Introducing the Florence Dress!

It’s been a while since we last released a pattern and although lockdown has certainly had an effect on us all, it’s not stopped our creativity and our inspiration when it comes to designing sewing patterns! We’ve had this new one brewing for quite a while now and although we were unsure exactly how this year would pan out, we are delighted that we have been able to continue to sell our fabric online, gain loads of new followers and customers as a result, and be able to work on and release our latest dress pattern.

So without further ado, here is our latest lovely new girl – Florence!

She’s a classic sundress with an exciting extra feature – an open tie-back! Featuring a fitted bodice with princess seams and chunky straps, and a flared panelled skirt, Florence allows you to adjust your fit easily as the tie-back accommodates your bust, and an elasticated waist at the skirt back allows for comfortable ease too. Big patch pockets on the skirt give you plenty of space to keep your phone or your purse handy and make a fabulous design feature, like a throwback to those sundresses our mums wore in the seventies.

It’s designed to be made from cotton and medium weight fabrics that have some structure and body – Ankara or African wax is ideal as it holds the shape of the skirt perfectly, while also being soft enough and cool enough for a lined bodice. But you could always make it out of something a bit sturdier like a denim or a cotton duck or canvas, and then use a lightweight lawn for the lining of the bodice, which would also give you a fantastic contrast print opportunity.

The pattern also comes with an alternative skirt, giving you the option of making an autumn winter version in denim, corduroy or a heavyish twill, or you can make it in a lighter weight for the warmer months too. So Florence isn’t just a summery design, she is versatile enough to earn a place in your wardrobe for most of the year!

As always, you can see more of our pattern pictures on our Instagram account and see what other sewists have done with the design – you can search for them by using the hashtag #emporiaflorence and see all our other patterns under #emporia patterns – follow us on @emporia_patterns and for plenty of fabric inspiration, @emporiafabricandcraft.

If you would like to purchase Florence or any of our patterns, or browse our great range of dressmaking fabrics online, head to to see what we’ve got in stock. 

Introducing the Martha Dress Pattern

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It’s been a long old while since we’ve had time to write anything on the blog and given how much has changed in recent times, it’s very strange to be thinking about our latest pattern release, which has kind of been swept under the carpet since the arrival of the coronavirus back in February.

Clair and I were busy little bees off on our travels to both Birmingham for Stitches (our very first trade show) and then just up to London for the spring Stitches Festival (the newly named Knitting & Stitching Show) when the virus started to have more of an impact. In Birmingham, we were given an extra large stand space as the company next door to us couldn’t make it due to travel restrictions and then while we were in London, there was much talk of banning large gatherings of people, so we were all starting to think about the coming months and what that might mean for our industry. As it was, only a couple of weeks later the schools were closed and lockdown commenced, and now here we are – all doing our bit by simply staying at home. So our brand new girl Martha, who was in pride of place at both those shows has kind of gone under the radar and not had the time and attention she has deserved. But now, we are attempting to rectify that and give her a bit of the lockdown limelight with a blog post all of her very own!

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Martha is a classic shift dress shape with a difference – asymmetric panels and in-seam front-side pockets take her from ordinary to interesting and as anyone with a passion for quilting knows, choosing your prints and colours to clash or complement makes a world of difference.

The pattern was conceived after so many of our customers asked Clair when she would be making an adult version of the kids’ reversible dress pattern, so after some months of development and a bit of head scratching she came up with the concept of an a-line shaped shift dress, with minimal shaping, that could be made reversible if you wanted, but whose real appeal was the potential for colour blocking and stash busting, because Martha doesn’t just allow you to showcase one gorgeous fabric, but three.

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As with all of our patterns, Martha is a simple design, that makes the most of one or two features – long bust darts, three different panels front and back, in-seam pockets and a neckline facing are the only parts of the construction, making it super quick to sew. What may take you more time however is choosing your fabrics! We have gone with vibrant cottons, that allow those fantastic prints to really stand out, but Martha is also great for plain colour blocking or using just two different prints. Try out three different denims, velvets or linens – texture is a great way to experiment – try three different blues each with a contrasting print, or go all out with three (or six!) super bright and bold designs to really make the style shout. There is plenty to mix and match with.

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Martha doesn’t just work as a sleeveless summer dress either – pop her on over a long sleeve t-shirt and some leggings and you are good to go for autumn too. Make her in corduroy and she’ll keep you snug in the winter, paired with a big cardigan and some warm boots. She can also go from casual to smart too, depending on your fabric choice and accessories – Martha would make an excellent choice for a work dress in some light wool or suiting. She’s another fabulously versatile pattern which we are delighted to introduce to you all. And since she hasn’t been given the chance to properly shine since being released into the big wide world, she along with all our other patterns have free P&P right now. 

