Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

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!

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