Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Coming Soon to Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Our End of Term Gallery - Happy Summer Everyone!

It is really hard to believe that another school year has drawn to a close and our school sewing clubs have come to an end until our return in September. This one has flown by!

The Summer half term is always a busy one filled with fun activities such as sports days, swimming galas, school trips and often a play or two. I am delighted to say that in amongst all of the other acitivities taking place the Hope & Gloria club members love of sewing was still strong and they created lots of truly amazing bags just in time for the Summer hols.

Well done to everyone who came along to our clubs this year. You have been brilliant and as always I am astounded by your creative flair and ability to learn lots of new skills.

 For those of you who can't wait until September don't forget to keep an eye on this blog - I'll be updating it with lots of sewing ideas and projects over the Summer. Here are just a few of the fabulous bags that were created this half term.

Wishing you all a sunshine filled Summer full of laughter! xxx

 St George's, Windsor

St Ann's Heath

Finchampstead Primary

Gorse Ride

St Michael's Easthampstead

Friday, July 3, 2015

"Bee-ing" Creative - The Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee Grand Final

A few months ago we began to promote our first ever inter-school, inter-county sewing competition.

The Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee was borne out of a plan to give our amazingly talented sewing club members the opportunity to showcase their many sewing talents and gain recognition for them pretty much in the same way that sporting, drama, and dance etc is recognised in schools and clubs on a regular basis.

We had no idea whether we would get one entry or 200 but we decided to put it out there. I am so delighted we did. As you may have read on a previous post we were overwhelmed with the response to round one of the competition and once we had chosen our 30 finalists they had 4 weeks to prepare for the Grand Final.

This took place last Sunday afternoon in the fabulous venue of St George's School, Windsor Castle. The finalists had two challenges to complete - the first a technical one. They had to re-create a simple phonecase that I had designed for the occassion demonstrating their basic sewing skills. They had 30 minutes in which to make it. The second round; a "Showstopper" that they had designed by themselves at home in preparation for the final from a list of supplied materials.

Wow! They were incredible. I know from experience with our school clubs just how creative and talented children can be and they certainly proved that this is the case on the day. It was very hard to choose a winner - all of the children who took part should be extremely proud of themselves, the quality of ideas and sewing was amazing. However, three very deserving winners were chosen - First place - Ella, Second place - Julia, and third place Georgia.

The event could not have taken place without the support of my amazing team at Hope & Gloria. They were an integral part of the day - on hand to reassure and offer support to the finalists and without their hard work over the past year the children could not have got to this point.

I am delighted to say that The Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee is set to become a regular fixture on the Hope & Gloria Calendar and I can't wait for next year.

Here are a few photos that tell the story of our brilliant afternoon.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Junior Sewing Bee Ideas

The countdown has well and truly begun for the first ever Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee. 

One of the challenges that we have set our 30 finalists is to create their own "Showstopper" design as part of the Grand Final that takes place later this month.

Because the event should be as fun as possible I have offered a little help along the way and if the finalists choose to they can make use of a range of pre-cut felt shapes to create their project.

Here are a few ideas of how to put things together to help along the way...... happy designing!

Very often less is more - this simple white bunny looks great on the patterned fabric and the cute bow makes this miniature cushion "pop".

This "folk-art" inspired bird really comes to life with some brightly coloured decorative stitching.

A needle case is always handy and can be made from two simple rectangles. Add a brightly colured motif to add a cheerful touch.

A felt heart decoration is always a favourite. The floral design is an ideal way to show off your stitching skills.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee - Our Fabulous Finalists

Our Finalists for the first Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee - WOW!

So today the good news was delivered to the last of our fabulous finalists and we have announced who will be joining us for the Grand Final of the first ever Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee on 28th June. The whole Hope & Gloria Team are super-excited and we can't wait for the big day to arrive.

We had a total of 70 entries in round one of the competition. They came from schools far and wide across the counties of Berkshire and Surrey where we run our sewing clubs and it was a true delight to find that our first ever Junior Sewing Bee was met with such enthusiasm.

To say that we were overwhelmed by the quality of the competition entries is an understatement and it was incredibly difficult to pick out just 30 of the children to take through to the final.

All of the runners up have been given a very rare but well deserved "Hope & Gloria Commendation For Creative Sewing" and have received their certificates over the past week. They should all be very proud of their achievements - the whole team think that they are amazing and we hope you will enter the competition again next year.

Our thirty finalists now have to plan what they will make for the final. Their amazing round one entries are featured in the slide show above. Well done to those of you who are in the Grand Final - looking forward to seeing you on the day for what promises to be a fun and fabulous event!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Crazy Daisy Pin Cushion Tutorial

There is no doubt that the humble pin-cushion is a must for any sewing enthusiast.

We have given up on pin wheels in our sewing clubs as the pins kept falling out and we have returned to good old fashioned fabric pin cushions to keep things tidy, not to mention safe(!)

Needless to say the children love these Crazy Daisy Pin Cushions and they really brighten things up. As well as making them for practical reasons it has been fun to exercise my creativity on a small scale.

They are great for using up scraps as well as looking cute. Here's how to make them:

You will need:

2 Felt circles 9cm in diameter
1 felt strip 3cm x 20cm
1 white felt flower shape
small yellow circle (centre of the daisy)
20cm ribbon
Cotton Thread

Step one:

Sew the yellow circle to the centre of the daisy and sew the daisy to the centre of one of your felt circles. Sew the ribbon down the centre of the felt strip.

Step two:

Fold the felt strip in half lengthways and sew across the top edge to make a complete circle and then turn the right way around forming a ring.

Step three:

Position the outer edge of the felt circle in to the felt ring you have made with your felt strip and line up the outer edges. Sew them together all the way around. I have used blanket stitch (it's a personal favourite), but you could also use over stitch or a small running stitch close to the edge.