Head to our website to see our full range of patterns and some fabrics, all of which are still being shipped out twice a week –

Introducing Cassie and Bella

Two pattern releases in the same week, you say? Surely not! THREE patterns on the same day?? Astonishing!! Well, it’s true! Not only is our lovely Iris top pattern being released on Monday 26th August, but these two gorgeous girls are also getting their introduction to the big wide world on the same day too! How fabulous is that?!


Cassie and Bella are a matching pair of Mummy and Me style dresses that were hatched as an idea by Clair back in May. With a little bit of work and a few alterations, these designs went from concept to fully constructed pattern within just a couple of months which has to be our fastest ever pattern release!

Again, as with most of our patterns, the design and construction are super simple, and it should be a quick, simple make, perfect for beginners upwards. A full gathered skirt hangs from a simply cut, loose fitting bodice that is styled like a t-shirt or a strappy sundress style top, making this the ultimate summer dress for both grownups and little people. Have just two tiers of gathers for a shorter funkier length, or go all out with the Boho style of three tiers for a super, swishy maxi vibe. For the sundress version, the dress features strap ties which can be tied in a cute bow at the shoulder, and a slightly lower neckline for hotter temperatures. The only difference between the two patterns is that Cassie features bust darts, whereas Bella doesn’t – so if you can make a grownup one, you can certainly sew a little one!

Make it in light and floaty cotton poplin like we’ve done, or push your boundaries and try it out in lighter weight denim or chambray for spring or autumn – we think the t-shirt version would be amazing over a long sleeved top and leggings with boots for the winter too – try out silk for a luxurious 70s vibe on your maxi, or maybe go for a soft and comfortable double gauze for dreamy floatiness. We are so excited to see how different fabrics make the patterns look. This dress is already one of our favourites and we love the twinning options for using the same colours or prints for both Cassie and Bella.

And as with our last pattern release Iris, Cassie is available in sizes 6 – 24 as we continue trying to make our sewing patterns more inclusive to both larger and smaller sizes. Bella also comes with the option to be made from ages 3 up to 12. We can’t wait to see what you all get up to with these new lovelies.

The Cassie dress for adults and the Bella dress for children will be available for sale online at the Emporia Fabrics on Monday 26th August, with patterns hitting the shelves of the shop at Park Mall on Tuesday 27th.

Iris Top Pattern Release

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And we’re back! We know we’ve been a bit quiet on the blog of late, but that’s only because we’ve been super busy beavering away under the surface – creating, researching, planning and generally getting up to sewing stuff that will eventually hit the shelves of Emporia. And now we are finally ready to release our very next pattern! Hurrah!

This is Iris – a casual top that is a perfect sew for any beginners and of course more experienced sewers too. She features two long bust darts, placed at the neck; split side hems, three-quarter length sleeves, and two fabulous ruffles on the shoulders. It also comes with an alternative sleeve variation – the summery, breezy flutter sleeve. What’s not to love!

While the ruffle sleeve version is cool and on trend, the flutter sleeve is softer and more romantic; the three-quarter length sleeve works well for autumn, and the shorter sleeve is great for summer; we think the ruffle Iris looks fabulous in crisp cotton, but the softer flutter sleeve is just perfect for fabrics with more drape. And there’s also the option of making it with no sleeves at all, and simply binding your edges with bias instead. Just right as a cami for hot weather. We are sure it’s destined to be a big hit.

But the best thing about this new pattern is that it’s available in sizes 6 to 24! This is the very first time we have expanded our sewing pattern range both up and down that far, and we are very excited about this. It’s come to our attention recently that the sewing world could be a lot more inclusive than it is and we feel that we need to represent more sizes with our patterns, so over the coming months we will be looking to regrade our current patterns into a larger range of sizes so that we can represent both larger and smaller sewing fans. We hope this is good news for our sewing community!

Thinking of sewing one up for yourself soon? Well, you only have to wait just over a week as Iris is released on the website on Monday 26th August, and will be available on the shelves of the shop on Tuesday 27th. 


Close Up on Kimono Dress


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.


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.


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!

Spring Knitting and Stitching at Olympia


Hello! We’re back! After four crazy days at Olympia in London, we are back at the shop and have finally unpacked everything. Mostly. We had a brilliant time at the show and can’t wait to get back to Knitting and Stitching again in the autumn, but for now we thought we’d share some of our pictures and stories with you from the weekend.

Did you see Clair on the Sewing Quarter the other week? Well, not just you and me and lots of Ashford sewers, but loads of other people did and plenty of them came to say hello to us at the show. Clair was mobbed! Lots of ladies were keen to congratulate her on her debut TV appearance and we also sold huge amounts of the Alice trousers and Kimono dress pattern there as a result, plus around 300 metres of fabric! We even had a lady come and find us to show off her kimono dress that she had made after visiting us at the Knitting and Stitching show in October. It’s always nice to see our patterns made up and in the real world, so it was especially lovely to have someone seek us out to show us what they had made. So if you’re a new follower who has recently made an Emporia pattern, do pop into the shop and show us your sewing skills as we love to see what you’re been up to.

