Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Let The Sunshine!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs - Our Wonderful Year!

So the summer hols have arrived at last. It has been a long half term and anyone with school age children knows just how frantic it can be towards the end of the school year. Along with sports days, swimming galas and parent assemblies there are also numerous parties to attend and teachers' gifts to make/buy.

At Hope & Gloria it is also time for us to reflect on the past twelve months and all of the brilliant things that the children have achieved in our sewing clubs.

A couple of weeks ago I did an assembly for children at a school where we are launching a new after school club in September. I wanted to illustrate what a school year looks like in our clubs. Children were invited to stand at the front and hold up our projects from September through to the end of the school year in July. The idea was to show them the variety of projects they can make and the skills they will learn throughout the course of the year. For me it was a bit of a trip down memory lane as it is so easy to be caught in the here and now and forget all that our fabulous sewing enthusiasts have achieved over the past 12 months.

So here is our review of the year. All of the Hope & Gloria Team have had a truly wonderful year and thoroughly enjoyed working with the lovely children in our school clubs and workshops. We can't show all of the projects that have been made but here is a selection. All of our club members should be very proud of everything they have done - you are brilliant and we look forward to seeing you in September. Until then, "Happy Summer!"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Marvellous Moustaches

Whilst we may not have been ahead of the design curve with moustaches as they have been around as a design motif for quite a while now, last half term in our school sewing clubs we discovered just how much children love them.

They were easily the most popular motifs to be used on key rings, phone cases, wallets and purses in amongst other choices and I have to say they were huge fun and were loved by both boys and girls.

There have been numerous famous moustache wearers - Salvador Dali, Groucho Marx, and Tom Selleck...., to name but a few, but ours was of the terribly British handlebar ilk.

Inspired by the moustache motif I came up with a fun idea for our make and take sessions at Englefest next Saturday in Surrey - these cute little moustaches modelled above by the gorgeous men in my life. We had a lot of fun with them yesterday as you can guess by the pics. Thank you boys, you make perfect models.xx

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Super-Girlie Tutu

In a house full of boys (even the pet guinea pigs are male), sometimes you just want to get girlie.

That's exactly what I did this weekend when I embarked on a totally new kind of project of me - tutu making. This project was uber girlie - pink and cream tulle and satin ribbon were the order of the day (or afternoon), and the result is perfect for any young princess.

I am sorry to say that I have never had the pleasure of wearing one of these fun skirts as I was never a ballerina as a child and I am now far too old to wear one as a fashion statement(!)

I have been toying with the idea of making a tutu for a while and having a couple of spare hours on Sunday afternoon I decided to give it a go. It was a departure to not have a needle and thread in my hand as I worked with fabric and the tulle that I used is not a material that I have worked with before, but I have to say I thought it was a fun and fabulous thing to make.

New colours are already on order - I think these girlie weekend projects may be addictive!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cute Little Cakes - A Fabric Fairy Cake Tutorial

Cupcakes/Fairy Cakes, whatever you want to call them, these quick and easy little makes are just adorable.

I was reading a post on a facebook group a couple of days ago where someone had asked what type of present any teachers in the group like to receive at the end of the school year. The unanimous vote seemed to be for something unique and personal that had been made by the children they had taught. Like the previous fabric flower tutorial, (click here to view),  these sweet little cakes would make lovely teachers' gifts and are so simple to make.

Here's how:

You will need:

1 large felt circle approx' 10cm in diameter (this forms the cake case)
1 slightly smaller felt circle 9cm in diameter (the cake)
Your cake decorations - this could be a felt "splodge" to form the icing, a circle of patterned fabric, or try a fabric heart. You can also add buttons, beads, brightly coloured thread.
A small amount of soft toy filling.

Step one:

Decorate the top of your cake. For this cake I added a button "cherry" to the centre and "sprinkles" of brightly coloured thread.

Step two:

Pin the cake circle to the top of the white felt circle and sew small, even running stitches around the outside edge leaving a small gap of approx 3cm.

Step three:

Remove the pins and gently pull the thread so that the felt begins to gather. Lift the top layer at the same time so that you start to form a 3D "cake" shape. Begin to add your soft toy filling to your cake until you are happy with the shape.

Step four:

Sew up the remaining gap and pull on the thread to add extra shape. You will need to smooth the felt around the thread so that the cake is even in shape.When you are happy with the shape of the cake make a strong finishing knot and cup the thread.

Your fairy/cupcake is now complete and looks good enough to eat. Now all you have to decide is who to give it to. Happy sewing!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Say It With Flowers - A Fabric Flower Tutorial

I love colour! Bold and bright is brash but beautiful as far as I am concerned. When it comes to doing colour with a flourish Mother Nature knows best. Just over a month ago we went for a family walk through Windsor Great Park - this is our regular stomping ground being near to where we live, but in late Spring we head over to an area know as "The Punchbowl" so that I can marvel at the blanket of colour made by the stunning Azaleas and Rhododendrons.

These pictures don't do justice to the vibrancy of the blooms but they give an idea of the stunning colour on show. They are the inspiration for my brightly coloured fabric flower. Simple and fun to sew they would make brilliant teachers gifts at the end of the school year. Here is how you make them:

You will need:

5 fabric flower shapes in lovely bright colours, (these were approx 8cmx8cm), 1 small fabric circle (3cm in Diameter), 1 button, 2 x felt leaves (approx 6cm in lenght), thread.
The fabric shapes were all cut with pinking shears to minimise fraying.

