New Jersey Selection

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This week to celebrate the arrival of our amazing new cover stitch machine, we’re showing off all our lovely new jersey. We’ve got cats, skulls, pandas, florals and even llamas – all perfect for making everything from a basic t-shirt to yoga pants and pyjamas for your kids.

All these lovely prints are available for £12.00 a metre, and we have some plains in stock for £10.00 a metre too. Just think what quick and easy makes you could be sewing up with this fantastic prints?

 

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Our fabulous  new cover stitch machine is the CV3550, a brand new model from Brother that is a double‑sided cover stitch machine. It comes with a wide range of cover stitches and works on many types and weights of fabric. You can use it for both decorative and constructive reasons and the standard stitch will appear on the bottom side of the fabric while a top stitch will show on the top side of the fabric. You can then sew hems and add decorative stitching to your projects. This machine also comes with three additional stitches for an even more professional look. When the cover spreader is engaged, a cover stitch will appear on both top and bottom sides of the fabric. This special one‑step finish was previously unavailable, so this is an extra exciting addition to an already pretty amazing machine.

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We also have a fantastic overlocker that is perfect for sewing stretch materials. The 1034D is available as 3 or 4 thread machine which will trim, edge and neaten for a professional finish which won’t fray or unwind. It comes with a range of features including three or four thread, cut and sew overlock stitches, a F.A.S.T. lower looper threading system, perfect overlock stitches on all types and weights of fabric, a differential feed, free arm flat bed, a removable knife and a snap on presser foot. It’s a lightweight, compact machine with a carry handle for extra convenience and it comes with an instructional DVD that gives you the lowdown on everything you can do.

The Brother machines are available to buy from Emporia now – call us on 01233 612278 or pop into the shop and have a chat to find out more.

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New Classes for the Spring

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Now that spring is well and truly on its way we have started to spend much more of our time planning our warmer weather wardrobe. With the trees and plants in bud and fresh green leaves springing up all over the place, we are starting to feel like it wouldn’t be too silly to start imagining what we might look like in some strappy dresses or even a short sleeved t shirt would be good! If you feel like spring is making you want to unleash some new skills on your sewing wardrobe, then look no further as we introduce two brand new classes for the coming months.

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Beginner’s Overlocker Classes
Many, many sewers all over the country rushed out and bought some overlockers that were on sale from a sueprmarket (which shall remain nameless) last year and have since only got the machine out of the box once or twice, and just generally panicked at the noise it makes. Either that, or they very much wanted to buy an overlocker, but were too scared at the prospect of the fact that it cuts off the excess material leaving no room for error. Well, fear not Wannabe Overlocker Sewers – we have the class for you!

Melissa will take you gently by the hand and show you how to master your own overlocker, or you can borrow one of ours and learn all the secrets of these marvelous (but temperamental) machines. Learn all about how to thread and re-thread all four cones; see what kind of stitches you can sew with; and get to grips with sewing up stretchy material to create either a pair of child’s harem trousers or an adult’s t-shirt. Choose from our funky stretch jersey fabrics and go home, not just with a brand new item of clothing made by your very own hands, but also the skills with which to tame the overlocker all by yourself!

Special offer! If you buy one of our overlockers during April or May, you can get a half price overlocker class! Pop into the shop to test drive our overlocker machines today.

10.30am – 1.30pm Saturday 29th April 2017
10.30am – 1.30pm Saturday 24th June 2017

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Sew a Child’s Shirred Dress
Shirring is a fantastic way of gathering material and can create a fitted form on dresses, skirts, tops and trousers. Shirring is done by using elastic on your bobbin and standard thread on your spool, thereby creating a series of tight gathers across your chosen material, whilst showing only the thread on the top layer, ensuring a professional looking finish.

In this class you will learn the basic techniques of threading your machine with elastic and sewing the shirring effect on a child’s dress. Choose from a lovely selection of light weight cottons with fabulous and funky prints, to make a gorgeous summer dress for your little one. Please bring relevant measurements with you to the class to ensure your dress fits it’s desired model – see a member of staff for details.

10.30am – 1.30pm Saturday 27th May 2017
10.30am – 1.30pm Wednesday 28th June 2017

Coming soon …
Melissa is working on a shirred adult top class for the summer, so click back soon for more details on when these classes will take place.

For full details on all classes and workshops, please see the Classes page at the top of the blog. Or pop into the shop and have a chat with us in person. You can also ring us on 01233 612278 for more info. Please note that all classes require a 50% booking fee to confirm your place, and places cannot be cancelled with less than 48 hours notice.

