Emporia at Sewing Bee Live!


This week we’re at the Sewing Bee Live at ExCel London! (Another work trip out, we hear you cry! Yes! Aren’t we lucky?) The show runs for another two days over the weekend and we’ve spent the day here checking out the stalls, watching some of the contestants take part in the various challenges and getting the most out of our sewing themed day out.

From the varieties of fabric and haberdashery stands selling all kinds of sewing wonders, to specific designers showcasing their patterns and different designs, we have had a full on day of oohing and ahhing about everything on show. Vogue fashion shows, getting technical advice from the judges, expert tips from previous Sewing Bee contestants as well as getting to see some of the garments from the TV show live and in person – there isn’t much sewing related action that we’ve missed out on.

One of the the highlights was the vintage fashion exhibition hosted by the London Textiles and Fashion Museum which featured some amazing garments from the 1930s up to the 1970s. From gorgeous silk tea dresses that your grandmother might have worn to the kind of thing your mum might have been boogieing before she got pregnant with you, there were some amazing designs and even more amazing prints on display.


We stopped off at various stalls to make purchases, including some gorgeous arrow print chambray and star pattern sweat shirting from our mate Paul at Fabrics Galore; a Linden Sweatshirt pattern from Guthrie and Ghani, some fabric print blocks from Block Craft and a dress pattern from Maven Patterns.

We also spent quite a bit of our time going gooey at the knees over various famous sewing types, including Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It, the ladies from The Foldline, Ana from Cocowawa, Chinelo Bally from the first Sewing Bee series and most important of all, Patrick Grant himself! Having interrupted Chinelo on her way to the loo, half way through a challenge, we thought it best to shout after her “I think you’re amazing!” and the less embarrassing phrase, “We love you!” as she departed. She looked at us either like we were crazy or just over excited. It was most likely a mixture of both.

All in all we had a fabulous day out and generally got a bit over enthusiastic about sewing, fabric and all the stars. If you are headed here tomorrow or Sunday, we hope you have just as much as fantastic time as we did.

The Sewing Bee Live event continues to take place at ExCel London on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September 2017.



Adjustoform Dress Forms at Emporia

Another new and exciting stockist has arrived at Emporia this week – the incredible and sewing-world renowned Adjustoform!


Giving you the chance to create amazing fitting clothes either for yourself without having to persuade someone else to do the pinning whilst you wear your creations, hoping they will do a reasonable job. Or if you’re sewing for someone else, then you don’t need to have them constantly on hand to be able to fit their clothes to them as you can use the dummy instead.

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Coming in a variety of sizes that adjust their shape to replicate yours, these handy models can make the difference between endless pinning and tacking and resewing, and simple, easy fitting and creating. The model we’ve currently got on show in the shop is the Lady Valet, priced at £160 for either a small or a medium, and even though it’s the most basic model it will still adjust in 12 different points to replicate your body. Other benefits include using it to hang clothes to keep them in shape whilst you undertake a long-winded sewing project, and it’s old school style and traditionally designed polished wood stand and matching neck cap.


If you want to take things up a notch with your dress model, take a look at the SupaFit standard and deluxe editions. These forms come as either a four or eight part dummy, which again can be tailored to fit your own measurements as an aid to accurate fitting. The body is split at the waist to assist fitting for those with longer or shorter waistlines, and it features 12 adjusting wheels, an adjustable neck with useful pin cushion, a foam-backed nylon covering which allows easy pinning and marking, strong tripod stand folds for easy storage, and hem marker or hem leveller options. You can also get a male version of this model too.

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The prices for the SupaFit deluxe models start at £130.00 and go up to £145.00 for the full figure; and the SupaFit standard starts at £120.00 for the petite and goes up to £135.00 for the full figure.

For more information on the Adjustoform dress models you can give us a ring on 01233 612278 or pop into the shop and have a chat with us about your sewing needs.

Reversible Shorts Pattern

This week sees the beginning of July and summer is now well under way, what better way to celebrate than to release yet another Emporia pattern, and this time it’s one for the boys. Another one?! We hear you cry. Yes, another fabulous pattern from the creative genius that is Clair! May we introduce you to the amazing Reversible Shorts!

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These bad boys have been on the cards for a long, long time – ever since the creation of the Reversible Dress – and now they are finally here, ready to be made into funky summer wear for little boys and girls.

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The Reversible Shorts are another super easy pattern which can be attempted by anyone from a beginner up to an expert seamstress. Choose two different prints and combine them to make one pair of shorts that work as two pairs! Super simple, and two for the price of one.

