Summer Classes at Emporia

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Now we’re all finally moved in and getting a bit more settled, we’ve managed to come up with some fantastic classes to keep you and the kids entertained throughout the summer holidays. From friendship bracelets and felt monsters to skirt workshops for kids and grownups, we’ve got the lot – so if you find yourself feeling a bit uninspired with your sewing during August, you know where to look!

Get to Know your Sewing Machine – 10am – 1pm Saturday 1st and 15th August 2015
Our most popular class on getting to know your sewing machine features twice during August – once on Saturday 1st and again on Saturday 15th. Here you can get cracking on your first ever makes, learn how to insert a zip or make button holes. Suitable for ages 8 and up, the class costs £40.00.

Make a Simple Girl’s Skirt – 11am – 12.30pm Thursday 6th and Wednesday 12th August 2015
Now’s your chance to whip up a quick and easy, but super lovely child’s skirt in a morning session with Clair. Make a simple gathered skirt from some of our beautiful fabric and give it to a very lucky little girl to wear on her summer hols. Suitable for beginners, this class costs £30.00 per person and includes fabric.

felt bear

Kids’ Class – Sew a Felt Monster or Bear – 1pm – 2.30pm Friday 7th  and Thursday 20th August 2015
Kids can join Clair for a summer holiday special children’s class, where anyone over the age of seven can sew themselves a funky monster or a cute bear to take home. The class costs £12.00 for an hour and a half.


Kids’ Class – Applique Owl or Monster Cushion – 11am – 1pm Monday 10th August 2015
Join Clair for another summer kids’ class at the shop as she shows children how to cut and sew an applique design for a cushion. The class costs £20.00 per child and includes fabric. Suitable for 12+.

Make a Circle Skirt – 10.30am – 1pm Monday 17th August 2015
Make your very own floral or nautical vintage style circle skirt with Melissa from Aye Aye. Melissa will show your how to recreate her iconic skirt in this sewing session. Choose from our double wide florals, gingham or nautical inspired prints and walk away with a super swishy skirt on the day. £45.00 per person.


Kids’ Class – Make a Friendship Bracelet – 11am Wednesday 19th and 26th August 2015
Get crafty with some embroidery threads  and make an old school style friendship bracelet with Graeme this summer. Suitable for the over 8s, the class costs £8.00 per child and lasts one hour. Threads are included.


Knitted Jewellery Class – 1pm – 2.30pm Friday 21st and Thursday 27th August 2015
Make a knitted bracelet or two in this unusual knitted jersey jewellery class. Although this session is perfect for those who already know how to knit and purl, if you are a confident beginner, you should still be able to get to grips with the simple style of the i-cord. Materials are all supplied on the day, and if you want to take home your super chunky knitting needles so you can make more bracelets, you can purchase them at the end of the class. £15.00 per person, suitable for 12+.

Kids’ Class – Make a Pencil Case – 10.30am – 12pm Monday 24th August 2015
Melissa from Aye Aye is back at Emporia and teaching children how to make their very own pencil case just in time for the new school year. Choose from a variety of funky fabrics and learn the technique of inserting a zip. The class costs £20.00 per child and is suitable for 8+.


Sew a Child’s Shirred Dress – 2pm – 4.30pm Wednesday 26th August 2015
Melissa from Aye Aye shows you how to shirr fabric and make a delightful summer dress for a child. The class costs £40.00 per person and includes fabric..

For more information or to book a place on any of the classes taking place over the summer, pop into the shop for a chat or give us a ring on 01233 612278.

Halloween Birthday Party


You may not have noticed but we’ve been selling our gorgeous fabrics and crafts on Bank Street for nearly one whole year now. Our official birthday takes place on Friday 31st October 2014, so what with it being Halloween and all, we’ve decided to have a suitably spooky birthday party – and you’re all invited!

