Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Time for some Spring Sunshine Inspired Sewing!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Our Holiday Sewing Workshop - Lavender Ladybugs and Potted Fabric Flowers

Fabulous Makes!

Last Friday morning I was lucky enough to spend the morning with a lovely group of girls making fun projects at the Hope & Gloria Children's Holiday Workshop.

I have to say that these projects count among some of my favourite things that I have designed for children to make over the years and it was a true delight to see them taking shape at the workshop.

The original designs

We began with our materials and things went from this....

....to this. I love Amelia's flower - such a fabulous choice of colours and fantastic stitching!

There were lots of lovely bright and bold colours used to make the flowers and they all looked brilliant. We filled the flowers and ladybugs with beautifully scented Lavender and the room was filled with it's soothing fragrance.

A huge well done to all who came along. Looking forward to seeing you again soon for more creative sewing projects.

Marvellous Memo Boards

Every busy family needs a memo board - fact.

If like me you love to pin letters from schools, recipe cards, photos etc all in one place, nothing works quite as well as  memo board. It's the perfect busy family's filing system, or at least a great stop-gap until things are filed properly....

Today I finally finished making these two quilted memo boards. They are not for me, I have made them for a friend for her daughters' bedrooms. They are the simplest thing in the world to make. All you need is some chipboard, fabric, ribbon and a staple gun plus a few drawing pins. It's a brilliant way to fill a space on a wall with a splash of colour as well as being hugely practical.

Although a simple project, there are lots of ways to add a stylish touch to a memo board:

I am very partial to spotty fabric so this spotty ribbon just had to be used. I am particularly fond of the fabulous rosebud drawing pins that I used to keep the ribbon in place and make "compartments" as they really help the memo boards to "pop".

I hope the girls love these boards and that they look great adorning their walls. In fact, looking at the walls in my workroom there's a space that's just crying out for a memo board - time to get making again...!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs Easter Gallery

During the last half term we have spent a lot of time learning lots of lovely ways to create a face using stitches. As always the Hope & Gloria sewing enthusiasts have amazed me and all of the sewing club leaders with their enthusiasm for learning and their ability to pick up new techniques to make their gorgeous creations.

A huge well done to everybody who came along to one of our clubs - you were amazing!

Here are just a few of the fabulous creations from last half term....

Finchampstead Primary School

Hatch Ride Primary School

Holy Family Primary School

Oaklands Junior School

The Royal School

St Judes Junior School

St Ann's Heath Junior School

A Happy Easter Garland!

It has been a race against time to get this one finished in time for the Easter weekend but I am delighted to say I did it!

As you can imagine, teaching 550 children a week to sew means that we have a large quantity of scrap felt lying around at Hope & Gloria HQ. The problem has always been what to do with it. I am really pleased that this bright and cheerful Easter Garland has gone some way towards solving the problem.

This project began its life as a huge pile of scrap felt.

As you can see from the picture, my original plan was to use wooden decorations for the garland but once I began attaching them to the garland base, it just didn't feel right. It was time for a rethink and to get out my needle and thread.

This is what happened....

I am, as you know, a huge sewing enthusiast as well as a designer and I run a sewing club company, therefore there can only be sewn decorations on my Easter garland! I have to say I love how the birds and eggs turned out.

Just a few brightly coloured buttons and bows were required to finish it off and it now hangs in pride of place decorating our home before our family arrives for Easter celebrations and of course tonnes of chocolate over the weekend.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Happy Hens!

Big fat hens in bold spring time brights - what's not to love? With only seven days to go until Easter Sunday it's time to get a move on and get decorating the home.

Now I know that strictly speaking a blue hen is hard to find. However, I really would recommend letting your imagination run wild with this lovely project. Be adventurous with colour! These lovely hens are so easy to make and are a lot of fun to have sitting around the house bringing a splash of bold bright colour at Easter.

Here's how to make them:

You will need:

Two squares of felt, (mine were 12cm x 12cm but you can adjust according to the size of hen you want to make), a red felt "head feather" shape, 2 small black buttons for eyes, an orange triangle beak, 2 felt wing shapes, coloured thread.

Step one:

Position the button eyes and felt wings as in the picture and sew in to place. I have given my hens a folk art feel by using coloured embroidery on the wings. Take a look at my decorative stitch guide for ideas by clicking here

Step two:

Position the beak and head feather on top of one of your squares as shown in the picture.

Step three:

Place the other square on top with the right sides facing each other and pin in to place making sure that the head feather and beak are secured.

Step four:

Sew around the three edges as shown in the picture leaving the back edge open.

Step five:

Turn your hen the right way round and add plenty of soft toy filling to make it nice and plump.

Step six:

Now take the top seam edge and bottom seam edge of the square and press them together. This will form a new seam and give your hen it's pyramid/triangle shape. Sew along this seam - I have used blanket stitch or you could use overstitch.

Your Easter Hen is now complete! As you can see it's a simple but effective Easter make - great for children and grown ups to make together. Happy making!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Doodling With Thread - Embroidered Easter Eggs

This half term has been all about using thread to make designs at our sewing clubs.

Our sewing club members have been using stitches to create adorable faces on their bunnies and chicks and we have also been using decorative stitches to add a design to the egg "sleeping bags" that were made for the chicks.

Using thread to embroider a design can be very therapeutic. Today I got carried away with a box of brightly coloured thread and some felt Easter Egg shapes. You can see the result in the picture above. It's also an inexpensive was to add an individual touch to handmade decorations. These are going to have a loop threaded through the top to hang over door handles as decorations this Easter.

Once I got going the designs just grew by themselves and I would highly recommend just sitting down and "doodling" with thread. I was really pleased with the results particularly as I only used very straightforward stitches to get the effects I was looking for. With this in mind I have added a new page to the blog "Super Simple Decorative Stitches" and you can find it in the menu on the right hand side of the home page or by clicking here .

The paisley design is something that I have been meaning to use as a motif on something for ages - so why not an Easter decoration? Paisley doesn't have to be confined to the late 80s as a pattern and I read recently that it's due to make a fashion comeback.

It's a pattern that's been used in art and design since 200AD and originates in Persia where it was known as Boteh Jejheh. It was brought to Europe by the East India company in the 1700s and became know as "Paisley" as the design was used in cloth manufacture in this Scottish town.

Examples of Paisley Pattern

Here's another one I've started. Why not give doodling with thread a go - you never know where it will take you.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

One of the loveliest dates on the crafting calendar is Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day as it has become more commonly known here in the UK. I am always telling the children at our sewing clubs that our fabulously and lovingly sewn projects make fantastic gifts. As a Mum I adore receiving gifts that my children have made (although now they are getting older these are few and far between!). It has been lovely this week to hear that many of our sewing club enthusiasts were keen to complete their first Easter project to give as a Mother's Day gift.

Today is the chance to say a heartfelt thank you to the special lady in your life and this year I have thinking about the origins of this day and why it has become such an important day in many families' calendars. Here is what I have discovered......

It seems that as with many celebrations Mother's Day in the UK has it's roots in religion. Back in the day when many people were employed as servants they would usually visit the church of their employers which would have been located in the local parish. This was known as the "daughter church". Once a year on the fourth Sunday of Lent, servants were allowed to travel to their "mother church" and this was in the parish where they were born.

On this day they got to see their family again and therefore the date gradually became associated with families, in particular Mothers rather than the location of a church.

Today we give gifts, flowers and cards to say "Thank You" and show appreciation for the special ladies who play a huge part in our lives.

So on this lovely day I wish you all a relaxing and happy day that is full of love and here are some flowers from me just to say "Happy Mother's Day!".

Hope you like them.xx