Sew a Simple Drawstring Gift Bag

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Christmas is drawing ever closer, but we’re still selling loads of festive fabric which means lots of you out there must still be making and sewing gifts. With that in mind this week we are sharing with you a tutorial for a lovely drawstring  gift bag that makes a fabulous (and recyclable) alternative to wrapping paper. Or you could make a larger size and gift it to a child as a PE bag; or go even bigger and make a Santa Sack – there are plenty of other creative options. Great for using up scraps, or some of our reduced Christmas fat quarters, you can knock out a few of these in under and hour, whilst eating a mince pie or two.

Take a look at our instructions below and share your own results on our Facebook page or on our Instagram feed – we’d love to see your makes!

Drawstring Gift Bag Instructions

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1. Cut a rectangle that is double the width of the bag you would like to make, adding 2cm to the width and 4cm to the length for seam allowance.

2. Fold both side edges over by 1cm, iron and pin in place.

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3. Stitch down both sides, close to the edge.

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4. Fold the top edge over by 1cm and iron, then fold over again by 2cm, iron and pin in place. Then stitch close to the edge.

5. Fold the bag in half and pin. Sew from the first pin down – if you start sewing at the top, you will seal the tube opening for the drawstring.

6. Sew almost to the bottom of the bag; then (making sure your needle is still down) lift the foot and turn the fabric at right angles, before putting the foot back down and sewing across the bottom of your bag. Make sure you sew inside the first line of stitching or else it will show on the outside of your bag. Turn your bag the right way out and iron.

7. Pin a large safety pin to your ribbon or whatever you want to use as a drawstring. Thread the safety pin through the casing at the top of your bag then cut the ribbon to the length you would like. Unpin the safety pin and tie the two ends of the ribbon in a knot.

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Ta da! You’re finished! Fill your gift bag with some lovely treats and spread a little sewing magic at Christmas.

Don’t forget our Christmas fabric is 40% off until Christmas, and we’ve got 20% off all Star Wars fabric until 2pm Sunday 17th December 2017.

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Gifts for Christmas 2017 at Emporia

Today is the 1st December so that’s it, we are now officially on the countdown to Christmas! Whether you are all prepped with a shopping list (or in fact have been calmly and casually shopping since August) or you are the kind of person who leaves everything to the last minute, we are here to help you with a quick and convenient guide to Christmas gifts for craft fans.

The newest gifty introduction to Emporia’s shelves has to be our amazing and super funky sewing and knitting themed jewellery. Created in collaboration with the talented R&R laser cutters, these amazing designs feature a range of crafty themes from scissor earrings and ball of wool brooches to statement tape measure necklaces. If you know someone who is proud of their crafty status, there’s no better way to reward them (and give them a chance to show off) this Christmas. The jewellery ranges from £12.00 – £20.00 per piece.

Also new in stock are these cute little craft kits, just perfect for little fingers to get to grips with. Choose from felt sewing a bear or an owl, or the chance to sew up a cotton bunny or monkey – we’re sure these will be a big hit under the Christmas tree with all ages of kids, and grownups too!

Know someone who is feeling the chill this December? Treat them to the gift of warmth with our range of soft wool cowls and bobble hats designed by Lotte Jamieson. Or if they like making things themselves, choose from our select range of Rowan knitting books and wool; how about a beginner’s knitting kit including a pattern for a simple cowl, enough merino wool to make it, needles and a knitting bag all for £25.00. We’ve also got a good selection of high quality knitting needles and crochet hooks, which make fabulous stocking fillers for crafty sorts, with prices ranging from £2.50 – £12.00. Rowan pattern books cost £9.99, and Rowan wool ranges from £6.50 – £9.95 per ball.

We’ve got a range of fat quarters, Kaffe Fasset quilting squares and a couple of design rolls in gorgeous colours and patterns available at the shop, all of which make great stocking fillers. Choose a pre-made fat quarter bundle for around £12.00-£14.00, or make your own selection based on the recipient’s likes. Individual fat quarters range from £2.00-£4.25; the Kaffe Fasset squares are £15.00, and design rolls are priced at £25.00.

