Make a Simple Summer Skirt


This week we have decided to go back to basics and show you how to make a simple summer skirt using some of our gorgeous Gutermann extra wide fabric. There’s nothing more satisfying than a quick and easy sewing project that you can pop on and wear within a couple of hours; whether you’ve got an itch to make something new for the weekend, or have a bit of spare time while the kids are otherwise occupied and want to do something just for you, this simple gathered skirt can be whipped up in no time. And if you don’t fancy making one for yourself or a fellow grownup, you can do a smaller one from our standard width fabric and give it to a lucky child!


To make this gathered summer skirt you will need: 75cm of 152cm/60” wide fabric from our Gutermann range – choose from our range of cool pinks, warm greys and sophisticated navies with various subtle floral and nautical style prints; 75cm will cost you just £12.38. You will also need a length of elastic to fit your waist measurement plus 1” extra (£1.50 a metre).


1. Fold the fabric in half and with wrong sides together stitch ½ cm from the edge, turn inside out, and press with the iron. Then stitch ½ cm from the edge with right sides together as this will give you a neat French seam to conceal the edges.

2. Fold the waistband over by 1cm and press, then fold it over again by 2 ½ cm, and press with iron.

3. Stitch along the edge of the waistband at the bottom of the fold, leaving a 2 ½ cm gap (leaving the gap around the vertical join line is best) where you will thread the elastic through.


4. Attach a safety pin to the end of the length of elastic and thread through the waistband, making sure you don’t loose the other end inside the waistband tube. Once you have fed the elastic all the way through, make sure it is lying flat all the way around the waistband. It is a good idea to safety pin both ends of the elastic together at this point and try the skirt on to make sure the elastic is the right length. Got the measurements right? Sew the elastic together by overlapping the ends and sewing back and forth on the same section to reinforce the stitches.

5. Top stitch the fabric edge onto the body of the skirt where you inserted the elastic to close up the gap.

6. Turn up 1/2 cm, and 1/2 cm again on the hem over and press it, before stitching all around the edge.

7. Give the skirt a final press, wear it and look marvelous! (or give it to a friend and receive heaps of praise for your generosity and talent!)


You can even add some super simple patch pockets on the sides to give you somewhere to put your lippy and your phone – make them in a contrast fabric from a fat quarter to add an interesting detail.

Made yourself or a little one a simple skirt from any of our fabrics? Let us know! We do love being nosey. Show us your makes on your blogs by leaving a link in the comments box here or by tagging Emporia Fabric & Crafts on Facebook. 

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 …


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.


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.


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.


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

Sewing Summer Dresses


Next week June arrives and we should finally start to see the welcome return of the warmer weather for more than one day at a time. And this means just one thing: sewing up some summer dresses! Whether you are a hard and fast dress wearer for the whole year (in which case, we salute you) or you only crack out the skirts and dresses for the summer, there is always room for more dress wearing potential from June onward.

Halter necks, a line skirts, skater style, maxi length, full skirted fifties numbers or simple sixties shift dresses, there are so many different styles of dress you can create for the summer – and all of them are great for spending days out shopping in town, heading down to the beach, mucking about with the kids or simply hanging out in your garden and enjoying the sun. Plus, all the different designs mean that you can always find a summer dress pattern that will suit your height, shape, desire to never have your knees seen in public or one which will cover up those wobbly bits at the top of your arms; there is always a pattern that is right for you.

So to that effect, here are a little selection of our vintage summer dress patterns that you could use for inspiration. And don’t forget that if you simply don’t have the time, the very lovely Melissa of Aye Aye can make up sun dresses for both little girls and grownup ones in any of our fabrics – just come into the shop for a chat and a browse of our selection, and we’ll help you order one.


Cute and swingy seventies style dresses are perfect for the spring/summer crossover when you still might want some coverage on your arms. Pair with some strappy sandals or wedges for a seriously retro look.


A classic shift dress can be made from not very much fabric at all, meaning you can save yourself quite a bit, or have loads of different coloured and patterned versions! Good for work as well as play, a shift dress is also a very quick make.


Go a bit more dressy and create something suitable for day to evening with this round neck or v neck prom dress, in seventies influenced prints. The extra wide waistband can be a point of interest with a contrast fabric or even lace or a crochet panel.


Maxi dresses are still very much the thing for summer 2015, and this halter neck version is a really lovely way of making it a bit different. Using some of our gorgeous new Gutermann prints, you won’t need quite so many metres of fabric as the bolts are super wide.


Go for simple polka dots or a dice print on this equally simple a line sleeveless dress. Cool for summer and great for the beach or to pack to take on holiday.

If you’re feeling inspired to make some seriously summery dresses, pop in and see what fabrics take your fancy and then take your pic and tag us on Facebook so we can see what you’ve made – we love being nosy!

Guterman Fabrics


A couple of weeks ago we received a massive order from the fabric company Guterman which included an entire range of prints that are just perfect for the spring and summer months: gorgeous greys, soft pinks and cool navy are now taking over the unit in the corner of the shop and just waiting to be transformed into something wonderful by you clever creatives out there.

The range is entitled Long Island, evoking nautical themes and bright summer days; printed onto super wide fabrics, these designs are spot on for homewares, quilts and clothing due to the extra length you get. Take a look at these delightful prints and let us know what you think you could make with them. We’ve already sold some for bedding accessories, a couple of metres for a summer dress and smaller amounts for a quilt topper, so get your creative brains a buzzing and see what you could do.


Cute little stars with contrasting centres and tiny leave patterns reminiscent of Orla Kierly’s designs would be fantastic for children’s and grownup’s pyjamas.


Big florals on clean grey, navy and pink backgrounds would look fabulous on swishy circle-skirt style fifties dresses, while the smaller flowers and birds print would make an excellent pair of loose summer trousers.


Nautical rope prints and swooping curves make for lovely contrast prints on quilts and patchwork items, or for those that love a bit of pattern matching, how about some fresh and simple a line skirts?


Big, bright complex floral designs and all over baroque style prints are just crying out to be made into cushions and pillows or bedding accessories; feel like those prints shouldn’t be hidden away in the house? How about a summer tote bag or maybe a big beach bag? There’s plenty of room for summery ideas with this lot.

And these pics are just a snippet of what we’ve got in the shop – pop in and take a look for yourself at the diamond patterns, big nautical stripes, dinky little crosses, miniature flower designs and chandelier style lines which also feature in the range.