Close Up on Kimono Dress

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This week we’re taking a closer look at the kimono dress which was the second pattern to feature on the Sewing Quarter episode that Clair starred in.  It is our best selling adult sewing pattern and was the first dress pattern we released, so it’s one of our top favourites to wear too. If you don’t already own a well-used pattern, and have several different versions in your handmade wardrobe, read on!

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Our well loved kimono dress is an incredibly quick make, featuring just six pattern pieces – front, back, facings, belt and pockets – meaning it makes up very quickly. You can sew it up in a variety of different fabrics, including the simple cotton ones which everyone learns to make in the classes. We’ve also seen them work brilliantly in chambray, velvet, denim, cotton lawn, silk, satin and stretch jersey too. And because the belt is what creates the final shape, the sizing is easily adjustable too.

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The pattern design came from Clair’s love of clean, minimal Japanese design; it’s a very unfussy design, with no closures and no extraneous detail – just a simple outline, with a long belt that gathers at the waist. And because of the simplicity of the dress, it is not only super easy and perfect for beginners and more experienced sewers, but it is also fantastic for adapting with various pattern hacks.

We have used the kimono dress in our window displays countless times and made it up in loads of different ways. It can be made without an attached belt, creating a kaftan style garment that is excellent for beach wear; the sleeves can also be shortened right up to the curve of the arm, or lengthened and an elasticated cuff added. The dress length can be made shorter or longer, and if you go all out for a maxi, knee length splits in the side hems make it much more elegant, as well as easier to walk in. We’ve also turned it into a top before, sometimes with a shorter belt that is attached and sometimes with no belt, like a looser boxy top.

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The best thing about the kimono dress is that it works all year around: with boots, a thermal top and a big cosy cardigan in the winter, with tights and trainers in the spring and autumn, and with sandals and a tan in the summer. If you’re seeking inspiration, take a look at our Instagram feed which is crammed full of different kimono dresses from our gang of lovely followers. It is just so incredibly versatile, and we are so happy that you all seem to love it as much as we do!

If you would like to buy the Kimono Dress pattern, head to our website here, and why not check out all our other patterns at the same time. There’s also plenty of fabric inspiration online too. Happy sewing!

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Appearing on the Sewing Quarter!

 

We are super, SUPER excited to announce that this week we will be going live on television on the wonderful Sewing Quarter channel! Clair will be appearing alongside presenter Vicky Gordon to showcase two of our patterns to a whole new audience, who will get to see just how easy they are to make and how fabulous they look on. Why don’t you watch along with us?

Hitting the screens of the live sewing channel, the Sewing Quarter at 10am and 12pm on Friday 22nd February, will be our very own Clair Heal, demonstrating both the Alice Trousers and the Kimono Dress pattern. It’s our debut appearance on the channel and Clair is very excited to be showing off her skills live on the telly. Tune in at 10am and you can see her sewing up some of the key parts of both patterns and chatting about her sewing tips, and if you miss this slot you can catch her again at 12pm for more of the same.

The Kimono Dress is one of our absolute best sellers and in fact it is our all time most popular grownup dress pattern: we are constantly told by our customers how much they love it and how many they have in their wardrobes. It is so functional because you can wear it all year round, either with layers or not; you can pattern hack it into a maxi, or change the sleeve length; make it into a top or sew it with the belt unattached so that you can wear it loose like a kaftan or tie it round your waist. It is so, so simple to make and it’s versatility makes it even more wearable than half the things in your ready to wear wardrobe. We love and we hope the viewers of the Sewing Quarter do too!

The second pattern to go under the limelight with Clair’s sewing skills are the Alice Trousers – designed to be a loose and comfy jogger style, spring to summer piece, you can make these from lovely floaty cotton or try something with  a bit of stretch. Perfect for the school run or a day at the park, you can bung them in your suitcase for hot weather holidays and know you’ll always have something to wear for all times of the day or night. Make them up with elasticated ankles for an on trend look or go more formal and leave them straight; pattern hack them into a pair of wide leg style culottes or you can even leave out the pockets and turn them into a pair of pyjama bottoms. They are another well loved pattern from our collection and can be made up in no time.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on either of these patterns, head to the Emporia website and pop them in your shopping basket! Or come and see us in the shop and have a chat with us about the different ways we have made up both patterns. And most importantly, don’t forget to watch Clair LIVE on Friday at 10am and 12pm! And if you can’t join us live, then you can always watch on catch up at the Sewing Quarter online or via their YouTube channel.

