Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas for me began back in September when I finalised the designs for our school sewing clubs Christmas projects. It continued with kit preparation for all of the Hope & Gloria Team with the help of Sarah our production assistant. At the beginning of November we began making our Christmas gift bags and tree decorations in our clubs.

In December we visited Christmas Fairs to run make and take sessions and things began to feel a little more festive. My birthday was celebrated and so was my son's 11th birthday. Once these celebrations were finished our tree went up and so did the decorations - a grown up tree in the lounge and a children's tree in the corridor near the boys bedroom, with various bits and pieces everywhere else in our home.

In amongst all of this there has been frantic Christmas shopping and online ordering to ensure happy smiley faces on Christmas morning. We have already had family visits and lunches and many more to follow over the next week or so. I am delighted to say that all of the presents are wrapped and ready to be placed under the tree, and a turkey has taken up temporary residence in our fridge!

I am really pleased to have found the time for one last quick sewing project which has been at the back of my mind for the past few weeks. I adore reindeer and made this quick and easy project last night in honour of the adorable creatures that will be pulling Santa's sleigh later this evening.

So now after many months of planning Christmas Eve has arrived - Hooray! Time to relax and enjoy a lovely Christmas with my wonderful family.....the most wonderful time of the year. 

Wishing you a fabulous and very Merry Christmas 
and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chocolate Heaven - A Christmas Treat!

This morning the Hope & Gloria team downed their tools and got together for some festive fun in the form of a chocolate workshop at The Chocolate Factory in Windsor.

We swapped our usual needles, thread and fabric for chocolate moulds and lots of tasty ingredients to make three deliciously decorated bars of chocolate and divine chocolate truffles.

The team at the Chocolate Factory were hugely welcoming and encouraging to our team of chocolatier novices and a really lovely time was had by all. We all left laden with tasty treats - take a look at our creative morning....

kitted out with our hats, aprons and moulds - ready to go...

pouring the liquid chocolate into a mould - so tempted to dip fingers in!

beautifully decorated chocolate bars - yum!

bagged and labelled - ready for giving!

A huge Thank you to the lovely team who made our morning so enjoyable. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Festive Felt Hearts & Stars - A Christmas Decoration Tutorial

For the past half term at our sewing clubs we have been making Christmas decorations. When it comes to the festive season there are three colours that shout out "Christmas!) - yes that's right, red, green and white and we have used them in abundance in our sewing clubs.

As you can imagine we have quite a few scraps left over and this adorable project is an ideal way to make use of them. It is an easy and simple and will look great on a tree, draped across a window or doorway and also looks good along the edge of a shelf. As with last year I am still in love with the whole Nordic theme when it comes to Christmas decorations and these fab hearts and stars will look great with many of the decorations I have scattered around the house from last year.

Here's how to make them...

All you need are two felt heart or star shapes, some contrasting thread, a small amount of stuffing and brightly coloured ribbon. I cut the shapes out using pinking shears to give a zig zag edge. They are approximately 8cm in width and depth.

Step one

Use the contrasting thread to decorate using star stitches.

Step two

Pin the two felt hearts together and sew around the edge of the heart using running stitch. Leave a gap of aprrox. 3cm on one side.

Step three

Add a small amount of stuffing - just enough to give the heart some depth and sew up the remaining hole.

Step four

Now your first little Nordic-style heart is complete. They also look great as individual decorations to hang on the tree. If you decide to do this simply thread a loop through the top and it's ready to hang.

If you plan to make a bunting style decoration like mine you will need nine decorations to fill a 2m length of ribbon. I used 5 hearts and 4 stars.

The stars are made in exactly the same way. I chose to add an embroidered heart to two of mine with a red star stitch on the other two.

Again these pretty stars can be used as individual decorations or sewn on to ribbon in a bunting style just pin in place and secure with a couple of stitches at the back.

Sew the rest of your hearts and stars in to place and all you need to do now is decide where to hang your gorgeous Festive Felt Decoration - Happy Christmas!

Christmas Fairs & Craft Kits - A Very Busy Weekend!

The It's A Hoot Fab Fabric Frame from our new Craft Kit Collection

Last weekend was a very busy one for the Hope & Gloria Team. We added three new designs to our newly launched craft kit range and were delighted to debut them at the St Jude's and St Cuthbert's Christmas Fairs.

Both were lovely events fuelled by the brilliant enthusiasm of the schools' parent associations along with the excitement of the children.

