Fabric for Father’s Day


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More fabulous fabric has been arriving the shop recently and we think this selection would be fantastic for Father’s Day. You’ve still got a whole week and a half before you have to make a fuss of the old man, so why not take a butchers at some of these slightly more masculine prints and have a think about what gifts you could make for him? Or if he’s the sewing sort himself, grab him a fat quarter bundle or treat him to a couple of metres to make a shirt or perhaps a pair of summer shorts.  However you decide to make much of the men in your life, we’ve plenty of inspiration to get you started.

We can summer shorts and funky shirts being made out of these wonky spot and hand drawn cross prints. Teal and slate grey mix nicely with off white for a contemporary look here – transform your dad into an on trend hipster with one of these!

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Got a dad who loves woodwork? Check out the woodgrain designs in teal and cream – perfect for washbags or even a woodworking apron.

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Go mid century modern with these jumbled up squares and rectangles in teal, brown, grey and yellow. Perfect for cushions to cosy up your dad’s favourite chair.

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Science and maths fiends will love the periodic table and equations designs – try out a phone case or maybe a wallet in these funky designs.

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Vintage loving dads will be thrilled with anything created in these gorgeous prints – old style letters and adverts or rulers make for unusual prints that creative dads will really go for. Make a laptop case or perhaps some cushions for the study.

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For fans of cycling, these funky black and white bikes make a nice touch. Try a tie or a casual shirt for some summer riding out with the family.

Father’s Day takes place on Sunday 18th June 2017 – all fabrics available from Emporia, prices ranging from £14.00 – £16.50 per metre. Worried we might sell out? Give us a ring on 01233 612278 and we’ll put some by for you until you can make it into town.



New Arrivals for Spring


It may still be windy, raining and generally grey outside but this week we got hold of some lovely new items for the shop that are a fantastic reminder that spring is on its way! Bright colours and cute designs, plus a brand new kind of product has hit our shelves this week and we have fallen in love with the new arrivals, completely and utterly.


First up, let us introduce you to these amazingly sweet and incredibly practical pattern weights designed by Oh Sew Quaint. Simply delicious, aren’t they? Available in three different designs, you can up your cutting accuracy with these beautiful little cakes. Choose from classic doughnuts with sprinkles, go old school with the Fondant Fancies, or bring a little French (ooh la la!) patisserie fun to your sewing table with macarons.


We can’t wait to start using these babies at the shop – but be warned, although they look sweet, you’ll lose a tooth if you try to eat one.


To accompany these lovely treats are a brand new selection of spring themed prints from Clothworks. Featuring a range of woodland animals and trees, the colours all shout Springtime! and will certainly get you in the mood for some sewing for the new season.


Foxes, hedgehogs, owls, deer and frogs all feature in the designs, alongside spring blossom and budding flowers, proving that woodland themes don’t have to be about autumn and winter.


Light, fresh and simple in design, the accompanying prints range from stripes to bluebells and grass-like chevrons, giving you the chance to mix and match for a super cute spring project. We’re thinking kid’s pyjamas, quilts, reversible dresses and homeware to brighten up the last of the grey winter weather.


The cake themed pattern weights cost £19.99 – £24.99 for a box, and the fabrics are all £16.00 a metre. Perfect gifts for Mothers Day or just a spring themed treat for yourself!

Father’s Day Makes – Free Patterns and Tutorials

Father’s Day is this weekend, and if you still haven’t sorted out a present for the old man, then look no further than our list of quick makes for ideas on how to make some special and much more personal gifts. The internet has loads of free patterns if you know where to look, so we’ve rounded up some of the best to help you get started.


Wash Bag
Grab some fabric in your dad’s favourite colour or with a suitable pattern that reflects his interests – check out our periodic table, camping prints or the Minecraft fabrics for a start – and make him his own fabulous wash bag with this easy free pattern.


Pyjama Bottoms
These are one of the easiest things to make for someone when you don’t have them in the room with you for fitting. Grab some of Dad’s existing pj bottoms to check for sizing, and then you can whip him up a pair just in time for this Sunday using this free guide.