Clair will be appearing on the Sewing Quarter channel at 10am and 12pm on Friday 22nd February 2019, Freeview channel 73 or Sky channel 687. 

 

New Fabrics for Summer Sewing

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The sun is out and we have a fantastic new selection of summery prints that will make your heart and your sewing machine sing! Just look at these big, bright, bold prints featuring flowers and the ocean waves in a range of gorgeous colours. We’ve fallen head over heels in love with most of them already, so get ready to do the same.

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These fabulous florals come courtesy of Kaffe Fassett – featuring large scale print in bright and bold colours, these babies have been much admired by many customers, as well as us. Clair has already made herself a simply stunning kimono dress from the turquoise and green print, which we think is perfect for summer wear, be it barbecues, beach days or even weddings.

Big circle skirts, skinny strapped summer dresses or loose floaty trousers would work perfectly in any of these designs – I’ve got my eye on the strong red with turquoise accents for the next Emporia pattern release! (Keep your eyes peeled for more news on that soon.) Why not take a different angle and make something for the kids? Small people doesn’t have to mean small prints – we think the poppy style flowers make excellent reversible dresses and what little girl wouldn’t look set for a summer wedding in a yellow and red floral Amelie dress?

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If you like your summer prints a little more nautical then check out our amazing Japanese designs from Tokyo Milk – featuring octopuses, swimmers from the twenties, Japanese inspired waves and coral themes, these prints are an exciting and unusual contrast to the Kaffe Fassett collection.

Octopuses may not be everyone’s obvious choice when it comes to summer themes, but these sea creatures coupled with beautiful blue backgrounds and floral flourishes have definitely got our imaginations going. I’m loving wearing my octopus kimono dress today in the sunshine.

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If the big old tentacled ones are a bit bold for your liking, then you can take it down a notch with the subtle coral print, or make like a piece of art and have traditional Japanese waves crashing all over your dress.

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Along with these fabulous prints on the bolt, we’ve also got some luscious charm packs in store too, and a few jelly rolls. So if you’re feeling inspired to make a bright, bold and summery quilt, or maybe a bag, check these little lovelies out.

Don’t forget there’s still time to enter our Me Made May competition! Show us a photo of you in a me-made garment using Emporia fabric to win a fabric and patterns – tag us on Twitter using @emporia_market or Instagram using @emporiafabricandcraft, or on Facebook using the shop name, or come into the shop in person and we’ll take a snap of you. 

Kimono Dress Pattern Launch!

Today we are super, super excited to launch the long-awaited pattern for the kimono dress! We’ve been working on this design for quite a while now and have quite a few sewers on a waiting list to get their hands on the pattern. Well now the pattern is here and we can’t wait to see how everyone gets on with making their own kimono dresses!

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Here is Clair’s latest version made out of some of our stunning new Kaffe Fassett designs – big, bright beautiful florals on a super summery background, we think this print shows off the elegant side of the kimono just perfectly.

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The pattern is launching as part of our Me Made May month of celebrating creating your own clothes, so this is the perfect time to crack on with making yourself a summer dress in your choice of fabric. The kimono works well in any of weight of cotton including poplin, quilting, lawn, chambray, lightweight denim, but you could also go for something more luxurious such as raw silk or satin. You could even try it out in scuba or a ponta roma for a slightly different take.

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We know we’ve talked about the elegant simplicity of the kimono dress a thousand times before, but hey, we love it so much, we’re going to do it again: incredibly simple to make and very easy to wear, the kimono dress is a subtly curved shift dress, with a v-neck, batwing sleeves, pockets in the side seams and an obi style belt which is attached just above the natural waistline. It’s incredibly versatile in that you can dress it up for more formal, going out type wear or go casual and keep it for the beach; you can also wear it in the colder months by adding a long sleeved t shirt underneath, leggings and a big cardy to keep yourself more toasty. You can even wear it as a maternity dress – just move the belt up above the bump and wear it a little looser. However you choose to wear it, this dress is such a key part of our wardrobes, we can’t imagine being without one (or two or three or four!).