We love these Space Boy style ones created from Michael Miller fabric, backed with a green Minecraft inspired print.

And what about this Round the World themed pair, with a map on one side and boats on the ocean on the other?

We know lots of small people who would love to get their hands on some shorts like these. Here’s Clair’s son Leo modelling a dinosaur print pair.


The pattern is available in ages two to seven and available to buy from Emporia priced £8.00.

Feel like you need help making these? We’ve got Reversible Shorts classes taking place on these dates:

10am – 1pm Saturday 8th July 2017
10.30am – 1.30pm Wednesday 16th August 2017

Classes cost £55.00 and include all fabric and access to our Brother sewing machines. To reserve a place, pop into the shop and pay a 50% deposit or give us a ring on 01233 612278 for more information.


Fill your Stockings with Christmas Crafts



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

New Classes for the Autumn


After much checking of dates, contacting teachers and general organisational madness over the past couple of weeks, our brand new, even more exciting than before, Autumn Class List is finally here! We’ve got so many different workshops taking place between now and Christmas, including half term and festive specials, that we’re sure there will be something appealing for everyone who loves a bit of crafty action.


We welcome the return of the Beginner’s range of classes, with the Beginner’s Sewing session carrying on on the first Saturday of the month. Joining it are the Beginner’s Knitting sessions, where you can begin to create a basic cowl, on various days each month, and the Beginner’s Crochet carries on with Emma Jane, who is back after her maternity leave, to teach you how to cast on, cast off and become confident with the basic stitches. Mandy Munroe will be back to teach her Beginner’s Patchwork one day course again, giving you the chance to learn about cutting squares, sewing pieces and coordinating colours in order to create a larger quilt blocks.


The Reversible Dress and Amelie Dress are both back on the schedule, giving parents and grandparents, aunties, uncles and generous friends the chance to make beautiful dresses for some very lucky little girls. Both are available in sizes 1 – 6 and cover two different levels of sewing ability, so if you’ve moved on a bit with your sewing skills and want to make something a little more complex, the Amelie is your ideal next step, while the Reversible design remains a brilliant first time make.


Adult dress making comes in the form of the Pyjamas Class (great for beginner’s and those that want to graduate to trousers), Circle Skirt Class (again, great for beginners and those that love a retro look) and the new A-line Skirt, designed by Clair, which is the latest addition to the Emporia pattern range. There’s also a new addition to the skirt collection with the Simple Gathered Skirt Class, which is a great session for learning how to create a garment based around your measurements and get to grips with inserting a zip. Coming along later in the year is the Kimono Dress Class which is Clair’s first adult size dress pattern – sure to be just as popular as the kid’s dresses, this is a super stylish yet simple pattern which can be worn all year round.


Two brand new knitting classes are being introduced this autumn/winter as Lotte invites you to knit your very first hat, and create some cables in the Wristwarmer Class. The Knit a Hat Class is a good next step for those that have taken the Beginner’s Knitting workshop and want to move on to shaping – created with super chunky needles and wool, your heads will be toasty in no time! The wristwarmer class is designed for those that are confident with knit and purl to learn a basic cable stitch, but if that’s too scary, then you can always join in with a plain stocking stitch version.


As a special one off for Support Sunday, we are opening from 10am – 4pm and the lovely Rosanna Clare (our resident leatherwork crafter) will be here for a really exciting workshop. You can join her from 12pm onwards to make your very own hand stitched leather wallet or purse, using traditional techniques on her vibrantly coloured leather. You can even emboss your own initials on the finished article!


We’ve also got October half term inspiration for the kids with a Simple Skirt and a Pencil Case class, plus loads more coming up for Christmas, with festive inspiration for all levels and crafts.

All times, prices, dates and age restrictions can be found on the Classes page at the top of the blog – if you’ve got a query, please do get in touch via email, phone, Contact Form or by popping into the shop for a chat.



Summer Sewing


Summer is finally here! We’ve all been enjoying the warm weather and sunny days of late – picnics in the park, days the beach, barbecues in the garden and days out in the sunshine with friends – but the higher than usual temperatures have left us feeling a little bereft in the wardrobe department. And because of the utterly insane way the fashion and retail industries work, if you didn’t buy your summer clothes back in April when it still felt like it might snow any second, you can either now grab something in the sale (if you can find your size) or you simply have to work with what you’ve got. Unless, that is, you can sew …

This week, we’ve pulled together a few select patterns and fabrics to help inspire you to get cracking with some super duper summer sewing. Don’t allow yourself to be dictated to by what’s in the shops – make up your own mind what you want to wear and just how you want to look! From basic shapes to free flowing garments to help you stay cool, this little lot should be enough to get you started.