We were also thrilled to bits to have Sewing Bee stars Mercedes and Janet come by our stall and have a chat with us! They were both lovely ladies and we talked about the Bee and how they did in the challenges so far – Janet was keen to point out that she still doesn’t know what punk actually means! – and they were both very complimentary about our fabrics and patterns. It was really exciting meeting some more sewing stars for the first time since we got all star-struck by Chinello and Patrick at the Sewing Bee live two years ago!

As usual there were masses of other stands with huge amounts of inspiring and exciting fabrics, patterns, kits and all kinds of sewing related things on sale, so we had lots to look at when we were allowed time off to wander round. Over the course of the four days we caught up with some of our old acquaintances from the sewing world too, including the lovely Tracey from Owl and Sewing Cat who we used to go on fabric buying trips to Germany with; fabulous Beth Studley, Ashford’s resident quilting expert, who was there with her baby bump; friend of the shop and fellow indie pattern designer Sharon from Maven patterns; and inspiring and famous Rachel from the Foldline, who gave Charlotte invaluable advice on jumpsuits.

We also caught up with our rep from Brother, Rachel, who will be down at the shop again soon for another demo day where she will be showcasing some of our brilliant sewing and embroidery machines. Another date for your diary is on Friday 29th March 2019, when Tracey from Owl and Sewing Cat will be joining us for day of drop in sewing projects, so be sure to make a note of that.

As usual there were plenty of inspiring exhibitions to look at too, including several quilts from the Quilters Guild and an upcycling competition which showed how students of fashion had refashioned various items of clothing or reworked unexpected materials to create fantastic creations. Our favourite was an amazing denim dress with some gorgeous applique patchwork designs on the front of a seafront scene with boats and houses.

All in all it was a fabulous four days, full of laughs and hard work. Keep your eyes peeled for dates of the next show!

Me Made May 2018

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Me Made May is fast approaching once more and so we are gearing ourselves up for another month of sewing and making inspiration all courtesy of the amazing Zoe of So Zo What Do You Know!

Celebrating all things handmade and wearable, Me Made Me is exactly what we need to welcome in spring and the chance to get out our more summery me made’s out of the wardrobe. And of course it is the perfect opportunity to finish off the those projects that have been languishing in our work areas, waiting to be worn and loved – you know the ones, that dress you couldn’t be bothered to hem, the skirt that needs a zip inserting, or the trousers that you somehow managed to sew both legs the same and you couldn’t face unpicking them and redoing it. Now’s the time to get your sewing mojo back on and sort out your UFOs (unfinished objects) so that you can wear them with pride in May.

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Of course, Me Made May isn’t about rushing out and buying loads more fabric and patterns just so you can create an entirely new wardrobe for just one month; it’s about wearing and enjoying wearing your own handmade creations, be they sewn, knitted, crocheted or upcycled. So if you find that you haven’t been wearing many of the your me made makes for the past couple of months, it gives you the opportunity to find out why. Is it simply that it’s been tool cold and most of your handmade garments are for the summer season? Maybe it’s time to try out sewing with warmer and heavier weight fabrics – perhaps you could look at working with wool or sweatshirting. Do you struggle to get the fit right on your sewing? Why not try out sewing with jersey or look at patterns that have more easily adjustable closures, like wrap dresses or skirts or, anything with a belt tie that you can pull into fit your body. Do you only sew things for special occasions and then feel they’re too fancy for everyday wear? Maybe you should let yourself dress up a bit every now and then! Or look at making more comfortable and casual things in the future – Tilly’s new book contains patterns for a hoody, and you can’t get more comfortable and casual than that!

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Or maybe you’re simply you haven’t sewn or made anything in a while and you’re in need of inspiration. And if that’s the case, then look no further than our window, which showcases our patterns in a fantastically simple colour blocked series.

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You can also follow a global network of sewists taking part in Me Made May 2018 by following the hashtag mmmay18 on social medial sites like Instagram. Head over to Zoe’s blog here to read all about how she started off the movement and to sign up with your pledge to wear a certain number of me made makes for however many days of the month that you want to. Clair and Lotte will certainly be taking part once again this year, possibly with a seven day a week pledge to showcase our self made garments – it’s a challenge we’re happy to rise to! So now it’s your turn – what do you think? We say, Get involved and be inspired! #MMMay2018 here we come!

Inspiration takes many forms so feel free to pop into the shop, browse our patterns and fabrics, or if you can’t do it in person, head to our lovely new website and see what we inspire you to make there.