Head down to the shop on our birthday and you can expect to see all kinds of special events taking place: for a start, any customer who spends more than £10.00 gets to take away a fat quarter of their choice, absolutely free – nothing says Happy Birthday like free fabric we think. Once you’re in the shop, you can take a look at all our Halloween loveliness before popping out the back to indulge in some delicious tea and biscuits, or coffee and cake as the Casey from Lil’ Tea Tank spends the day with us, serving up her fabulous bakes. She will be in residence from 10am – 3pm, keeping out the chill with her tasty hot treats, and helping us celebrate our very first birthday.


If you feel like getting some craft on while you munch on your cake, then fear not – one of our fabulous tutors will be on hand with a drop in felt brooch making class. Grab yourself some colourful felt and a button or two, and get sewing – all for £5.00. Kids won’t be left out on the day either as they will have the chance to make some suitably spooky makes too: choose from spiders, ghosts or Halloween masks made from felt and wool, for just £2.50 per child. And of course it wouldn’t be Halloween without a quick rummage in the treats cauldron on the way out.

If that all sounds like jolly good fun, then please do pop in and join us as we mark our first anniversary – it would be fantastic to have all our loyal customers come and celebrate with us on the day. And in the meantime, you can take a look at our fantastic Halloween crafts in the run up to the scariest night of the year.


Perfect last minute dressing up aids like funky hair accessories, and the fantastic ghoulish headscarves from Aye Aye are just the thing to pop on your head and wear to your Halloween party. Modeled by Melissa from Aye Aye herself, and the lovely Casey from Lil’ Tea Tank, who will be here on the day, choose from horns, green brains, and creepy hands all perfect for  stylish yet scary dressing.


If your kids are keen to get out and about in their Halloween best, then kit them out with some Trick or Treat bags in our funky fabrics – made by Lotte Jamieson, these cute bags are spot on for little and not so little children eager to get their hands on their share of sweets.


Feel like spooking up your home with something a bit more grownup? These gorgeous witches’ cats also from Lotte Jamieson are just the job for sitting on the sofa or by the fire for your Halloween party. Plus, we’ve got a bumper crop of pumpkins sat in the window, waiting for someone to take them home and make them their own. And as if all this wasn’t quite enough Halloween fare, we’ve got bunting, bats, jewellery and a fantastic selection of spookily themed fabrics for you to make your own crafty creations with.

But most important of all – don’t forget to head our way anytime from 10am onwards on Friday 31st October for our special Halloween themed birthday!

Children’s Parties at Emporia


Exciting news for little crafters – not only are we looking to have more kids’ craft workshops and classes, but Emporia Fabric & Craft is now available for kids’ parties! Great for those that love sewing or who want to get into it, Sally from The Sewing Machine is going back to school with her party sessions, teaching children from six to 14 to make their own crafty creations.

Groups of eight to ten children are invited to have their birthday party or celebration in the craft workshop at Emporia, where they will get to make cuddly owls or funky monsters, learn to sew a pencil case or a tote bag, applique patterns on a t shirt, or create some felt hanging hearts. All  materials are provided for the kids to get started on their project, which they can personalise as they please. Sally will oversee all the sewing and sharp objects, but most of the time the children will be in charge of designing and creating their own work.


Prices start from £85.00 for six children, for one and a half hours, with extra children £12.00 per head after that. We’ll give you some special Emporia craft party invites, so you and your little ones can send them out to their chosen friends. Drinks are provided, and of course you are welcome to bring along the birthday cake for singing and slicing at the end of the party. We can even give you party bags for everyone to take home for an extra £5.00.

Parties are available to book from 4pm – 6pm Monday to Thursday, and from 10.30am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday. Once you have chosen your craft and party date, you just need to pay a non-refundable deposit of £50.00 to secure the booking, and then pay the remainder a week before the party date.


So if you fancy throwing a crafty party for your kids, take a look at the options below and give us a ring!

Sew Your Own Tote Bag  – Choose your own fabric and make yourself a cool bag for school, swimming or just for fun. Suitable for 10+.

Owl Soft Toy – Make a beautiful cuddly owl to take home, with a choice of gorgeous fabrics and applique designs. Suitable for 6+.

Pencil Case – Create a fabulous pencil case to wow your friends at school with. Choose from all our brilliant patterns and make something really special to carry your pencils around in. Suitable for 6+.

