Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Happy Mother's Day UK

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Half Term Workshops - Fab Fleece Scarves

This morning's workshop was a huge success. We were all busy preparing for the cold Winter months making fab fleece scarves and the results were fantastic!

I love our school holiday workshops. It is always hugely satisfying when children complete their projects from start to finish in one morning and can take home something that is all their own work. It never ceases to amaze me how creative children can be and all of the designs are truly individual with no two being the same. Many of the children have been coming to our holiday workshops for over a year now and you can really begin to recognise their personalities in their creations. A huge well done to everybody!

Here are just a few of the children's fabulous scarves from today - can't wait to see what they will produce tomorrow.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dachshund Draught Excluder

I live in a male dominated house. My husband and three boys account for the muddy rugby boots and ice hockey kit that is found lying around and I am sure that my passion for craft and creating generally pretty things is in some small way a compensation for the lack of pink to be found in our home.

However, I do have one female companion - our pet Dachshund Elsie. She is by no means a typical lady and is never happier than when she is covered in mud and leaves after a long walk through Windsor Great Park. I have always loved Dachsunds. There is something incredibly pleasing about their bizarre shape and Elsie never fails to raise a smile or a grimace of frustration with her stubborn personality.

Elsie, my faithful hound, is the inspiration for this project - a Dachshund Draught Excluder. The three dachshund silhouettes are made from black felt appliqued on to calico. The collars are embroidered using backstitch and I have added glamourous gold heart shaped pendants from my bead collection to the collars. The main fabric is Clarke & Clarke curtain fabric which gives the draught excluder a fun retro feel.

Now that the days are getting colder and the nights longer I have the perfect door to place it next to in the corridor near the boys bedrooms. I love the grey dot fabric so much that a complementing roman blind is going to follow!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Woolly Jumper Upcycling - Fab Felt Bag

Manmade fibres have accounted for the demise of the 100% lambswool woolly jumper and in general they are few and far between on the high street. I have to say that in terms of fashion I have never been a fan, hating the scratchy feel of the wool against my skin. However, these days I have fallen in love with these jumpers; not for fashion reasons but for crafting and I often scour the local charity shops hunting for unwanted woolly bargains.

The reason for this is felting. It can be a  hugely straightforward process involving shrinking a 100% lambswool jumper in the washing machine. This has the effect of binding the fibres in the wool together to make a wonderful dense felted fabric that is ideal for sewing projects which won't fray when you cut into the fabric.. The key is to make sure sure that your jumper is made from 100% lambswool - any hint of a manmade fibre and it just won't work.

All you need to do is throw your unwanted jumper into the washing machine and wash on a hot or boil wash -  90 degrees works best. This will shrink your jumper to approx two thirds of its original size but will have magically bound the fibres to give it a thicker feel. Once dry it will be ready for a new life in the form of any sewing project that takes your fancy.

When I found the above jumper in my local charity shop I was delighted - colourful stripes for fab
upcycling ideas. So I have set myself the task of producing three projects from a single unwanted jumper....

 ....and here is the first - a cute and colourful handbag. It is the sumplest thing to make. Cut two pieces of the fabric in any shape. For this bag I chose a rounded bottom and added a simple flower. This was made by using the cuff from the jumper with a big pink button in the centre which matches one of the woolly stripes.

Once you have added any embellishments, pin the two pieces together with the right sides facing inwards and sew around the edges with a 1/2 cm seam. Backstitch is good as it gives extra strength or you can use a sewing machine. Turn the bag the right way around. To neaten the top edges fold inwards 1cm of the fabric and sew to give a neat edge.

To make the handles cut two strips 3cm wide from the sleeves of the jumper and fold over each other to form a tube shape then secure in place using overstitch. Position these on the inside of the bag and secure with a few stitches.

 Once complete all you need to decide is whether to give as a gift or to keep for shopping expeditions!  More woolly jumper upcycling ideas to follow.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stylish Ghoulish Bags

Usually at this time of year I drag our set of three plastic pumpkin buckets bought many years ago from the local supermarket out of a box in the loft for our annual trick or treat expedition. I shall probably do the same thing all over again this year as I have three boys who favour plastic!

However, I have turned my thoughts to deisgns for stylish home sewn trick or treat bags and have come up with these designs as an alternative for children or adults who are looking for a more individual look whilst gathering Halloween treats.

