Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Funky Pumpkin Patch Tutorial

When I think of Halloween, like most people, I think pumpkins. Huge, plump, round cheerful orange ones with cut out scary faces.

Last Friday I went to the Taste of Autumn Food Festival at RHS Wisley. As well as eating lots of delicious food samples my friends and I were amazed by the fabulous displays of pumpkins and gourds. These beautiful autumnal displays were placed all around the gardens and we were surprised to see how many varieties there are available not to mention the spectrum of colour to be found amongst this particular type of food.

Pretty impressive pumpkins

So last weekend, inspired by these fabulous displays I decided to make ,my own pumpkin patch. I found suitable fabric lurking in the bottom of a box which once upon a time was destined for a brightly coloured quilt. As with so many things the quilt never happened but I love what has grown in it's place....

If you would like to make a pumpkin patch of your own in time for Halloween - this is how you do it:

You will need:

Patterned cotton fabric and some green felt.

Step one:

As a rule the length of the fabric should be twice the width. For my pumpkins I used fabric measuring 15 x 30 cm

Step two:

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise with right sides facing and sew along the outside edge opposite the fold secure with a finishing knot at the end.

Step three:

Sew along the bottom edge using running stitch.

Step four:

Now pull the thread so that the fabric gathers along the bottom edge. Pull it tight and secure with a firm knot.

Step five:

Turn it inside out so that the patterned side of the fabric is now on the outside and sew a row of running stitch all around the top approx 1/2cm from the edge. Do not tie a finishing knot at this stage.

Step six:

Now add plenty of stuffing. Then as with the bottom edge pull the thread so that it gathers around the stuffing. Pull tight and secure with a finishing knot.

Step seven:

Now it's time to make the ridges around the outside of the pumpkin. This can be tricky and you should use a long needle and strong thread. Children will need help from an adult.
Pass your needle through the centre of the pumpkin. Squeezing it tight at the top and bottom to squash the stuffing will enable you to pass the needle through more easily.
Once the needle comes out of the centre at the bottom of the pumpkin, pull the thread through and wrap it tightly around the outside edge. Pass the needle through the middle once again and repeat wrapping the thread tightly around the pumpkin a quarter of the way around the sphere.
Repeat as many times as desired to form the ridges all the way around the outside.

Your pumpkin should now look something like this.

Step eight:

Cut a leaf shape from your green felt and sew it on to the top of your pumpkin

So now that you've finished your funky pumpkin there is only one thing left to do - make more and create your very own pumpkin patch just in time for 31st October! Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Colours of Autumn

Wow, it has been a busy few weeks at Hope & Gloria HQ. We have launched eight clubs in six new schools, we now welcome 500 children a week at our clubs and the Hope & Gloria team has expanded to eight members. So all in all time for creating and sewing has been in short supply.

During this hectic period the Indian summer has left us and Autumn has arrived in all of its glory. Colder temperatures aside there are so many fabulous things to love about the Autumn - colour being one of them. Every Autumn I bore my boys by pointing out beautiful shades of autumnal colour on trees on our school run. From time to time they express vague enthusiasm and I am grateful that they are keen to humour their Mum.

It is of course the changing of the season that has inspired my latest wall art design. Last weekend we went for a family walk through the woods near Virginia Water Lake. The trees are just about on the turn displaying some fabulous colour but aren't quite yet in their full autumnal glory. We found fabulous toadstools on the ground and watched squirrels busily burying acorns. All of these feature in the wall art design.

Toadstools near Virginia Water Lake

The Autumn design follows on from the Summer Garden Wall Art  that I made earlier this year.

When designing for Hope & Gloria sewing clubs I tend to use a range of brightly coloured felt and fabric which our sewing club members love so much, so it was great to work with a different palette for this new project. The colours used echo those that we see outside at this time of year but I have also added texture to make it more interesting.

The hedgehogs and squirrel are made from felted lambswool jumpers and the leaves are made from scraps of fabric I had left over from a quilting project.

There are also a few fun touches such as the googly eyes peering out of the hole in the tree trunk - a nod to Halloween, which will be the inspiration for my next Autumn projects. I am looking forward sharing these shortly but in the meantime I thoroughly recommend a walk in your local woods to find your Autumn inspiration.