We all know at least one crafter who is always losing their scissor, cotton reels, unpicker and pins – give them the organisational skills they need with one of our beautiful sewing boxes and a wrist-worn pin cushion to accompany it. Available in a variety of lovely colours and themes, these fantastic boxes are the perfect place to store all your crafty goodies, keeping everything in one neat place ready to use whenever you have sewing time. The wrist pin cushions are £4.50 each, and the sewing boxes range from £20.00-£30.00.

For those wanting to give someone a truly amazing treat under the Christmas tree this year, why not take a look at some of our brilliant Brother sewing machines? Whatever your budget, we’ve got basic mechanical models that would work as perfect starter machines for someone just getting into sewing, all the way up to all singing, all dancing sewing and embroidery machines. The L14s is a great machine for beginners, with a variety of simple stitches, and it’s only £99.00. Or perhaps you know someone who would love to start sewing more stretch materials and would love an overlocker? Our trusty 1034D is a great machine to get cracking with jersey and sweatshirting, or to tackle tricky fraying fabrics like satin, and it’s only £199.00. For someone who wants to try their hand at machine embroidery with a love for Disney, the Innovis M280D is ideal – featuring 25 different official Disney machines, this sewing and embroidery combination machine is smaller and much lighter than some of it’s bigger contemporaries and won’t take up as much space on your sewing table, for only £899.00.

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As well as all these luscious gifts, we are also selling ALL of our Christmas fabric at 40% off between now and 24th December 2017 – so you’ve still got time to get making for the big day itself!

For any more information on any of the above, do please feel free to give us a ring on 01233 612278, get in touch via the Contact Form, or pop into the shop – we would love to see you! 

Emporia at Tenterden Christmas Market

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This time next week we’ll be set up on the streets of Tenterden and taking part in their fabulous Christmas Market. Running over Friday 24th and Saturday 25th November, the Tenterden Christmas Market kicks off the festive season in that little corner of Kent, with a lantern parade and the big lights switch on taking place on the first day. It’s the perfect start to the festive season proper, with rides, snow and a whole host of independent crafters and retailers selling their lovely wares.
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Kicking off from 12pm on Friday 24th November, up and down Tenterden High Street will be a huge range of stalls all selling amazing unique gifts and foods. We’ll be joining a fantastic selection with our very own stall, selling lovely handmade things for Christmas from stockings and quilts, to knitted hats and scarves, plus a variety of other exciting gifts for the festive season. Craft kits, selections of special fabrics, one off handmade items and all the normal loveliness you’ve come to expect from Emporia will be on sale. Come and find us, browse for Christmas gifts and enjoy the festive atmosphere – there’s bound to be a few mince pies and maybe some other treats lurking on our stall too.
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Alongside us will be the likes of The Farm Street Kitchen and The Mucky Duck Bakery selling delicious pies and pastries, plus The Chocolate Note and Mini Mouthfuls fudge with their gorgeous sweet treats.  And for those that have a really sweet tooth, why not get stuck into a special Santa Shake from Chin Chin – it looks truly amazing and serious indulgent!
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Helping everyone get in the festive mood will be the Christmas in Tenterden light parade, where pupils from Tenterden Primary Federation and St. Michaels Primary School will carry handmade willow lanterns down the streets from the junior school, all the way to St Mildred’s Church. Starting at 4pm on Friday 24th November, members of the public are welcome to join in the lantern parade with LED candles that can be bought on the high street on the day. At around 5.30pm, after the church service the Mayor of Tenterden will give a special Christmas Tree blessing before turning the Tenterden Christmas lights on.

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On both days of the Christmas market, the Kent and East Sussex Railway will be offering a free shuttle service from Rolvenden Station up to Tenterden High Street. For just a small charity donation you can park at the station and enjoy a ten minute old fashioned steam train ride along the track to the market. A perfect way to start the festivities!
The Christmas in Tenterden festive market takes place from 12pm – 9pm Friday 24th November and 10am – 8pm Saturday 25th November along the High Street in Tenterden. Come and find us at our stall near the snow machine!

 

Emporia Sewing Jewellery

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Last Saturday was Sew Saturday and we had a fabulous time in the shop handing out goody bags, teaching newbies the basics on their machines and enjoying a bit of hand sewing with some crafty customers. But we also launched our very exciting new range of sewing and knitting themed jewellery!