If your dad loves a bit of cooking or is in the garden every weekend barbecuing, then this simple apron tutorial could be the answer.


Make your dad a cool necktie, either for fancy occasions or for work, with this free pattern from Craftsy.


iPad Case
Get him some tech protection with this super easy iPad tutorial. Or how about a …

Phone Case
Make up a soft and cosy phone case for your dad’s smart phone, with this handy tutorial.


Or how about a wallet? See how to do it here.


Book a Class
Is your dad a creative type? Maybe he’d enjoy taking part in a sewing workshop with us! Because we all know that sewing is for boys too, we’ve got loads of different classes that could spur him onto to finding his sewing mojo. Start him off with a beginner’s session or perhaps a patchwork class. Or if he likes the idea of sewing for someone else, you could book him onto the reversible dress class – take a look at the Classes page for a full list of all our available dates.

In need of fabric inspiration? Check out our previous post on Father’s Day Fabrics for a full run down of our top selling manly fabrics. Or pop into the shop and see what takes your fancy – we’re here all day Saturday from 10am – 5pm.

VE Day Vintage Style


This Friday marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, when the Second World War was finally declared over, and to celebrate we are taking a little look at vintage style. This week’s blog post is all about how you can create some key vintage style for yourself as well as learn a little bit about what women were actually wearing during the war. From the Make Do and Mend campaigns run by the government to the utility clothing worn by women working in the factories and on the farms up and down the country.


We’ve got gorgeous vintage patterns on sale here

Currently showing at the Imperial War Museum London is the Fashion on the Ration exhibition, which showcases clothing for both men and women from the relative comfort of autumn of 1939 to the fully rationed days at the end of the war and beyond. Highlighting the creativity of those on the home front, the exhibition gives you a chance to see just how influential that period of innovation during adversity was.


Classic polka dots make for great retro styles

The exhibition not only makes an excellent day out for those who already have a passion for vintage fashion, but it also makes a great introduction to anyone who has never looked closely at clothing from this period – from austerity rationing to changes in female clothing that accompanied their changing roles, there is plenty to be inspired by here.


Aye Aye headscarves in patriotic colours on sale at the Imperial War Museum London shop

But most importantly of all, for the duration of the exhibition you can buy limited edition retro style headscarves made by our very own Melissa from Aye Aye right there! Simple yet so effective – if you are popping up to London to see the exhibition you can get your hands on one right there in the Imperial War Museum shop. And if you’re not, you can come and see us in our little shop and either pick one off the rail or make your own choice of fabric for a more personal take on vintage style.

They may not be flying over the white cliffs, but these birds have a distinctly vintage feel

They may not be flying over the white cliffs, but these birds have a distinctly vintage feel

For those of us wanting to go that little bit further on a quest for vintage style, we can’t quite head back to the forties, but we’ve got a little selection of patterns from the fifties that could work just as well. Retro blouses and shirts can instantly give your outfit an edge, and with a little help from the Internet you could even adapt one to give a more forties feel. And nothing says retro like a good old fashioned style dress. Make them up in contemporary prints for a twist on the vintage theme or go properly retro with fabrics that speak back to an earlier time.

You can't go wrong with a pretty flower and polka dot combo

You can’t go wrong with a pretty flower and polka dot combo for vintage loveliness

 Love vintage? We’d love to see your creations on both Facebook and Instagram – #Emporiafabrics. Show us what you’ve been up to!

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show


Last Friday Clair and I took a trip to London to one of the craftiest shows going – The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia. Given that it has been a whole month since we ventured off to Germany, we thought we deserved another little outing, so we popped on the slow train and made our way over to one of the biggest gatherings of fabric, wool, and knitting and sewing suppliers in the UK.

