out our classes online and see if anything takes your fancy. Don’t let the winter bring you down – grab your sewing machine and make something up!

Christmas Competition

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With only one week to go until Christmas, we are really starting to feel the festive spirit. The pop up shop has been busy with loads of customers choosing handmade presents for their friends and families, and so many people have been coming into the shop in recent weeks to buy fabric or supplies for things they are making for gifts. Obviously it is the season for giving, but we think it’s also the season for being nosy. Not only do we want to know what you’re buying for your mum, dad, aunty and cousins etc, but we want to know what you’re planning on making for your niece, nephew and grandma.

Clair is currently toiling away making a gorgeous quilt for her mother in law, and I’m busy sewing together masses of huge squares to create a play tent for my two little ones, inspired by the one in the Pretty Patches magazine (new issue in the shop now btw!). Last year I also made my husband a wash bag, which I was incredibly proud of as it was my first use of a zip in a non-garment and for some reason the thought of inserting it made me awfully nervous. Loads of people have been making stockings and Santa sacks for children, and some of the attendees of the workshops have taken home festive inspired makes to put under their trees. But what has been going on with your sewing machine? What have you had to rapidly hide under the fabric stash when your other half came home, what have you been frantically sewing while the children are asleep, and what have you been making in half the time you wanted as you didn’t realise the postal dates for America were so early? Let us know!

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It’s always exciting for us to talk to customers about what they plan to make with the things they’re buying, and what better way is there to celebrate the joys of lovingly sewn, handmade presents than with a special Christmas competition. We want to see what you’ve made and given this Christmas and help us share the joy of creating special things for those you love. Obviously we don’t want to spoil the big reveal on Christmas Day, so you’ve got until Tuesday 6th January 2015 to take a photo of whatever you’ve made, and put it on Facebook, tagging us in your description. And, you don’t have to but it would be extra nice, we’d love to know who it was for and whether or not they were completely blown away by your generous and beautifully made gift.

Good luck sewing peeps – we hope your machines don’t let you down and that your eyesight isn’t under too much strain as you sew into the night! We look forward to seeing all your festive creations in January, and to handing out a metre of fabric to the winner.

What Have You Been Making with Emporia Fabrics?

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A couple of weeks ago, a very lovely lady called Vanessa popped into the shop; she wasn’t here to browse, or to buy, or check out what new classes were coming up, no, she just wanted to show us what she had been up to with her sewing time. A few weeks earlier she had spent quite a bit of time at Emporia looking at the fabrics and talking to one of the ladies who have been running the shop whilst Clair is on maternity leave, and she simply wanted to show her the end result of all their discussions and her hardwork with the sewing machine; the result – a fabulous, bright yellow notice board that she wanted to fill with photos of her family.

We were so touched by Vanessa taking the time and effort to come in and show us what she had made, that we have decided to ask as many of our customers as possible to either bring in their sewing creations to the shop, or send us a photo of what they’ve made so that we can take a look at what our gorgeous fabrics get transformed into. It’s not just that we are terribly nosy (we are) but we are also intrigued to see how certain projects work out in the end; quite often we spend a fair while talking to everyone in the shop about what they are making, hearing a little bit about them and their sewing habits, who it’s for and what that person is like, and best of all what they would like to make right now, next and in the future.

So you see, asides from helping match fabrics for quilts, measuring out endless metres for curtains, sharing stories about our children and the numerous things we have made for them over the years, and pondering which patterns would make the best summer dresses, we get a little insight into your lives and that makes us want to know you better and see how your projects are progressing. We love to share hints and tips with you, so we love it even more when you return the favour and tell us how things worked out for you.

And to encourage you to share your makes with us, we have decided to turn it into a competition of sorts. You’ve got until the end of Clair’s maternity leave to either send us a photo or come into the shop and let us take a picture of whatever you’ve made with your Emporia fabric; then when Clair is back she will pick her favourite and the winner will take home a metre of their chosen fabric from the shop, or a bundle of fat quarters. It’s not about the most complicated sewing project or how much time it’s taken you to make, we just want to see what you’ve made, hear how you made it and most importantly who it’s for. So whether you’ve made bunting for a birthday party, or hundreds of favours for a wedding, a quilt for a new baby or a bag for a friend, show us what you’ve been up to!

Email your photos and some details about your makes to emporia.market@gmail.com, or if you have a blog, leave a comment at the bottom with a link to a post about your Emporia fabric creation. Alternatively, you can come into the shop and get one of us to take a photo of it. Clair will pick the winner when she returns to run the shop again in September.

Win an Aye Aye Dress and Matching Natsy Batsy Doll!

Have you have seen the lovely piece in the paper last week announcing our smashing competition? The Herald kindly dropped in and spoke to Clair, Melissa of Aye Aye and Natalie of Natsy Batsy all about the Facebook competition which we have launched. Here’s the snap:

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Clair thinks she looks like she has no eyes, but I personally think it looks like she’s wearing an invisible pair of glasses – now there’s another competition right there – which one of us is right?

But back to the real deal – would you like to get your hands on a pair of custom made dungarees or a delightful dress for your little one, created by Aye Aye and made with the Emporia fabric of your choice? You would? Well, would you also like to have a doll wearing a matching outift made by Natsy Batsy to go with it? Well, what do you know – simply leave your email address on the comments section of the Emporia Fabric and Craft Facebook page by the end of Friday 18th April 2014 and you will be in with a chance to take home both. How brilliant is that?

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Melissa from Aye Aye makes the most adorable baby and children’s clothes from funky retro fabrics, creating some of the most unique fashions you are likely to see on the under fives this side of Milan. Sailor stripes and anchors are perfect for summer, and those tropical florals are just as cool. Check out her interview with us from back in January to learn more about her crafting ethics and why she likes to sew.

Natsy Batsy is run by Natalie, where she spends her free time making rocking horses, felt mice and dolls amongst other things. Her delightful cloth dolls are beautifully made and simply designed with a retro edge. Perfect for cuddling and dressing up, or dragging around the playground/park/up a tree etc. Hear more from her on her passion for sewing and why she has created the perfect balance between crafting and working in this interview from last month.

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So if you fancy being in with a chance to win a dress/dungarees and a matching doll, head to the Facebook page and leave your email address by the end of Good Friday. We will announce the winner shortly after the Easter weekend. Good luck!