Brand New Emporia Website! is now open for business!

After many months in the planning and weeks in the making, we are very excited to announce that our brand, spanking is now live and kicking! Selling all our fabulous dress patterns and a range of our gorgeous fabrics, the website is now open for you to browse and buy if you can’t get into the town centre to see us in person.


The website launched last week and since then we’ve been tweaking and sorting out various bits and bobs before today, and now we’re sharing it with you today.  There’s still some work to be done (and plenty of fabrics added to the online shelves!) so pleased be patient with us while we get on top of it – technology doesn’t always come naturally to us so we’re having help from some friendly web engineers. But we are still up and running, so if you see something you want to buy online, then you are good to go!


The best bit about having a website is that we can now sell our patterns all over the country – and all over the world! So we’ve included loads of lovely photos of the various different designs so that you can see precisely how they will turn out once you’ve made them – which is something we know that sewists find really helpful. Using different fabrics and showing off the different styles you can make from the same pattern, we’ve showcased the lot of some of our most favourite people so you see just what you will be making.


We’re also planning on selling our sewing machines through the website, so if you know what you’re after there, we can arrange shipment direct to your house for free (for some models). And if you’re after a little sewing themed treat, you can get your hands on our exclusively designed sewing and knitting themed jewellery online too – what more could you want? (More fabric? We’ve got that covered!)

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Having said all that, Clair and I are still in the shop all day Monday to Saturday and we’d be very sad if you abandoned us to shop solely online, so do make sure you pop in and say hello too! New fabrics will be arrived in the store and online very soon, so keep your eyes peeled and if you need to get hold of us in a rush, give us a bell on 01233 612278.

Two New Patterns are Coming!


For those of you with eagle eyes you may have noticed a couple of new designs featuring in our behind the scenes photoshoot post from last week; you may also have noticed these same new designs have been featuring in our window displays for the last few months. Well, now you can finally make them for yourself as we have two brand new Emporia patterns available to buy from next week! Exciting times!


The first pattern to launch as part of our collection is the Lotta dress; designed with spring/summer in mind, the Lotta has a full gathered skirt, flattering bodice darts, a matching front and back v neck and small puffed sleeves, making it an intermediate pattern. It’s perfect for parties, as a wedding outfit or make it sleeveless for a summer holiday dress – you can also dress it up or down depending on the kind of material you use. Why not make a version in lawn for extra lightweight feel?

Be bold with your print choices for something that makes a real statement or keep it simple with one colour, and let the fabric and the dress design really stand out. Whatever you choose to do, Lotta is certain to grab attention with her form fitting, curve enhancing features.


The other pattern to be released just in time for spring is our Issey culottes. These super stylish, Japanese inspired trousers are just the thing for the transition to the warmer months with their wide legs and cropped length. Featuring a very simple design that is incredibly easy and quick to sew, Issey has in-seam pockets, a fold over waistband with V detail at the back and a zip closure.

Fabric wise you could make these in almost anything! From simple cotton or chambray to wool or needlecord, these culottes work all year round depending on your fabric choice. Why not make up a pair in satin or silk for a spin on eveningwear? Or perhaps try out a denim pair for all year round? There are so many choices and we can’t wait to see what you make yours out of.

Both the Lotta dress and the Issey culottes are available to buy from the shop from next week, priced £12.00 each. If you would like to pre-order one, please give us a ring on 01233 612278 or contact us via the Contact Form.


Behind the Scenes at our Photo Shoots

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Last weekend we teamed up with the amazing Photography Company, i.e. Emily Holland who is part of the Love Ashford team, to take some photos of our patterns for our forthcoming website. We used a gorgeous house out in Mersham which belongs to friend of the shop Hannah – and she kindly agreed to be a model for the day too.

Emily is an amazing photographer and has been working with her sister for a a few years now having set up their company through the Ashford town centre pop up shop. Despite now mainly focusing on wedding photography, they also still do photoshoots like ours and for families too. And this is all on top of Emily still being on maternity leave. You can see their work on Instagram @weddingsbyemandbeth or visit their website

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Brrrm, brrrmm. Modelling pays well these days

We took plenty of photos and had a really enjoyable time posing in the clothes, and we even had help from Clair’s sons – one in the form of another model and the other in the form of child-model wrangler. It was another of our truly iconic Emporia days out, which always involve good fun, plenty of laughs and generally some pastries of some sort. Sadly it was a bit too early in the day for wine, but I know we all had a glass or two when we got home – modelling is hard work!

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Having a hot cross bun break

We are still working on our website, and a couple of other exciting projects that we will be releasing soon, but in the meantime, take a look at the some of the behind the scenes pictures from the day, of our fabulous models and gorgeous location.

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A team effort

Keep your eyes peeled for all our exciting news coming soon!