Felt Monsters – Get hand stitching as you make your very own weird, spooky, funny or funky little monster. Suitable for 6+.

Applique T Shirt – Design your own t shirt with shapes, words or a picture – the choice is yours! Suitable for 10+.

Felt and Fabric Hearts – Learn to hand sew pretty hanging hearts, which you can decorate as you please. Suitable for 6+.


If you are interested in booking a kid’s party at Emporia, give us a ring on 01233 612278 or pop in and see us for a chat at 1 Bank Street.

New Classes and New Stuff!


It’s a bit of a mish mash this week as we round off the summer holidays and get ready for a new season, that we hope will be full of even more crafty loveliness and even more sewing. We’ve got some spiffing new fabrics and buttons to show you, and a sneak peak of the new workshops that are coming your way from September onwards, so if you love the anticipation of new things and getting excited at counting down the days, then read on, dear friends, read on!


Brand new fabric hot off the press from Makower are these fabulous autumnal coloured sewing themes. Covered with cute little sewing machine drawings and tape measure patterns, these are just itching to be turned into any kind of sewing paraphernalia, like a machine cover, a needle case or perhaps a pin cushion.


These delicious yellow buttons are exactly the same colour as butter and we think they would look perfect as decorations on bags or right up the middle of a big snuggly cardy.


Melissa from Aye Aye has been busy again with a new selection of makeup bags. Lined with waterproof fabric, her three new additions to the shop come in this fabulously funky green and grey geometric print.


Since we got all hot under the collar about felt a couple of weeks ago, a few of you got in touch and said that yes, you would like to see some felt in the shop – so here it is! Lovely chunky felt charm packs, in gorgeous jewel like colours are crying out to be transformed into keyrings, little felt animals, badges and more. 15 squares of felt, along with two wooden buttons are £8.99 each.

As the summer holiday is very nearly over, we are starting to think about September and what will be happening in the shop. Despite Clair not returning until the end of the month, we are gearing up for more classes and workshops, including making a simple skirt, children’s clothes courses, and more sewing stuff. We are also branching out into the world of wool, as Lotte Jamieson starts some beginners knitting sessions. The shop will now be open on Mondays from September, and all day on a Wednesday giving you even more time to spend browsing our fabulous fabrics and stock.

We are also looking at hosting kids’ parties, so if your little one loves sewing and crafty stuff, they could be having their next birthday at Emporia! And of course, there will be the return of the Emporia Vintage and Craft market to Park Mall on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th September.

The blog is on holiday next week, taking a well deserved break – but we shall be back and raring to go for the start of term on Wednesday 3rd September. See you soon!

Feeling Felty


This week we are feeling decidedly felt, so we thought we would share with you some of the felt decorations that are on sale in the shop. Made by the lovely Jacquie, these delightful designs have been gracing the shop walls and cupboards for quite a while now, and selling regularly to customers who fall in love with her quirky, homemade styles and folksy designs. Ranging from dinky little felt birds on sticks to large hanging cushions, the felt creations are all embroidered and decorated with buttons and ribbons, in bright colours and soft pastels. Perfect for giving as gifts or to brighten up your home, our favourite designs are the fabulous flowers.


Funky patterned flowers and funny little birds on sticks are ideal for putting just about anywhere around the house to brighten up a dull corner. We’ve got ours in vintage jugs and flower pots on the window sill. Or you could add one to your pen holder for a spot of crafty brightness at work.


These hearts are simply gorgeous, and perfect for giving to someone you love. We think the wreath of mini white hearts would make an ideal wedding gift, or how about the dinky little hearts with beads for a new baby. Hang them on your kitchen cupboards or on the drawers of your bedroom to remind you of the ones you love.


The quirky little felt houses have a real Scandinavian vibe we think and would make a fantastic house warming present for anyone who has just moved home – students off to university come September would certainly appreciate a little homely warmth to take with them to their halls of residence. Or these cheery hanging cushions in vibrant colours would do the trick too. Covered with beading and embroidered with happy words, they are just right for hanging off bedposts or on wardrobes to inspire you first thing in the morning.