The Hope & Gloria stalls with their "Make & Take" sessions at both schools were a hub of activity from start to finish and there were many adorable polar pals made and taken home to adorn Christmas trees on that day. We also sold lots of our craft kits and it is always rewarding to discover that children and adults alike love what we have to offer and are inspired to make Hope & Gloria Designs at home.

Our fab stall at St Jude's complete with my treasured antique sewing machine.

In addition to the It's a Hoot Fab Fabric Frame featured at the top of the page, we have also added the following kits to the range:

Fab Fabric Frame - Cute Cupcake

It's A Hoot Baby Owl Brooch (available in blue or pink)

As you know, feedback on what we do at Hope & Gloria is always gratefully received and we were delighted to see the results from one of our new kits at one of our sewing clubs last week. I am pleased to report that Isabella found the It's A Hoot Fab Fabric Frame really easy to make and that the instructions were easy to follow - excellent news and a huge "Well Done" to Isabella!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Festive Polar Pals

We are now firmly right in the heart of the Christmas Fair season. I love Christmas Fairs - as a child and since having children of my own they are a huge part of the lovely build up to the big day on 25th December.

Tomorrow Hope & Gloria will be running two stalls at local Christmas Fairs and for the first time we'll be offering "Make & Take" sessions. Christmas is the perfect time to find craft inspiration and tomorrow visitors to the fairs will have the opportunity to make one of these gorgeous little chaps that I am really rather proud of....

...Hope & Gloria Polar Pals. The polar bear was the first decoration that came along - I adore polar bears and hope that one day I shall get to see one if not face to face then certainly at close range. I appreciate that penguins come from the south pole and not strictly associated with Christmas but they are from one of the poles and look adorable so I decided to add one to the range. Finally because three is the magic number I added a cute sea lion balancing a red ball on his nose.

They are hung on colourful patterned ribbon as I try to use patterned fabric in most of my designs and would look great hanging on a tree or as a festive keyring.

15% of all money raised will be donated to the school parent association - so fingers crossed for fabulous, festive and successful school Fairs. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Let It Sew! Hope & Gloria Festive Sewing Kits Launched Today

Wow! We are so delighted to announce the launch of our new festive Hope & Gloria Sewing Kits. You can now bring a touch of Hope & Gloria to your home this festive season with the launch of our new range of make at home projects.

Christmas is the perfect time of year to get crafty and with this in mind we have added three adorable Christmas decoration sewing kits to our range of make at home products. Each kit contains all you need to make two cool yule sewn decorations including easy to follow instructions and with each kit costing just £5.50 they are the ideal way to keep little or large fingers busy in the run up to the big day on 25th December.

Choose from the following:

O' Christmas Trees - Mini Felt Tree Decorations
To buy click here

Gingerbread Boy & Cosy Cottage
To buy click here

Jingle Bell Mini Stockings
To buy click here

Easy to make but hugely effective our sewing kits are ideal for children young and old whether you are a total  beginner or a confirmed sewing fan. Visit our online shop to find out more simply click here Happy Sewing Christmas!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs - Our Fabulous Autumn Gallery

Last half term was very busy at Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs. We took our inspiration from the Autumnal Woodland and lovely woodland flora and fauna featured heavily in our designs and projects.

We have some amazingly talented children at our clubs who should be very proud of what they produced - here are just a few the fabulous completed projects - can you see yours?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkins, Bats and Witch's Hats! - A Halloween Themed Sewing Workshop

A huge well done to all of the delightful girls who came along to our Halloween themed sewing workshop this morning.

A very creative morning was had by all and everyone who attended took home some fabulous decorations just in time for trick or treat fun this evening.

Take a look at what we made...

Bonkers Bat!

Our very own pumpkin patch.

Crazy bats and a witch's hat!

Dia De Los Muertos

Happy Halloween! In the UK when we think of Halloween images of witches, skeletons, bats and cats spring to mind, some more gruesome than others. This year I have looked further afield for Halloween sewing inspiration - to Mexico.

The equivalent of our Halloween celebrations in Mexico is Dia de Los Muertos or Day of The Dead.This festival combines the old native tribal traditions of Mexico with modern religion and is celebrated across two days - 1st and 2nd November.

Mexicans believe that on these days at midnight spirits of their dead loved ones can be welcomed back into our world and with this in mind they go to great lengths to decorate the graves of their loved ones with beautiful Marigold flowers and offerings of food which will give the spirits sustenance. This is where Sugar Skulls come in - traditionally made for the Dia de los Muertos festival sugar skulls are made purely from sugar and are decorated with brightly coloured icing in contrast to the white or chocolate base.