These gorgeous creations are the result of a fantastic collaboration between ourselves and our long-time crafty mates Richardson & Richardson, who are renowned in Kent and beyond for their amazing laser cut designs. We sell their brilliant jewellery and wooden keepsake cards in the shop, and now we’ve teamed up with them to create some exclusive crafty designs. If you love sewing and/or knitting, then these gorgeous designs are just perfect for showing off your passion. Take a look at these lovelies and tell us which one is your favourite?

The new jewellery range is priced from £12.00 for smaller items up to £20.00 for the biggest pieces.

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And they’ve hit our shelves just in time for Christmas too! Know someone who’d love one as a present? Get your hands on them soon as we’ve got limited stock of each design.

Speaking of presents and the dreaded (or not so dreaded in some people’s eyes) Christmas, we’ve also got a whole load of fabulous sewing boxes in store now. Ideal as gifts for committed sewing fans or the ideal present for someone who has just started off on their sewing journey, you can give the someone a sewing box to help them keep their sewing area tidy, or fill one with all the necessary pieces of equipment they might need. Either way, they come in a variety of fantastic prints – fun, funky, cute, pretty, sophisticated – they are loads to choose from.

The sewing boxes vary in size from small to extra large, and the prices range from £25.00 – £35.00.

Seen something you’d like? Give us a ring on 01233 612278 or get in touch via the contact form at the top of the blog and we’ll reserve it for you.

 

Fill your Stockings with Christmas Crafts

 

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We are so lucky to have a fabulous collection of local crafters fill up some of the nooks and crannies in our shop, and what better time to take a closer look at them than just before Christmas! With just over a week left, there’s still plenty of time to take some extra care with your presents and buy some unique, handmade gifts that will make the recipient feel even more special on Christmas morning.

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Richardson & Richardson have been with us for ages, providing the people of Ashford with their amazing laser cut jewellery and cards. For anyone with a passion for anything sci-fi, geeky or just plain out there, we have a fantastic selection of their amazing designs. Featuring pieces inspired by the likes of Harry Potter, David Bowie’s Labyrinth, and Jurassic Park, you can get necklaces, earrings and broochs, which will no doubt gladden the heart of some of your film fan friends or relatives. Similar themes also include unicorns, Christmas crackers, woodland animals, knitting, gothic scenes, and your favourite tipples all transformed into funky jewellery. Prices range from £10.00 – £20.00.

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R.J. Laurenson
Beautiful ceramic pieces inspired by the British countryside, Rachele has transformed her passion for hares, horses, butterflies and stags into gorgeously coloured tableware. Each piece has been layered with different prints of leaves, colour and animal designs creating an intricate and unique pattern. She has created coasters, trivets, over sized cups and saucers, as well as hanging hearts in both big and small. Prices range from £3.00 – £30.00.

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POLLEN
The creator of POLLEN may well have moved to Australia, but she’s still supplying us with her amazing coloured wooden necklaces. Bright, beautiful and funky, these coloured beads come in a range of sizes and arrangements, and make for some seriously striking jewellery. Treat someone you know who likes things a little different from the norm. Prices range from £16.00 – £20.00.

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Rosanna Clare
Rosanna Clare works with recycled leather and wood to create yet more intriguing crafts: trinket trays, tasseled keyrings, purses, sketchbook covers, earrings, necklaces, rings and cufflinks are all part of her range. Using bright colours and simple designs, Rosanna makes the most of her materials to bring out the best in them. Treat yourself or the man in your life to something stylish and creative. Prices range from £8.00 – £18.00.

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HairyHand
Funky designs on t shirts and hoodies, for both kids and adults, HairyHand brings his humorous, tongue in cheek style to Emporia. Bag yourself one of these limited edition graphic pieces for anyone you know that appreciates witty designs on their fashion.

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And if you’re looking for crafty stocking fillers, don’t forget our gorgeous range of fabrics can be presented in the very dainty packages of fat quarter bundles; plus we’ve got embroidery threads, pompom makers, wool needles, sewing scissors, hand sewing needles, rotary cutters, mats, rulers and our brand new sewing baskets if you know someone who would love to receive some crafty equipment under the tree.