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Another new and exciting element of this brand new pattern is that we’ve made a few suggestions for pattern hacking at the bottom of the standard instructions, so if you’re a confident sewer or feeling inspired to take a different approach to what we’ve suggested, you can go off piste and create something a bit more personal.

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The Kimono Dress pattern is now available to buy from Emporia Fabric & Crafts priced £12.00. Need help? We’re still teaching the kimono dress as a class – the next two workshops take place from 10.30am – 3pm on 17th June and Tuesday 4th July 2017.

Don’t forget there’s still time to enter our Me Made May competition! Show us a photo of you in a me-made garment using Emporia fabric to win a fabric and patterns – tag us on Twitter using @emporia_market or Instagram using @emporiafabricandcraft, or on Facebook using the shop name, or come into the shop in person and we’ll take a snap of you. 

Sample Sale Rail

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When we’re not running classes and workshops, choosing new fabrics or generally helping the sewing populace of Ashford with their purchases, we spend quite a bit of our time developing new patterns and creating things for our window displays. This often results in one-off creations or finished garments that don’t quite tally with the final pattern. Sometimes we end up displaying them around the shop or reusing them in the window, but now we’ve built up quite a stock of them, so we’ve decided to put them altogether on a Sample Sale rail so you can browse at your leisure and see if there’s something you’d like to take home, either for yourself or as a gift.

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Ranging from A-line skirts and simple gathered skirts to our recently developed kimono dress, plus pyjama bottoms for kids and adults, there are some lovely pieces ready to buy on the rail. There are also a few accessories like tote bags and aprons too.

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Joining these are a couple of gorgeous designs from Clair’s previous career as a maternity wear designer – check out this luscious leopard print swing coat and the very funky Vivienne Westwood-ish tartan kimono jacket. Both of these garments work perfectly well for non-pregnant women too, so they are great for pre, post and during pregnancy, or if you aren’t even considering being pregnant! Basically they are fabulous designs that look amazing regardless or whether or not you’re currently growing a person inside you.

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Prices vary according to what we’ve made, and sometimes the prices of several items that are almost (but not quite) the same can be different prices too – this comes down to how much material we have used, how often it’s been on display and whether it’s based on the final pattern version or is an earlier stage in the development process. Either way, all the items on the Sample Sale rail are cheaper than what you would pay to have something made up in your choice of fabric, so they are all essentially a bargain. And there’s always the chance that prices will get reduced further.

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As a rough guide, A-line skirts are £35.00 for knee length and £45.00 for maxi length; kimono dresses are £45.00; simple gathered skirts range from £15.00 to £35.00 depending on length; the tartan kimono jackets are £45.00 and the leopard print faux fur jackets are £45.00. Pyjama bottoms prices vary.

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For more information or to check out some of these lovely items in person, pop into the shop and try something on!

New Year Classes

Happy new year crafters! We hope you all had a fabulous festive break and are ready to get back in the saddle and start some new sewing, knitting and crochet for 2017. Many people decide to take up a new hobby or commit more time to one they’ve maybe been a bit half-hearted about previously as one of their new year’s resolutions, so perhaps you’ve thought about learning to crochet or conquer your fear of cable knitting. Short winter days and long winter nights are the perfect opportunity to bag yourself some Me Time and get stuck into whatever craft floats your boat.

We’ve themed our first window of the year around all the various things you can make at the shop, ranging from stylish kimono dresses to cosy knitted hats.  So here are our new year classes for you to browse and decide which craft you want to get stuck into.