Neither of us were sure quite what to expect having never attended one of these kinds of shows before, so we were very pleased by what greeted us: a vast amount of independent sellers, all gathered under one roof and showcasing their very best products. Having made our way into the centre, we found ourselves surrounded by all kinds of innovative crafts, a plethora of wool and fabrics, new and vintage patterns, workshops, craft magazines, sewing machines and basically everything you would need to set yourself up with one crafty obsession or another. It was a little overwhelming to say the least, but it was also very exciting to think that we could spend the whole day indulging ourselves by window shopping (and actually shopping) at the stalls and talking to loads of like minded people.


Alexander Henry designs at Fabrics Galore

There were lots of other independent fabric sellers like us on site, and although lots of them had similar stock to us, there were also loads of different prints for sale too. Sewing cafes, fabric shops, and haberdasheries all had plenty of variety in the prints, including lovely stuff from Michael Miller, Riley Blake, Copenhagen Print Factory and Makower to name a few. We were also delighted to bump into our friend Paul from Fabrics Galore, with whom we spent lots of time on our trip to Germany. He was extremely busy selling lots of crazy and amazing prints by Californian designer Alexander Henry inspired by all kinds of things, including Japanese tattoo designs, half naked cowboys and pictures of the Virgin Mary. His reduced price Liberty was also walking off the shelves as people snapped it up for summer dresses and skirts.

Quite a few other stallholders grabbed our attention as we walk around the site, and many of them were kind enough to let us take some photos and have a chat with us about their products. So, for those of you who didn’t make it to the show over the weekend, here is a little snapshot of some of our favourite makers from the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show.


Fabulous knitty creations from Sincerely Louise

Sincerely Louise is the fabulous lady behind these amazing knitted taxidermy heads. She has not only created the cutest version of a fox stole you could possibly want, but she’s also gone all out in creating a full on knitted tiger rug. Louise herself was manning her stall and showcasing her stunning knitted creations and told us that she very much enjoyed what she did, and was more than happy to share the love of her hand crafted heads with her patterns and kits. Personally we loved the tiny polar bear and hedgehog slippers best of all.


Vintage designs from Sew La Di Da

Gorgeous vintage inspired patterns were on sale from Sew La Di Da, and Clair and I fell completely in love with their beautiful designs. From 1930s style gentlemen’s waistcoats to fifties fashioned full circle skirt dresses with sweetheart necklines, these patterns are simply to die for.

We were really inspired by the clever tools and simple techniques from MiY Patterns, which give people the chance to take measurements and design their own well fitting garments. Ideal for anyone with the confidence to get mathematical with their sewing. Plus, they sold some seriously cool sewing shears necklaces.


Hamilton’s incredible fruit and veg buttons

The most amazing buttons were on sale from Hamilton – these tiny little pieces of haberdashery heaven were made by one lady, using just her own hands and some Fimo. How ridiculously cute/insanely intricate are these cucumber, tomato, strawberry and apple slices? Simply astonishing.


A prize winning horse

Other things that were fascinating to look at were the quilts which were on show from The Quilters Guild, and of course the knitted farm, which featured the most fantastic shire horse, who had won third prize in the knitted farm competition (personally, I think he was robbed and should have come first, but best in show was taken by a turkey), and the Crochet Jungle, where newbies could learn the basics of crochet and contribute to the green fronds that were strewn all around the ceiling.


Beautiful quilts

All this, plus workshops aplenty and the chance to meet Mr X Stitch himself, made for a very inspiring and very exciting day. Now we can’t wait for the next one in September …

Summer Holiday Craft Inspiration


How’s your summer holiday going? Getting plenty of time to relax and chill out, or is it just as crazy as usual? We hope you’ve managed to get some time for a bit of sewing or crafting, as there’s nothing better than having a quiet moment by yourself or in a group to feel inspired and get creative when you need a break. Despite having loads of projects lined and ready to go, (and several uncompleted ones shoved to the back of the cupboard – shhh) we still like to seek out new and exciting inspirational things to get us thinking. If you are feeling in need of a little crafty inspiration or feel like heading out and about this summer, we have put together a list of workshops, exhibitions, fairs and courses in and around Ashford that will get your creative juices fizzing with excitement. So check out the links below and be prepared to get your craft on:


Craft Club Ashford

Taking place on Tuesday evenings from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, the lovely Melissa from Aye Aye, along with several other crafty types, will take you through a workshop involving various different disciplines all on a theme – currently everyone is working on a collaborative project based around the idea of Water. Whether you have never attempted any kind of craft before or are a real magnet for any kind of creativity, this is a fun and friendly workshop session that will have you getting to grips with new crafts and exploring old skills in equal measure. Melissa says, “We skill share, so we all help each other develop in different areas. The idea is that everyone has some talent and we pass that on to each other through projects,  so we help each other as a group and explore together.” Located above Caffe Nero, the Craft Club is free to attend.


The Centre for Creative Enterprise

The CCE is a great place for crafters – full of local artists’ wares and inspirational people. If you are a crafty type or want to be one, this is the place to come to learn new skills or find out how to set up your own business. Combining networking and hot-desking with art and crafts workshops, the CCE truly brings together the creative and the corporate in the best way possible. New courses start up again in September, with a porcelain jewellery making course kicking off the new season on Saturday 20th.



Speaking of ceramics, Kippy’s is one of Ashford’s best kept secrets when it comes to drop in crafts. If you fancy decorating plates, cups, piggy banks or a variety of other pottery goodies, you can pop in and have a go, and then wait a couple of days for your item to get its turn in the kiln. Once it’s out and glazed, it’s yours to collect. An easy and simple craft for anyone with any arty skill or even none at all, its something you can do with the kids too. Prices start from pocket money level (£6.00) and go up according to the size and complexity of the original ceramic design, meaning it won’t break the bank as holiday entertainment.


Things We Do in Bed Quilt Exhibition

Curated by the historical fiction novelist Tracey Chevalier, this exhibition of quilting takes place at the gorgeous Georgian mansion that is Danson House in Bexleyheath. Running until the end of October this year, this show makes for a fascinating day out for anyone with a passion for sewing. Find inspiration in quilts new and old, and see what kind of bed quilt your grandmother would have made for friend’s wedding or for a new baby. Ranging from huge celebratory pieces from the 1700s up to present day artworks by the likes of Turner prize winner Grayson Perry, this show is a must see for anyone who is thinking about venturing into the world of quilting but needs a bit of a shove in the right direction.  Entrance to the exhibition is free alongside a ticket to Danson House – £8.00 for adults, £6.00 for children.


Hastings Town and Country Show

Taking place this weekend, 16th – 17th August, Alexandra Park hosts the annual Hasting Town and Country Show. Giving you the chance to make your own arts and crafts, as well as buy things from local makers, you can also indulge yourself with delicious locally produced food and specialties from farms in the area. All this plus birds of prey and working dogs shows, and plenty of other farm inspired entertainment, so there is loads to get interested in on both days of the show. Tickets are £5.00 for grownups and £2.00 for children.


Adult Education Courses

And if all that wasn’t enough inspiration for you, there are vast amounts of craft courses taking place throughout the year at various locations around Ashford. Pottery, lacemaking, silversmithing, bakery, woodwork and metalwork, upholstery and embroidery are just some of the subjects you can tackle on these courses. Lasting either a few weekends or an entire year, you can learn fantastic skills that will develop your own crafty knowledge and could even lead to you thinking about a new career – how much more inspirational can you get? Day and weekend courses run throughout the year, and new termly courses start up in September. Prices start from around £15.00 for a one off session.

Emporia Market is back! Yes, the market is finally coming back to Ashford and bringing with it all the crafty and vintage loveliness that you have come to expect. Taking place over the weekend of Friday 19th and Saturday 20th September 2014, the market will be crammed full of all kinds of delicious crafts from the usual suspects, including Lil’ Tea Tank, Aye Aye, Richardson and Richardson, plus loads more. Come and find us in Park Mall and give us a big old hug – we’ve missed you!