Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Autumn Inspiration and Up-cycling Ideas

In terms of inspiration Autumn can be overlooked which is a huge shame!

Because we have to plan and work so far ahead at Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs once Summer has said "goodbye", I tend to launch straight in to designing and making for Halloween and then Christmas.

I was with a friend earlier last week and she was talking about how much she loves the Autumn and how lovely it is to see all of the Autumn colours - the reds, the golds and the oranges merged with the vibrant evergreens. My Mum is also a huge fan and it's something she has passed on to me.

Whilst walking my dog Elsie earlier this week I noticed all of the gorgeous colours starting to emerge on trees and bushes as well as stunning berries lurking under leaves. It occurred to me that it would be a shame to ignore nature at this beautiful time of the year and so over weekend I decided to devote some time to Autumn and all that it brings before moving on to Halloween preparations.

Inspired by Mother Nature and her Autumn Palette here are a few Autumn sewing ideas that I came up with....

Fabulous Phone Cases Inspired By Autumn

The cases are made from an old woollen sweater that I machine felted. It has been sitting in a box in my workroom for possibly as long as two years waiting to be used. The dark mottled beige is the perfect backdrop for Autumn designs and highlights the autumn colours that I have used.

Machine felting a jumper is the easiest thing to do with an outgrown or preloved woolly. Make sure it is 100% lambswool to get the full felted effect and then throw it in to the washing machine on a hot wash 60 degrees or higher. When it emerges from the machine it will be half the size but ready to use once dry. The felted wool can be cut to shape and has the added bonus of not fraying unlike regular knits.

I have also included a toadstool in my phone case designs - they are cute and colourful and a delight to find when walking in the woods at this time of year. It is easy to see where the inspiration for my latest batch of pincushions came from.

I look forward to sharing a tutorial on how to make these adorable toadstools with you next week.

Happy Autumn Sewing.xx

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fabulous Floral Inspiration

I am without a doubt a huge fan of Mother Nature in all of her amazing glory, especially when it comes to flowers.

A week or so ago I met a friend at RHS Wisley. I am lucky enough to go there a few times a year. It is half way between our home and two of my very best friends', so it's the ideal place to meet for a wander and a coffee. Our kids also seem to enjoy it particularly watching the Koi Carp in the pond.

The displays in the flower borders this year were breath-taking - full of vibrant colour and beauty. These are just a few examples:

Who wouldn't be inspired by these fabulous blooms? I had been thinking of an idea for fabric wall art for a while and these lovely flowers were the final push I needed to get sewing.

My idea was to showcase a range of bright and bold felt and fabric flower techniques in the shape of a heart. In order to fit in a range of flowers I decided to go big - the canvas size is 50x50 which gave plenty of room to include lots of fun flowers in various colours shapes and sizes.

It was finished just in time for the Egham Royal Show which ran during the bank holiday weekend and I was over the moon to win first prize in the category that I entered. It is now hanging in pride of place in my work room at Hope & Gloria HQ. The weather is a bit dreary here today, so it's lovely to have my burst of summer colour on the wall to remind me of a sunny day at RHS Wisley.

Next week I shall be adding a fabric flower tutorial post to the blog - come back and take a look!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Shows, Summer Sewing

I am lucky that my work means I can take a six week break during the summer. I love the summer for many reasons. Time to spend with my family thanks to the school hols, having a week or two away and the odd day trip, not to mention being able to have an occassional lie-in children permitting.

The school summer holidays also mean I have extra spare time to devote to projects that have been on the back burner during the school year due to concentrating on Hope & Gloria sewing clubs and everything that they involve. During my spare time since the beginning of the summer break I have been in a quilting/stitching/knitting frenzy and have completed three projects so this weekend I decided to enter them in to a local handicraft competition.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I love a village fair and over the past few years my family and I have had lots of fun going to local agricultural shows as well. I discovered the handicraft competitions a couple of years ago and last year I entered my first - the Egham Royal Show. These events are an amazing way for people to showcase their talents and hopefully inspire others to pick up a needle, a knitting pin or get their sewing machine out and get crafting.

The Chertsey Show is one of my favourites and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the area.
We had a fantastic family afternoon at the show yesterday and there really was something for everyone ranging from adorable livestock to classics cars.

A rare highland cow in the cattle tent.

Knights preparing to joust

Swing boats flying high!

Giles next to his dream car.

Stunning flowers in the horticulture marquee

I entered three categories at the show:

Knitting with my floral tea cosy

There were no prizes for this one but I am still very fond of this cute teapot cover. There were many stunning entries in the knitting category so I was happy just to showcase my project among them.

My Christmas themed cushion is hand appliqued, patchworked and quilted and then machine finished. I was delighted to achieve third place in the "stitched cushion" category.

I entered this colourful patterned bag in to the quilting and applique category and I was over the moon to win first prize.

Winning the prizes was a lovely end to a brilliant afternoon but I would highly recommend entering projects at the summer shows to anyone - it's a great way to show people why you love sewing, knitting or any type of craft and you may just inspire someone to begin a new hobby.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Super Sweet Strawberry!

In our home the start of the summer holidays is usually closely followed by fruit picking. It's a fun activity that we all join in with and it also means a tasty treat along the way.

We went fruit picking a week ago and came home laden with a basket full of raspberries which were quickly transformed in to eleven jars of delicious jam. Our efforts with strawberries were less successful and it proved to be a fruitless task (apologies for that pun).

Here is Theo demonstrating the less than inspiring pick of the crop. I guess that far more enthusiastic fruit pickers had beaten us to it this year.

However, the strawberry remains a firm favourite in our house and our fruit picking adventures inspired me to make a felt strawberry pin cushion. This is a quick and easy make - ideal for children to create on a summer's afternoon. Here's how to make it:

You will need:

Red felt, green felt scraps, yellow thread, red thread, soft toy filling.

Step one:

Cut a circle of red felt. I drew around a tea plate an ideal way to get the basic shape if you don't have a set of compasses to hand.

Step two:

Cut the circle in half and one semi circle will make a basic strawberry shape. I decorated mine with small "V" stitches to give the appearance of seeds. You could also leave it blank - the pins will also give the appearance of seeds once it's in use.

Step three:

Fold the semi circle in half with the right sides facing inwards.

Pin and sew along the straight edge. starting at the pointed end and sewing towards the curved edge. When you reach the end tie a finishing knot but don't cut the thread.

Step four:

Turn your strawberry so that the right side is facing outwards. Continue sewing running stitch around the top edge until you have sewn all the way around.

Step five

Now start to gently pull the thread until the tope edge begins to gather. Add plenty of stuffing and continue to pull the thread until it is completely gathered with just a small hole in the top centre.

Step six:

Add some stitches to make it secure and your strawberry body is complete.

Step seven:

Cut four or five leaves from the green felt and sew in to place on the top of the strawberry. If you wish to add a stalk cut a small rectangle of felt, roll it to make a stalk shape, secure with a few stitches and sew in to place on top of the leaves.

Now you have the perfect seasonal pin cushion. These lovely fruity fabric makes also work brilliantly as decorations - just sew a green thread loop through the top instead of a felt stalk.

Happy Summer Sewing!

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.