Germany Part Two

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And so day two of our buying trip dawns bright and chilly and we head down to a fabulous breakfast at the hotel, where amongst other things, one can dine on the oddly named “Smacks” breakfast cereal. As we eat our fresh fruit and yoghurt, cold cheeses, smoked fish, and sausage balls, and drink our hot chocolate, we start to pull together our wish list of Swafing fabrics. There are a couple of areas we are certain to spend a lot of our time in, but others we are not so definite about, so we know there will be plenty of discussion on foot, as well as plenty of rushing back up and down the stairs to either replace or grab a bolt we have changed our minds about.

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German hot chocolate, which comes with a portion of cream, peculiarly, on the side …

Soon enough the minibus comes and we are on the starting line, our scanner in hand and today’s trolley bearing the Emporia name: some of the others (namely Paul, from Fabrics Galore) have been here since 8am and we are now raring to go. Taking a quick squiz at what he’s already stacked on his trolley, we rush off with the likes of Tracey from Eastbourne and Kerry from Chatham at our shoulders as we all go about the very serious (but very enjoyable) business of choosing new fabric.

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One side of trolley based excitement …

This year we spend much more time looking at the upholstery section, which includes a few more linen and cotton blends, heavier weight pieces that have become more popular in the new shop – we look at styles featuring maps, animals silhouettes and simple polka dots. There’s also quite a bit of time spent dithering about with the fleece and faux fur as it’s very cold outside and we know that people at home are probably suffering from the chills of winter too. It’s all so soft, squishy and warm that we can’t resist chucking a few rolls on the trolley.

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The other side of exciting …

Next stop is the corduroy section; Clair has been longing for some of the needlecord for simply ages, so now her chance has come to take a good long look at it all and make a few choice decisions. Unfortunately, it was all just too lovely, and there much was much crying of “But I want that one too!” before we finally narrowed our selection down to a few brighter prints, some for boys, some for girls and some for everyone. And of course, there was much of the obligatory fabric dance which must be done by either of us while we debate what we might make from a particular print for ourselves. I’m not sure the factory workers were particularly impressed by this or the hysterical laughter coming from behind the shelving in the basement …

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Crazy cats, dogs and horses, that sadly didn’t make the grade …

There then followed more decisive selections from the jersey collections (a few key styles making a welcome return, plus some fabulous new ones), some very exciting sweatshirt material (which may sound like a contradiction in terms, but we promise they’re good’uns), and a quick stop at the bizarre animal print section, from which we returned with only one slightly bonkers print, which was a very special customer request. A few more unusual one offs got bunged on the trolley at the last minute, before the minibus heralded the end of our buying and decision making and we went hotel-wards once more.

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Tulips from Amsterdam …

The following day was spent mostly on trains once more as we journeyed into Amsterdam for a few hours. There we found the obligatory tulips, which were a most welcome burst of colour on a grey winter’s day, a delightful fancy lunch in the Bijenkorf (Amsterdam’s equivalent of Selfridges) and a spot of touristy gazing at the beautiful 17th century architecture all whilst wearing our hand-knitted bobble hats. Then it was onto the plane, where all of us buyers from the South East end of the country slept like tired children at the end of a hard day’s play.

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Bobble hats and the canal …

There may not have been any snow on this year’s trip, but it was no less exciting than our first venture to Germany. We can’t wait for our new stock to arrive so we can start making and showing off all our amazing new fabrics to you lot, so you can feel just as inspired too. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog and at the shop for when the first deliveries start arriving …

Getting Ready for Me Made May 2015

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Me Made May kicks off next week and we are starting to get excited and a bit panicky in equal measure. Having made our pledges, which you can see below, we have both decided to get a bit more sewing under our belts before the event kicks off (and possibly at the beginning of the month too …) so that we have plenty to wear throughout it. Taking a look at the self made garments already existing as part of our collective wardrobes these are the pledges we have decided to make for the first ever official joint Emporia and lotte jamieson MMM.

‘I, Clair Heal from Emporia Fabric & Craft as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15, endeavour to wear one me made garment each day for the duration of May 2015.’

‘I, lotte jamieson, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear at least three self made or home made garments each week of MMM and will attempt to NOT wear my jeans as much as physically possible for the duration of May 2015.’

So as part of our preparation for this year’s sewing special, we thought we would share with you some of our plans for the month. We’d also love to know whether you’ve pledged to take part and what, if any, kind of last minute sewing you are getting up to as we approach the last week of April.