Agnes T Shirt by Tilly & The Buttons
T shirts are a staple in everyone’s wardrobes throughout the year, as they go with just about everything. Try out Tilly’s super stylish and easy pattern for creating a t shirt on a standard sewing machine – no need for an overlocker! – and you’ll be churning out all kinds of different variations in no time. We love a traditional stripe, be it in bright pink or more sophisticated navy.


Simple Gathered Waist Skirt
Super easy and super fast, these instructions for making your own gathered skirt should see you through the hot weather and into the autumn; go crazy with loads of extra width to make a very full, floaty skirt, or keep your costs down with a relatively slimline version. And while you’re at it, make one for a friend or your daughter – when something is this easy to sew, you’ll want to make more. We love a big print like these big flowers making a stark contrast to the black background, or bright summery yellow florals with pretty blue and coral touches.


Doris Dress by Sew Over It
The latest release from the Sew Over It gang, the Doris is a lovely floaty number, that looks equally good as a mini or midi length. Featuring pretty decorative buttons and a tie waist, it’s lack of sleeves and wide skirt will keep you cool as the proverbial cucumber as you walk round the park or sip on a cocktail at the bar. In keeping with the SOI vintage style, we’ve gone for these amazing giant spots in vibrant green and teal to complete the look.


Loose Summer Trousers
Summer can sometimes make you feel particularly lazy, especially when it’s hot, so what better than pulling on a pair of trousers that feel just like pyjama bottoms? Loose summer trousers and pj bottoms share many of the same construction elements, so we’ve found you a good pyjama tutorial that you can simple adapt, depending on your taste. Elasticated waists, loose legs and cinched ankles – really simple to create and look very hippy chic when worn with a bright vest and gladiator sandals. Simply follow the tutorial and instead of hemming your trousers at the ankle, simply elasticate them instead to recreate that jogger look you see in the shops. Go for a big funky print like our fabulous Indian style tigers or some seriously bright geometric patterns, like this turquoise art deco pattern.


Floaty Dress by Threadcount
Featuring a flattering neckline, floaty skirt and an elasticated waist, this dress is just perfect for pulling on over a bikini at the beach or for heading out for an evening meal on a balmy summer evening. Easy to make and quick too, you can add this one to your holiday packing for sure. We’ve chosen a cool white cotton with bright coloured flowers, and a fantastic indigo ikat print for a more casual look.


Beach Bag
If you haven’t made it to the beach yet this holiday, then now is the time to make plans! But before you start cramming your flip flops and sun cream into your handbag, take an hour or two to make this fabulous beach bag so you have plenty of room to take all your beach stuff with you. Super bright flowers are a funky choice, or you could go more traditional with a cool nautical anchor themed version.

Half Term Classes for Kids

Half term starts this weekend, so if you’re at a loss as to what to do with your kids next week, take a look at our classes for creative children and see what inspiration you can find to keep them entertained.


Make a Pencil Case
11am – 12pm Tuesday 31st May
Join Clair at this cool kids’ workshop for newbie sewers, suitable for 8 and up. Choose from our range of super funky fabrics and make your very own unique pencil case ready for the new school year. £20.00 per child – some previous sewing experience is desirable but not necessary.


Finger Knitting Bracelet Class
11am – 12pm Wednesday 1st June
Lotte invites kids aged 8 and up to come and try their hands at making some bright and summery bracelets. Using the simple technique of finger knitting, children can make themselves or their friends these cool accessories with gorgeous coloured jersey. The class costs £10.00 per child.


Make a Hot Air Balloon Fridge Magnet
10.30am – 11.30am Thursday 2nd June
The lovely Jaina is back with her fabulous decoupage class once more to keep the children of Ashford occupied this half term. Kids will get to cover a hot air balloon shape in brightly coloured paper, wrap a basket with string, and add a magnet to turn the whole lot into a fabulous fridge adoring piece of art! The class costs £12.00 per child and is suitable for 4 year olds and over.


Make a Simple Skirt
11am – 12.30pm Friday 3rd June
This class gives budding sewing enthusiasts the chance to make their very first garment for themselves or a friend. Clair will be teaching this simple class, where kids aged 8 and up can get to grips with sewing a gathered skirt in any of our fabulous prints. Choose yourself something bright and funky for the summer and be the envy of your mates! The class costs £20.00 per child.

All classes must be booked in advance, with a 50% deposit. Please take note of the age restrictions on classes as the sewing machines can be quite tricky for small hands to use. Come and see us in the shop or give us a ring on 01233 612278 for more information.