Are you a fan of felt? Would you like us to stock felts in the shop? Maybe you like to make Christmas decorations with it or other little crafty bits and bobs – the fabulous thing about felt is that it doesn’t need hemming, so it’s perfect for quick makes. If you are a felty crafter and would like to see various colours of felt on the shevles of Emporia, let us know! Leave a comment below or pop into the shop and tell us in person – we always love a visitor – and if enough people tell us they need it in their lives, we’ll get it in!

Interview with Natsy Batsy


This week we take yet another look at the mind and work of an Emporia regular, Natsy Batsy. Here she talks about her passion for sewing with felt, why she wasn’t so good at sewing in her school days and why you need to have a supportive other half if you want to become a serious craft seller.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Natalie Ward and by day I work in the competitive world of commercial banking, however of an evening I morph into my alter ego of Natsy Batsy where all I need is a sewing machine, fabric and my imagination. I also established the C.A.K.E (Crafts in Ashford, Kent, England) Facebook page as a forum for local crafters and lovers of handmade goods.   

How did you get into crafting?
I have always liked making things – in the summer my mum used to take us apple picking and I used to spend the days making “dolls” out of apples, twigs and leaves. We didn’t have a great deal of spare money, so if I wanted something I usually had to make it, dolls houses out of shoe boxes, Sindy clothes from fabric scraps. My Nan was for ever knitting so there was always wool available for pompoms and my mum used to make all our curtains and cushions. I lost confidence in my sewing  at secondary school – I recently found a school report from when I was 14 which said “Needlework – needs to work a lot quicker and a lot neater,” and other than the odd, small project, I only really started sewing again in April 2012.


Who and what inspires you to create?
My friends! They are always coming up with ideas for me, some of them quite impossible. A lot of my friends have young children, and I love making them creations that are personal to them. I have made both my boys their own teddy bears using vintage fur and buttons and I hope they will pass them down to their children. Programmes like The Sewing Bee are great and one day I WILL make myself a dress!

Which crafters/artists/designers do you most admire?
Anyone who can crochet. I went on a crochet course run by Emma Jane of Cakes and Catwalks and think the effects and creations from a ball of wool and crochet needle are quite amazing. The crafters that I admire the most are those that come up with their own ideas, or put their own spin on a traditional pattern. It does get a bit boring when you see the same thing time and time again. I like things that are original or one of a kind, although it can sometimes be difficult to get the balance between what sells commercially and what feeds your passion as a crafter

When did you decide to make the leap from making for friends and family to creating your own business?
My friends and family were so enthusiastic about the things I was making that I thought I would try a stall at a craft fair to see if they were just being kind. Fortunately the first fair I attended as a stallholder was fantastic and I realised what a lovely bunch crafters are. Everyone was so friendly and complimentary, and it seemed silly not to make a bit of money while doing what I loved. I could never run Natsy Batsy full time, but at the moment I feel I have the perfect balance        

What five things would you say were essential when you set up your craft business?
Honest feedback from trusted friends and family; market awareness; an internet presence, be it a blog, Facebook page or website; a supportive husband; and insomnia.


Name three of your most popular designs.
My rocking horses, bears and  felt Christmas mice.

If you weren’t a crafter, what would you be doing with your time?
Finishing writing the book that I started seven years ago.

Do you run any workshops or take part in any groups?
No, I tend to make up a lot of my creations as I go along and really don’t have the technical knowledge to teach anyone else. (I only discovered what “cutting on the bias” meant during the last series of The Sewing Bee!)

What’s new with your craft for 2014? Tell us about some of the exciting things we can expect to see from you in the shop or at the Emporia market this year.
I have started making dolls this year (CE Marked) and they will be making an appearance at the Emporia markets. I am presently working on a boy version using some of the lovely fabrics from Emporia. I am also in the very early stages of designing a Fairytale cushion, and I shall be making lots more creations out of felt which I absolutely love working with.

Catch Natsy Batsy and her iconic dolls alongside all her other wares at the next Emporia market, taking place at the end of the month.