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Destined to be turned into a whole load of lovely t shirts

Clair has decided to pay a little tribute to Zoe, the founder of Me Made May, and use one of her patterns – the Dolores. It’s a t shirt/dress pattern designed for stretch knit fabrics, which gives Clair the ideal chance to try out some of our gorgeous jerseys; another pattern designed for jersey fabric that we picked up at the Knitting and Stitching Show will be providing her with a casual dress to wear during MMM. She’s also planning on making up some a line skirts in some of our brighter and funkier cottons, using a pattern that she has created herself.

Hedgehog, cotton reels and framed flower print skirt anyone?

Hedgehog, cotton reels and framed flower print skirt anyone?

My plans for the coming month are to get to grips with the jersey myself, and make at least one t shirt, more than likely with the fabulous multi cloured stripes; I’m also going to use Clair’s fabulous a line pocket skirt pattern to create one for myself, and if that’s successful, maybe another one too! My two main aims for this year’s MMM are to make a dress with sleeves – the Sew Over It Tea Dress, which will hopefully keep my arms warm if May turns out to be a bit chilly, and attempt to make some sort of jacket. Adventurous as that sounds, I can assure you all that it won’t be a complicated affair and probably won’t even feature any buttons or closures of any sort! But what a jacket does do is allow you to wear a Me Made garment very easily almost every day. I might also get around to making those long dreamt of pyjamas that were constantly in my thoughts it Germany – again, another easy way to wear your own made garments very regularly.

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Quite a grownup dress

Still not signed up for Me Made May yourself? Head over to So Zo’s page and take a look at what’s involved. Anyone who comes into the shop during May wearing their MMM garments, will have their picture taken and posted on the wall, and they will be entered into a competition to win a £25.00 voucher to spend in the shop! Or you can simply post your pictures on Facebook, tag us and you’ll still be in with a chance to win.

Now all we have to do is make our final fabric (and pattern) choices, get out that tape measure and get sewing!

The Jersey is Finally Here!

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After a whole month and a half of waiting, the jersey we ordered on our little trip to Germany has finally arrived and we are giddy with joy! It seems like much longer ago than that that we were heading off out to snowy Nordhorn across the flat landscape of Holland, to pick out our favourite gems from the Swafing factory – but now it’s here and we can finally start to think about all the lovely things we can make with it. (Not just pyjamas, although that would obviously be a good place to start …)

Take a look at these delicious stripes! Candy cane pink, purple and beige tiny ones, chunky red and green paired with white, and a gorgeous multi version which just whips me straight back to the eighties and reminds me of crop topped roller skaters. Despite not being a crop top wearer I can promise you that I will be making myself a very funky retro styled t shirt with that number any day now.

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Funky nautical anchors, cute and funny little monsters, knights on horseback and spring themed birds are all destined to make fantastic stuff for kids, and any grownups who love a good printed fabric.

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And of course, what better shapes could there be to inspire you to make those mythical pyjamas I’ve been whittering about since February? Sleepy stars and dreamy clouds of course. It’s enough to make me want to whip up some right now simply so I can go back to bed. Which ones are floating your boat? We’d love to know.

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Since the jersey arrived in the shop at the end of last week, we’ve had plenty of compliments on them from admiring customers. But we’ve also had a lot of little worried faces look at us when we’ve told them that these gorgeous prints are jersey. “Isn’t sewing with jersey really tricky?” those worried faces have been saying, and “Don’t you need to have an overlocker?” Well, quite frankly no, it doesn’t have to be any trickier than sewing with more complicated patterns with flat cottons and you definitely don’t need to have an overlocker. It all depends on what you’re planning on making.

The one fantastic benefit of stretch materials is just that – they stretch. So you have very little need for darts and inserts – the material simply gives and takes at the right points to fit your form. Plus, it doesn’t fray, so you don’t have to spend ages finishing seams – hurray! It does take a bit of getting used to if you’ve never sewn anything with stretch in it before, but there are plenty of helpful guidelines out there to show you the way. For example, if you head over to Tilly and the Buttons’ blog, you can read all about her advice to sewers using standard machines for sewing with knitted fabrics, which will ease your mind no end. And if you’re really scared of taking the plunge with the brand new lovelies from Swafing, you can always buy yourself a small amount of our bog standard purple jersey, which at the bargain price of £4.00 a metre, gives you plenty of material to play about with and get used to. Plus, soon we’ll be running some dedicated jersey classes – so keep your eyes peeled for those in the coming months.