Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Festive Felt Poinsettia Tutorial

Along with Holly and Mistletoe Poinsettia Plants are synonymous with Christmas. Although not the easiest plant to keep alive (I usually only manage to do this until Boxing Day), their bright red petals bring a fantastic splash of colour indoors during the festive season. 

Since I have researched the origins of the Christmas Wreath this year, I though I'd do the same with Poinsettias and was delighted to discover a truly lovely myth behind the use of these vibrant plants as decoration at Christmas time.

Poinsettias originate from Mexico and South America where they are known as Flor de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Flower). They became associated with Christmas in the 16th century where legend has it that a poor girl called Maria had nothing to give to the church at Christmas. She was visited by an angel who told her to gather plants and weeds from the roadside to leave at her church altar. The plants were transformed overnight into beautiful Poinsettia flowers and since then they have been associated with Christmas giving. The star shaped flowers are said to represent the star of Bethlehem and the red colour symbolises the blood of Jesus. 

So having found out why we decorate our houses with these flowers I decided to make my own using felt. I have used them to decorate my fabric wreath (as seen in the previous post),but they also look lovely as a decoration when wrapping Christmas gifts. Here's how to make them:

You will need: Red felt, green felt, yellow buttons, thread

Step one:

Cut a circle from the red felt with an 8cm diameter (you can vary the size according to the size of flower you want to make). Make five straight cuts equal in spaced equally arond the circle from the outside edge stopping about 1cm from the centre. 

This will form your petals.

Step two:

Now cut each of your petals in to an equal point shape.

Step three

Fold one of the petals in half and sew a few over stitches along the fold, from the centre to half way along your "petal".

Step four:

When turned over to have the right side facing up the petal should now fold upwards and you can just about see a line formed from the over stitches on the back of the petal - this looks like the lines you will see along the centre of a Poinsettia Petal.

Repeat this process with each of your felt petals.

Step five:

Turn your flower the right side up and sew a yellow button in the centre and add a green felt leaf.

The leaves look fab if you use back stitch to add lines along the centre. 

These simple flowers take no time at all to make and are great for using us scraps of fabric to make a lovely finishing touch with a vintage feel - Happy making Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fabulous Fabric Holiday Wreath

Christmas wreaths are big this year - both in terms of size and popularity. There are all shapes and sizes made from all manner of materials for indoors and outdoors throughout many shops and I have become a fan.

Christmas wreaths or garlands have been around for years - hundreds in fact. Whether naturalistic and made from real woodland finds such as fir, holly and pine cones or kitsch and made from feathers, plastic and even baubles, they adorn the doors of the nation every Christmas time.

I thought I would look in to the origins of the Christmas wreath and as with so many of our festive customs their origins can be found in Paganism. The circular shape represents eternal and ongoing life and nature's survival after the barren Winter. Laurel wreaths were used by the Romans to represent strength and power. The use of holly in these gorgeous decorations is linked to the druids who considered Holly to be a sacred plant maintaining it's rich green colour all year round.

This year we have a white driftwood heart on our front door which is lit by fairy lights woven across it but I thought I would have a go at making my own felt and fabric design to hang indoors using fabric and felt in bright reds and greens inspired by those in traditional Christmas door wreaths. I love the results!

For the base of the wreath I used a polystyrene ring that I bought in our local craft shop. I then wrapped some strips of leftover fabric around it securing on the back with drawing pins. It's a good idea to iron a 1cm fabric seam to give a neat finish as you go and to hide the raw edge underneath.

I have used felt poinsettias as my main decoration. These are very easy to make and also look fabulous as brooches or as special decorative touches when wrapping presents. If you would like to make them, take a look at the tutorial in the next post.

As a finishing touch I have added a luscious red satin ribbon to hang it from. My wreath now hangs in pride of place on my workroom door bringing a splash of festive Hope & Gloria colour to the room - it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sweet Treat Cones - A Festive Felt Tutorial

So the big countdown has begun and we are just a couple of weeks away from Christmas - Hooray!

The build up at Hope & Gloria began in earnest at the end of November when we held our first ever Family Christmas Sewing Workshop. As you know, we cater for a young audience with our school sewing clubs and holiday workshops so it felt very special to welcome an older group of sewing enthusiasts and keen beginners to one of our workshops in amongst our regulars and a few new faces. We were delighted to have grandparents, parents and children joining us for an afternoon of festive sewing, mulled wine and Christmas music playing gently in the background.

It's always a challenge to design projects that are going to work with mixed ability groups and for this workshop the challenge was extended to including projects that adults would also like to make. Thankfully the balance seemed to have been just right and the twenty people that attended left with fabulous handmade decorations, smiles on their faces and many requests for us to add something similar to the Hope & Gloria schedule in the near future - brilliant!

Along with Nordic Star decorations and Fabulous Felt Santas we also made Sweet Treat Cones. These cute decorations look great filled with treats and hanging on a Christmas tree or are a brilliant idea to use instead of party bags. They are also re-usable and can be part of your festive celebrations for years to come. Here's how to make them:

You will need:

  • 1 felt quarter circle, 1 strip of felt 2cm x 20cm,
  • To decorate - choose from beads, buttons, felt shapes, coloured thread to embroider stitches, shapes etc

**To make a template for the quarter circle cut out a large circle from a piece of paper. I used one with a diameter of 40cm but this can be varied depending on how large you want your cones to be, Fold the circle in half and half again to make a quarter then open out and cut along the folds.

Step one:

Decorate the front of the felt quarter circle using colourful stitches, fabric shapes, buttons, ribbon and anything else that looks festive.

Step two:

Fold it in half with the right sides facing and sew small running stitches along the straight edge.

Step three:

Turn it the right way around so that the design is on the ourside.

Step four:

Using a strip of felt or some ribbon as a handle sew the ends in place opposite each other at the top edge of the cone. Buttons make great decoration and will keep the handles place.

Your sweet treat cone is now complete and all you need to do is fill it with delicious Christmas Treats. Enjoy!