Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

O' Christmas Tree

It is exactly two weeks until we'll be  heading off to the local garden centre to buy our Christmas Tree and bringing it home tied precariously to the top of our car to be decorated with our much loved decorations that we have gathered over the years. We always leave it a bit late as there are two very important birthdays in our house at the beginning of December - one of them being mine!

When it comes to Christmas trees in our home it simply has to be a real one. There is something fabulous and uplifiting about the scent of a good old Nordic Spruce filling the home. Artificial trees are just not an option, although when it gets to December 27th and everyone is complaining about pine needles stuck in their socks and the dog is looking forlorn as she gets yet another stuck in her foot I will probably be making an oath to invest in an artificial tree next year!

The Christmas tree was introduced to Great Britain during the reign of George III by Princess Charlotte who brought the custom from her native Germany where they had been popular for many years but they were only used as decoration among the nobility. It was popularised during the Victorian era. I am so grateful to Victoria and Albert as there surely can be no better centerpiece when it comes to decorating the home at Christmas!

Inspired by the fabulous Christmas Tree I have made these adorable decorations using felt buttons and beads.

They are made by decorating a quarter circle of felt with beads or buttons of your choice - you can keep it simple or go to town with a riot of shapes and colours. The tree in the centre of the picture has "Tinsel" added using backstitch. Sew up the two stright edges with the "decorations" facing inwards and then turn outwards so that the decorations are back on the outside.

Fill with soft toy filling making sure they are firmly padded to keep the shape and then sew on a circular felt base using over-stitch.

These miniature trees are the perfect way to add a splash of colour to a mantelpiece, shelf, table or any space in need of some fun festive cheer.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christmas Scandi Star Tutorial

The Scandinavian folk art style has become incredibly popular around Christmas Time over the past couple of years. The simplicity of the designs and the use of red and white make a brilliant contrast with the deep green of a Fir Tree adding a stylish touch to the home at Christmas.

I love to use patterned fabric and felt together. These felt stars are made using a simple reverse applique technique. This means that a piece of fabric is sewn behind the main fabric to give a motif rather than in traditional applique where a fabric motif is sewn on top of the main fabric (as in the checked stars), and it works brilliantly to bring a splash of colour to the plain felt shape.

These Christmas stars are easy to make and will look great on a tree or as door hangers bringing a touch of Scandinavia to your home this Christmas. They can be made using scraps of felt and fabric that you have lying around and take no time at all to make simply follow the instructions below.

You will need:

  • 2 x red felt star shapes - mine measure approx 10 x 10 com
  • Scraps of gingham fabric in red or beige
  • Cream cotton pearl thread

Step one

Cut a small heart shape from the centre of one of the felt stars.

Step two

Cut a small piece of gingham fabric and position it behind the heart cut out.

Step three

Sew the gingham in to place by using back stitch around the cut out heart.
Step four

Pin the felt back to the star and sew around the edges using blanket stitch leaving a small gap to add a small amount of toy filling to give some depth to the star but not too much as it will distort the shape. Sew up the remaining hole.

Step five

Make a loop through the top of the star using some of the cotton pearl thread. The fab felt folk art star is now complete and ready to add to my collection!

These stars also look great when made using gingham fabric with a felt heart sewn on the front - perfectly simple Scandinvian inspired decorations for the home this Christmas.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rockin' Robin

There is only one bird that embodies the spirit of Christmas for me (except for the Turkey of course, but that's for entirely different reasons), - the gorgeous, fat, friendly Robin.

We have had a couple in our garden this year and I try to encourage them to visit with bird feeders crammed full of peanuts and sunflower seeds. However, the local squirrels seem to have other ideas at the moment and I have to say the squirrels are winning.. The squirrels are growing rather large on their peanut and sunflower diet, as is the amount of money I am spending on bird food!

We are making felt robin tree decorations in our sewing clubs in preparation for Christmas and I was asked by one girl why we associate robins with Christmas. To be honest I wasn't enirely sure so I decided to do some research. It seems that the jolly looking robin is steeped in folklore and here are some of the facts I have discovered:

  • In Norse mythology the Robin is associated with Thor the god of thunder and if you spotted one a thunderstorm was supposed to be on the way.

  • An old British folktale tells of how the robin used to be fully brown until it flew too close to Jesus on the cross and was stained with his blood and since that point it had it's distinguishing feature - the red breast.

  • The more probable reason that we have for associating robins with Christmas time comes from the Victorian era as do most of our Christmas traditions in the UK. In Victorian times British postmen wore red uniforms and their nickname was "Robins".  The robins that began to be shown on Christmas cards were an emblem of the people delivering them.
Next time I am asked that question I shall now feel fully equipped to give an answer!

My felt robin is round, fat, jolly and ready to bring a smile at Christmas. It is made from two simple brown felt "robin" shapes with a bright red breast sewn on to the front using white thread and blanket stitch to give the effect of the white edge that you will see around a robin's red breast. A small black button for the eye and a wing is added with blanket stitch. The edges can be sewn using running, over or blanket stitch. It contains a small amount of toy stuffing to add some depth. Looking forward to hanging him on the tree in a few weeks time.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Woolly Mammoth - Further Adventures in Upcycling

Following on from the felted bag that I proudly upcycled from my charity shop find, here is my second project created from the felted stripey jumper.

The previously unwanted and unloved jumper has been turned into a fab cuddly toy who is ready to be cherished by a new owner. The felted wool fabric is certainly soft enough for great cuddles or this woolly mammoth would also look great sitting on a shelf as an accessory in a child's bedroom.

Although I do have a confession to make - not all of the elephant is upcycled. The ears are made from pink felt that was lying around my workroon in need of a purpose, and as it perfectly matches the pink stripe in the wool I just had to use it to bring a further splash of colour to this handsome creature!