Step 1:

Take one of the flower shapes and fold in half.

Step 2

Fold again to make a quarter

Step 3

Pin the quarter flower on top of one of the other flower shapes positioning it so that it covers one quarter of the shape. 

Secure with a few stitches approx 1cm from the folded corner point along both the horizontal and vertical edges - make sure you sew through all of the layers of the folded fabric flower.

Step 4

Repeat step three a further three times until the base flower shape has been covered by 4 of the folded flowers, securing with stitches at the centre as you go.

Step 5

Sew the fabric circle in the centre to cover your stitches and secure it with a couple of stitches.

Step 6

Sew the button on top and your flower is complete.

Step 7 

The felt leaves are of course optional but do give a lovely finishing touch. These are simply sewn on to the back of the base flower shape with just a few stitches near the centre.

These easy to make flowers are fabulous as corsages (just sew a brroch pin on the back), or as hair decorations - sew on to a hairband. Here's what I did with mine:

I sewed it on to some green backing fabric and framed it in an old Ikea frame that has been sitting in a box of frames in my work room for ages. It now takes pride of place on my wall bringing a lovely splash of Summer colour indoors.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fabulous Fabric Pom Pom Tutorial

Patchwork Bags are the projects in our sewing clubs next half term. This has meant fabric and I mean plenty of fabric at Hope & Gloria HQ - we now have 350 children who come along to our sewing clubs each week which has meant preparing enough fabric squares for 350 patchwork bags. 

This has also meant lots of small offcuts of fabric which are now lying around waiting to be put to use and turned in to a lovely sewing project. I think that these cute fabric pom poms may be the answer.

Pom poms have had a resurgence in popularity of late. I have seen lots of magazine articles suggesting tissue pom poms as party decorations or even wedding decorations. We made some once in a craft club I ran. They were simple to make and looked brilliant. I am a huge fan. However, for some time I have been planning to make them using fabric and this morning I finally got around to it and was delighted with the result.

Now these lovely decorations would also be perfect for upcycling old clothes, curtains, or even bedlinen. They can be made with any fabric strips. So grab yourself some fabric and here's how to make them:

You will need:

Long strips of fabric approx 2cm in width, two cardboard hoops (mine were approx 8cm in width and the hole in the centre was approx 4cm in width)

Step one:

Place the two cardboard hoops together and wrap one of the fabric strips around both of them threading the fabric through the hole at the centre until the cardboard is completely covered.

Step two:

Repeat step two a number of times, building up the layers of fabric until you have a small hole at the centre.

Step three:

This step is tricky so care and patience is required. Children should get a grown up to complete this stage for them as sharp scissors are needed. Cut through the layers of fabric on the outside edge of the circle. You need to cut through all of the layers all the way round until you have reached the two cardboard circles.

Step five:

Now you will need some strong cotton thread or some wool approx 30cm in length. Open out the two cardboard hoops very slightly so that you have just enough room to place the strong cotton thread or wool in between the two pieces of cardboard. Wrap the thread through the middle of the cardboard and around all of the fabric at the centre. Tie a very secure and tight knot to hold the fabric in place. Once you are happy that the fabric pieces are secure remove the cardboard hoops either by sliding off or tearing off.

Tie a knot at the end of the two pieces of thread to make a hanging loop. Give the fabric a trim to make a ball shape if necessary - now your fabulous fabric pom pom is ready for hanging!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

An Apron For For A World Record Attempt

Friday was a very special day for my youngest son. All of the children in his year at school got a once in a lifetime chance to be part of a world record breaking team - Jamie Oliver's world record breaking team.

The school had chosen to join in with Jamie's attempt at the world's largest cookery lesson. "Rainbow Wraps" formed the recipe and at 14.00pm BST on Friday a live cookery lesson was beamed into schools across the globe. The children at my son's school were lucky enough to be a part of this brilliant lesson and they all had a fabulous time making their colourful culinary delights.

The school provided the ingredients, all we had to do was provide a box grater and an apron/old shirt for the day. With my children it's all about the equipment/outfit. Last week was ridiculously busy as we approach the end of half term with our sewing clubs and look ahead to the new ones and in my mind my little fella would have been fine to wear one of his Dad's old shirts.

I realised how wrong I was to make this assumption on Wednesday evening when he asked me "Have you made my apron yet?". "Er, no" came my reply "but you could just wear one of Dad's shirts couldn't you?" Apparently not and he was adamant that he wanted to look the part when he was receiving instructions from a world class chef like Jamie Oliver.

To be honest I gave it no more thought until Thursday afternoon when I had a major panic attack. Luckily I had some Cath Kidston deckchair stripe type fabric in the bottom of a box of fabric that had been lacking a purpose for at least a couple of years. Thanking my lucky stars that I had not thrown it out as the other flowery options wouldn't have been appreciated I set to work.

My eldest boy was at home on Thursday afternoon nursing a foot injury which was ideal as I needed a model to measure the fabric against and he came in very handy being only slightly taller than his brother.

Once the fabric was cut out, I edged it, sewed a pocket to the front and added some curtain tape around the neck and for the ties at the side. This is how it turned out....

It was surprisingly easy to make and I was delighted with the results. It has a touch of the Italian Flag about it but this was quite unintentional as this happened to be the only suitable fabric I could lay my hands on at short notice. The main thing is that my little man loved it and really felt the part when joining in with Jamie.