Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

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

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!