Step four:

Repeat the same process with the second felt circle and sew in to place on the bottom leaving a small gap to add stuffing. Once the pin cushion is nice and firm, sew up the remaining gap.

Your pin cushion is complete and ready to use. As you can see they are a quick and easy make - time to sew a few more!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

"Pearfect" Pincushion

Fruit or to be precise fruit motifs have taken been centre stage at our sewing clubs this half term. We are making fun and fabulous applique cushions in a range of bold and bright fruit motifs.

I am a big fan of the pear design. What I love about pears is that you can recognise the shape instantly and they just somehow look rather fun and cheerful.

Continuing the fruit theme, I thought I'd share how to make these rather cute pincushions. This one is made in green felt but you could also have lots of fun with them making multicoloured or patterned pincushions (like the one in the background). They are a great way to use up scraps of fabric or felt.

Here's how to make them....

You will need: small pieces of green felt, scraps of dark green and brown felt, soft toy filling, thread.

Step one:

Cut four slim pear shapes from the green felt. Mine are approximately 10cm in height and 6cm in width at the widest point.

Step two:

Pin two of the pear shapes together and sew along the outside edge of one half. Repeat with the other two pear shapes.

Step three:

Open out the two pear halves you have made.

Step four:

Place the two halves on top of each other lining up the outside edges. Pin and sew around the outside edges leaving a gap at the top for stuffing.

Step five:

Fill your pear with soft toy filling padding out all edges.

Step six:

Cut a rectangle shape from your brown felt approx 4cm x 2.5cm, and cut two leaves from the dark green felt.

Step seven:

Roll the brown felt rectangle to form a tube and secure with a few over stitches. This will form the stem.

Step eight:

Sew the stem and leaves in place at the top of your pear, and you have a "pearfect" pin cushion. Cute and practical - what's not to love?

Happy sewing!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

10 Great Reasons to Knit

 Knitting is topical for me right now - this week we launched the first Hope & Gloria Knitting Club! I can't tell you how exciting the planning has been and the actual event was, I am pleased to report, a huge success. Lots of smiley faces all around, which is what we always aim for in our children's clubs.

So as you can imagine I have been thinking about knitting a great deal over the past few weeks. Knitting is something I learnt as a child. My Nan and Mum were rarely in front of the television of an evening without a pair of knitting needles in hand. I was taught to knit by both of them from about the age of five - I had great teachers. Knitting continued to be part of my life for many, many years. We knitted to wear. We had two fantastic dedicated knitting shops in the town where I grew up and we made clothes that we would love to be seen in - it was also great value and invariably cheaper than trying to buy the same thing in a shop.

Today's resurgence in knitting it seems to me is different. Making an item of clothing is now an expensive pastime and available patterns seem to focus on decorative items or accessories. So this has got me thinking - why should we knit and what does it have to offer a potential whole new generation of knitting enthusiasts? Here are the answers I have come up with....

There are just a few basics to master
Knitting may look tricky to the untrained eye, but the great thing about it is that there really are just a few basics to learn and then you can achieve anything. Once you have learnt to cast on, make a knit stitch, make a purl stitch, cast off, increase your stitches, decrease your stitches and learn to read a pattern you can make something wonderful.

You can make things to wear.
This seems like an obvious one but don't underestimate the pleasure of being complimented on what you are wearing on to respond that you made it yourself!

You can make things to use
From blankets to tea cosies, from dishcloths to purses, the list is huge. There are untold possibilities when it comes to knitting useful items to have in and around the home.

You can make things to Decorate
How about knitted bunting, coasters, cushion covers? The vintage look remains on trend and you can bring that fabulous look to your home by getting out your knitting needles.

It's Great for Gifts
We all love to receive a handmade gift and knitting something is the perfect way to show you care. Whether knitting a toy for a child or a pair of gloves to keep a friend's hands warm in Winter, a knitted gift is a great way to share the love.

It Enhances Creative Skills and Thinking
Even if you are following a pattern knitting stretches your creativity - something as simple as colour choice encourages creative thinking. Do these colours go together? Will it suit the person/purpose/room I have in mind? Adapting a pattern or making your own opens up further creative choices - there are so many directions in which knitting can take you.

It Enhances Technical Skills
In learning to knit children in particular can benefit from the technicality - measuring and counting are key when embarking on a knitted project. Decoding a pattern can also require technical thought - a great way for stretching the brain.

This is what knitting means to me and this aspect can only be beneficial to young and old alike in today's busy times. Knitting is often referred to as a "mindful activity", and I have to agree that it is the perfect way to take time out from the stresses of everyday life and relax.

It Provides Huge Satisfaction and A Sense of Achievement
With knitting you really do get a sense of making something from start to finish. You are not just crafting something from fabric, you are making the fabric from which you make it and can take an enormous amount pride in this fact when a project is completed.

It's Portable, Accessible and Sociable
Portable, because all you need is your knitting needles and wool and you can take it anywhere, either just to your sofa or on public transport.
Accessible, because wool is becoming available to buy in most towns (I have just seen it for sale in my local garden centre), and knitting magazines are on the shelves in most supermarkets and newsagents.
Sociable, because knitting groups are springing up all over the country. They are easy to join or you can make your own. This brings me back to our children's clubs where children can sit and chat whilst learning the brilliant new skill of knitting.

OK so I have just given three reasons in one, which just goes to show how many brilliant reasons there are to get knitting!

So with all of the above, what's not to love? Come on people let's get those knitting needles out and pass on this brilliant skill to future generations just as my Nan and Mum did to me.

To find out more about Hope & Gloria Knitting Clubs take a look at www.hopeandgloria.com