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Beginner’s Sessions
Choose from sewing, crochet or knitting as our expert team give you the lowdown on all the basics for your chosen crafts.
Beginner’s Sewing
10.30am – 1pm Saturday 7th January & 4th February 2017
Beginner’s Crochet
10am – 12pm Wednesday 11th January & 1st February 2017
Beginner’s Knitting
2.30pm – 4.30pm Saturday 28th January & Friday 24th February 2017

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Kid’s Stuff
Get ahead for warmer weather and practise your sewing skills on clobber for little people. Make a super simple reversible dress, the lovely Amelie dress with or without sleeves, or why not give our brand new reversible shorts pattern a go?
Reversible Dress
10.30am – 1.30pm Tuesday 10th January & Saturday 25th February 2017
Amelie Dress
10.30am – 2.30pm Saturday 21st January & 
Friday 10th February 2017

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Winter Knits
Feel like moving on from just knitting and purling? Make the leap to more interesting knitting with a super easy chunky knitted hat class; or why not try your hand at cables – they’re not as tricky as they look, honest.
Winter Hat
2.30pm – 5pm Friday 13th January & Friday 10th February 2017
Cable Wristwarmers

2pm – 5pm Saturday 4th February & Wednesday 22nd March 2017

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Selfish Sewing
Give yourself a break from doing things for other people and make yourself something to show off your sewing skills: our amazingly stylish A-line skirt pattern is a great make for confident beginners and the new kimono dress still looks hot to trot in winter.
A-line Skirt
10.30am – 2pm Tuesday 24th January & Wednesday 22nd February 2017
Kimono Dress
10.30am – 3pm Friday 20th January 2017 & Tuesday 28th February 2017

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Patchwork
Spend some time creating a beautiful heirloom or growing your patchwork skills in our classes with Mandy Munroe — choose from the basic beginner’s class, or get adventurous with the chance to Sew and Slash or learn ow to produce Log Cabin Birds.
Beginner’s Patchwork
10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 14th January 2017
Sew and Slash
10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 11th February 2017
Log Cabin Birds
10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 8th April 2017

All classes are correct at time of publishing – more classes will be added as the year goes on, so check back for further dates and more classes being added to the schedule. Need more information? Pop into the shop, email us via the Contact Us form or ring us on 01233 612278.

 

Christmas Gift Orders

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So now there are only 17 shopping days left until Christmas (and that includes Christmas Eve people!) we thought it might be a good idea to remind you that if you don’t have the time, skill or inclination to make gifts for your loved ones, we are here to help! Whether you are after something huge and extravagant or a small, simple gift, we can help you choose the materials, pick the design and make it for you, ready for you to wrap and place it under the Christmas tree to make someone feel special on Christmas morning.

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All of Clair’s lovely sewing creations are available to order in time for the festive season, with the Amelie dress (£40.00) and the reversible dress (£35.00) for little girl’s being a very on trend gift right now.

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She’s just finished off making up a very funky reversible in skulls and Wonder Woman print, and the traditional Scandinavian style reindeers and snowflakes have been used on the sleeved version of the Amelie. Simple gathered skirts  (£20.00) are also just as pretty in festive prints like the navy and gold, or the bright stars on white.

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For grownups,  you can treat someone very special to a glamorous kimono style dress (£60.00) in any of our fabulous print – we’re still loving that leopard print very much – or get your hands on an A-line skirt in midi (£45.00) or maxi length  (£55.00) to pair with a funky Christmas jumper.

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If your entire family is well stocked up on festive attire, why not bag them some new Christmas stockings (£15.00) with their name one? Or maybe give someone’s living room the gift of pzazz with a couple of cushions (£15.00)? Everyone needs to carry their own shopping bags with them these days, so why not make them a funky as possible and choose one of our fantastic bright and colourful prints to give someone a unique tote bag (£10.00).

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For those in need of a serious injection of warmth, head to the woolly section for hats (£14.00 – £18.00) and cowls (£14.00 – £42.00) for both kids and adults, headbands (£10.00 – £14.00), wristwarmers (£20.00) and knitted cushions.

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Available in a range of gorgeous colours and varieties of styles, there’s bound to be something that will keep you and your family warm over the winter. Go for matching big and little cowls, or kit your kids and your friends out in a rainbow of stripes and stitches. All knitwear is available in both 100% merino wool or acrylic alternatives.

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As long as you can get your request in by next weekend, we should have enough time to make your order for you before Christmas hits. For prices on garments, accessories and gifts see bold highlights above. Alternatively, pop into the shop for a chat with Clair or Lotte about precisely what you want and we’ll see if we can’t make your Christmas dreams come true!