They are made with the purpose of being an offering to the Mexicans dead family members and are all part of the celebration of peoples' lives and love for lost relatives rather than the spookier traditions that we favour in the UK.

The sugar skulls and bright gaudy colours of the Dia de Los Muertos festival are my inspiration for a Halloween cushion. It started with the skull shape and things developed from there. Many Mexican sugar skulls are traditionally decorated with flowers, plants, leaves, tendrils and hearts and using fabulously bright colours. I embroidered these on to my felt skull. This is a great creative project - I would highly recommend grabbing some brightly coloured embroidery thread and seeing where your creativity takes you. Most sugar skulls are symmetrical in design but this seems to be the only design rule.

The flower and hearts are appliqued felt and I used heart shaped buttons in the centre of the eyes. The rest of the design is embroidered. It measures approximately 4 x 6 inches.

I have embroidered my sugar skull on to a red heart as it seems to me that the day of the dead in Mexico is really all about love for those that have passed away. I then sewed it on to a charcoal felt square measuring 14 x 14 inches. It is going to be a cushion cover and although it is not quite finished for 1st November this year I look forward to bringing it out next year and for many year's to come around the time of Dia de Los Muertos!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Spooky Spider Bunting - A Halloween Decoration Tutorial

Autumn has arrived here at Hope & Gloria HQ. The leaves in the garden are beginning to turn colour ready for their beautiful Autumnal parade of yellows, oranges, and reds. The last of the apples are ready to be picked and my freezer is bursting with frozen blackberries after this year's bumper fruit crop.

The line from John Keat's Ode to Autumn is one that is overused but this year it really does feel like a "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness". Last week when the boys and I were leaving the house for the school run we were greeted with a murky mist outside, but on the flip side the damp fog served to highlight a carpet of truly stunning spider's webs all over the garden - I had to take a few pics.

Whether you are fond of spiders or not, you have to admire these industrious little creatures - the display of their handiwork is one of nature's marvels. My mother and sisters are terrified of spiders and one of my boys is not too keen either Thankfully, I am not scared of these eight legged friends which is a good because we do seem to get more than our fair share of them making themselves at home in our house.

Spiders and their stunning webs are the inspiration for this Halloween sewing idea. Easy to make and effective it will look great draped across a window, wall or doorway on 31st October. 

For part of this project I used burlap (also known as hessian). I wanted to give the bunting a folk art feel rather than using the traditional oranges and blacks found in most Halloween decorations and I have seen burlap used in folk art Christmas Decorations with great effect. Burlap can be tricky to work with - you need to be careful not to fray the edges as you work but the end results are fab giving the decorations a rustic feel.

Here's how to make my Spooky Spider Bunting:

You will need:

  • Felt triangles (width at top 15cm, length 20cm), or burlap (hessian), for 1m of bunting you will need 5 triangles in total.
  • Cotton thread
  • Felt "Spider Bodies"
  • Embroidery thread
  • Ribbon

Step 1. Spider's Web Flags

Embroider your spider's web on to a felt triangle. 

First draw a spider's web design on to the felt - I used an air soluble embroidery pen. These can be bought in most haberdashery shops and are a brilliantly useful addition to your sewing box. Designs can be drawn on to most fabric giving you a guide to sew on to. Within 36 hours the ink will have faded beneath the design leaving just your embroidered pattern on show.

If you don't have an air soluble pen a thin line drawn with a narrow tipped pen will work just as well. Your thick embroidery thread should cover  the ink.

Using backstitch sew your spider's web on to the felt following the pattern you have drawn. If you are unsure of how to backstitch take a look at our guide by clicking here 

For my design I used cream thread on a dark grey background but other more traditional "Halloween colours" such as purples, oranges, blacks and green would work just as well.

Step 2. Spooky Spider Flags

Sew your spider's body on to the burlap flag using backstitch.

Now add eight legs again using backstitch.

Step 3

Decide on the layout of your flags. I placed a grey spider's web on cream felt at the centre, then two spiders facing in opposite directions were placed on either side with cream webs on grey felt on the outside.

Step 4

Now position your ribbon across the top of each flag and sew in to place. It is easier to work from the centre outwards leaving a small gap of approx 3cm inbetween each flag.

Step 5

Now your Spooky Spider Bunting is complete - all you need to decide is where to hang it!