Childrens' imagination can really run wild with these bags which are simple to make and cost about the same or even less than those you can buy in shops. All of the bags are made from felt rectangles measuring 20 x 30cm, - an ideal size for cramming full of sweets when adults accompany them on the trick or treat rounds this 31st October. The edges are sewn with blanket stitch for added strength and two felt handles are sewn securely at the top with buttons to decorate.

Children young and old seem to love skull motifs whether they are based on Goth designs, Mexican Sugar Skulls or the more traditional skull and crossbones favoured by pirates. With this in mind I have added my own simple skull design to one of the bags. The witches' cat looks elegant with her gingham collar and and pendant and finally.......a pumpkin bag as a nod to our family's plastic buckets!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Planting for Christmas

Strictly speaking the purpose of this blog is to pass on sewing ideas so it is probably surprising to find a picture of bulbs on it but bear with me please.

My father is a horticulturalist by profession and as a teenager I spent many hours working at his garden centre near our family home. Unfortunately, I didn't inherit his green fingers but I did discover plants that I love - hyacinths being one of many. I love the scent that fills the house and always buy a planter filled with hyacinths around Christmas time.

This year I am determined to give as many gifts with a personal touch and these bulbs form part of my plan. I have followed my Dad's instructions and the bulbs now sit in individual pots of bulb compost in our garage being "forced" and if all goes according to plan and I remember to water them in approximately 8 weeks time they should be ready for stage 2 of my Christmas gift idea. Fingers crossed.

The sewing part of this project will definitely follow in about six weeks time and I am looking forward to sharing the results.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Love Your Mummy!

Continuing with the Halloween theme - here is a great project for kids for a rainy Autumn afternoon.

Mummy dolls are so simple to make and they can be dressed up or down. For the traditionalists you can stop at the bandage stage but to me my Mummy Doll just looked too bare so I have accessorised with a felt heart to show her sweeter side and a ribbon at a jaunty angle.

Incredibly simple to make children will love them. All you need is felt, buttons, thread, soft toy filling and a small roll of cotton bandage. For the base doll I used some dark grey felt which had been sitting in my workroom needing a purpose for some time. It gives the dark shadow effect behind the badages on the face, but any fabric is fine as it will be hidden.

Make a body shaped template and cut out two from the felt or base fabric. Sew on the button eyes. I used two buttons - green and black, but beads can be just as effective. Pin the two shapes together and using small stitches sew around the edges leaving a small gap for filling. Add the filling and sew up the gap.

Now it's time for bandaging your Mummy.  Wrap the cotton bandage around the legs working your way upwards across the body towards the arms. It may be easier to cut the bandage and secure with a few small stitches before starting again with the arms and head. Any gaps can be covered by securing the bandages with small stitches.

Ideas for accessorising your Mummy - a small beaded necklace, a bow tie, or even a small flower corsage.  Why not make a family?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Halloween Just For Me

We love Halloween in our home. One of my boys even says he prefers it to Christmas. Although I am sure if we decided to celebrate All Hallows Eve instead of Christmas he may have a huge rethink.

A Monster Halloween Party became a tradition in our family many (full) moons ago. Last year we entertained 30 children and 20 adults with a garden party at home with all manner of games and tasty treats and this year we plan to do the same. The boys first began discussing this year's party in February at which point we all had to agree that Halloween planning was firmly off limits until at least 31st July!

As you can imagine this has become a regular topic of discussion over the past couple of weeks in our household. Costumes are yet to be decided upon but one thing has been made to clear to me: this year I have to make more of an effort than just dragging my pair of neon yellow and black stripey tights out from the bottom of my drawer where they remain from one 31st October to the next!

As the boys grow older they are moving away from the cute costumes and fun decorations that so often adorned the house and as far as they are concerned, the more gruesome the better. Although they appreciate the work that goes into my home made decorations they would much rather have a groaning plastic ghoul hanging in the porch to greet trick or treaters than a goggle eyed, woolly legged fabric spider!

I am sad to say that this year at Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs we have had no opportunity for Halloween decorations. Half Term is later than usual so our workshops will mean the start of many Christmas Projects, and in schools we have been so busy with our Woodland Creature inspired projects that there has been no time to fit in the odd felt pumpkin or fabric Witch's Cat.

So this year my Halloween Projects are just for me! The first is my Fat Bat Door Garland. I was really happy with the result and it will look fab hanging over one of the doors inside our home this Halloween - I guess the boys may win with the ghoul on the porch, but I plan to make many more Halloween themed garlands to hang indoors - results to follow soon....