There’s still plenty of shopping time left to get sorted before the big day itself, and don’t forget we’re open late on Thursday 22nd December for the Christmas Market which is happening right next door in Park Mall – come and see us during the day or between 5pm – 7pm next week.

Kits for Christmas

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Exciting news for those looking for crafty Christmas gifts this year as we launched not one, but three craft kit gift sets! Two from Emporia and one from Lotte Jamieson Crafts – take a look at these lovelies and then tell us you’re not inspired to give the gift of craft? Clair has expanded on her fabulous reversible and Amelie dress patterns, by presenting them in these fabulous sewing kits. Featuring the pattern itself and some exclusive fabric, which you can’t buy off the shelves of Emporia, you can give the gift of sewing to someone this festive season.

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The reversible dress kit comes with two beautiful fabrics that complement each other fabulously – a lilac heart print, and a blue flower and leaf print that features white, lilac and pale pink accents. Super simple and ideal as a first make for beginners, the kit will certainly make for a very happy Christmas morning for many aspiring sewers.

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The Amelie kit comes in a beautiful minty green featuring simple flower designs, and we think it makes the perfect transition from winter into spring. As the Amelie is little more complex than the reversible, we recommend giving this as a gift to sewers who know their stuff. And who know’s they might even have time to get on their sewing machine and having it finished by the time the Queen’s speech comes on!

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The Christmas gift kits are just for sewing fans this year – Lotte Jamieson Crafts has launched a beginner’s knitting kit just in time for the chilly festive season.

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Perfect for those who want to get to grips with making something a bit more on trend than your average scarf, the Irvine Cowl kit contains an easy to read pattern (featuring three different versions ranging from super duper easy to the enthusiastic beginner), knitting needles, 200g of Lotte Jamieson Merino wool and a branded tote bag which can be used as a knitting bag.

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All you have to do is choose the colour of the wool from the range of 12 luscious hues in the shop and you could be giving a newbie knitter the gift of their dreams under the Christmas tree!

The Emporia Patterns Dress Kits are £35.00 each and the Lotte Jamieson Knitting Kits are £26.00 each. All three patterns are also available to purchase individually.

For more information or two see the gift kits for yourself, pop into the shop – we are open 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, with late night opening until 7pm on Thursdays between now and Christmas. We will be closing at 2pm on Christmas Eve.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts and a Happy New Year!

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Right, there are approximately 36 hours until Christmas Day dawns so if you’ve not got all your Christmas gifts done now is the time for a little constructive panic shopping. But fear not, we’ve got a few little extras hidden up our crafty sleeves, so if you need to bung a few extras into someone’s stocking or drop a couple of hints for the stressed out shoppers around you, read on …

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Our beautiful gift bags are perfect for quick fix presents – made from a range of gorgeous and funky fabrics, and full of lovely goodies, these will make someone very happy on Christmas morning. Choose from Wonder Woman, large bird prints, geometric florals, Star Wars or colour blocked butterflies; we’ve filled them with matching wool and super chunky knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn, magazines and rotary cutters, merino wool and pattern books, but you’re welcome to fill a bag with as much or as little as you like.

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Magazines are always a good bet and if you love sewing or patchwork, these babies will sort you right out. Pretty Patches comes crammed with masses of projects for all skill levels, and will certainly keep crafty types occupied over the holiday period; Love Sewing is the ideal magazine for those that want to get creative with their clothing over Christmas as it comes with a free paper pattern and instructions in the magazine itself for a whole load of other makes for you and your loved ones.

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Our new sewing kits in large and small are cute and full of useful stuff: scissors, pin cushions, needles and thimbles. Just right for those that need a bit more organisation in their lives.

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Feel like giving a small girl an extra treat? Bag a reversible dress for anyone from the age of one to six from our range of fabulous fabrics – Bat Girl and festive gnomes are just two of our favourites.

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Want to give a loved one a handmade gift but really don’t have the time? Grab a cable knit headband in a funky colour and give someone the gift of warm ears for Christmas.

Really can’t decide what to get? A fat quarter bundle is always a good answer – have a rummage through our massive selection and mix and match for yourself, or choose a pre-matched selection if you are in a real rush.

So all that’s left to say now is we hope, whatever presents you manage to get or make, that you have a very merry Christmas and a super happy New Year! See you in 2016!