Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Time for some Spring Sunshine Inspired Sewing!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Doodling With Thread - Embroidered Easter Eggs

This half term has been all about using thread to make designs at our sewing clubs.

Our sewing club members have been using stitches to create adorable faces on their bunnies and chicks and we have also been using decorative stitches to add a design to the egg "sleeping bags" that were made for the chicks.

Using thread to embroider a design can be very therapeutic. Today I got carried away with a box of brightly coloured thread and some felt Easter Egg shapes. You can see the result in the picture above. It's also an inexpensive was to add an individual touch to handmade decorations. These are going to have a loop threaded through the top to hang over door handles as decorations this Easter.

Once I got going the designs just grew by themselves and I would highly recommend just sitting down and "doodling" with thread. I was really pleased with the results particularly as I only used very straightforward stitches to get the effects I was looking for. With this in mind I have added a new page to the blog "Super Simple Decorative Stitches" and you can find it in the menu on the right hand side of the home page or by clicking here .

The paisley design is something that I have been meaning to use as a motif on something for ages - so why not an Easter decoration? Paisley doesn't have to be confined to the late 80s as a pattern and I read recently that it's due to make a fashion comeback.

It's a pattern that's been used in art and design since 200AD and originates in Persia where it was known as Boteh Jejheh. It was brought to Europe by the East India company in the 1700s and became know as "Paisley" as the design was used in cloth manufacture in this Scottish town.

Examples of Paisley Pattern

Here's another one I've started. Why not give doodling with thread a go - you never know where it will take you.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

One of the loveliest dates on the crafting calendar is Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day as it has become more commonly known here in the UK. I am always telling the children at our sewing clubs that our fabulously and lovingly sewn projects make fantastic gifts. As a Mum I adore receiving gifts that my children have made (although now they are getting older these are few and far between!). It has been lovely this week to hear that many of our sewing club enthusiasts were keen to complete their first Easter project to give as a Mother's Day gift.

Today is the chance to say a heartfelt thank you to the special lady in your life and this year I have thinking about the origins of this day and why it has become such an important day in many families' calendars. Here is what I have discovered......

It seems that as with many celebrations Mother's Day in the UK has it's roots in religion. Back in the day when many people were employed as servants they would usually visit the church of their employers which would have been located in the local parish. This was known as the "daughter church". Once a year on the fourth Sunday of Lent, servants were allowed to travel to their "mother church" and this was in the parish where they were born.

On this day they got to see their family again and therefore the date gradually became associated with families, in particular Mothers rather than the location of a church.

Today we give gifts, flowers and cards to say "Thank You" and show appreciation for the special ladies who play a huge part in our lives.

So on this lovely day I wish you all a relaxing and happy day that is full of love and here are some flowers from me just to say "Happy Mother's Day!".

Hope you like them.xx

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Woodland Wildlife Wall Art Gallery!

A huge well done to all of the brilliant sewing enthusiasts who attended our sewing clubs last half term. Each one of you put an individual spin on the the projects we offered and you should all be very proud of your work.

Here is a selection of what was made in some of our lunchtime and after school clubs - can you spot yours'?

Ascot Heath Junior School

Gorse Ride Junior School (Friday)

Oaklands Primary School (Tuesday)

Harmans Water Primary School

Nine Mile Ride (Thursday)

St Jude's (Monday)

Oaklands (Monday)

St Jude's (Thursday)

St Cuthberts

Winkfield St Mary's

St Ann's Heath (Thursday)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hope & Gloria Valentine's Gallery

Happy Valentine's Day to one and all. Here's a little gallery of sewing projects from Hope & Gloria that are handmade with love.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Love Bug Pin Cushion - A Valentine's Day Make

Here's a quick and cute little make - just in time for Valentine's Day. Make them from scraps of fabric and use them as decorations, pin cushions or as a gift to show you care!

Here's how:

Step One

Make a heart shaped template from paper and round off the point at the bottom. Pin it to two layers of dark felt and one of brightly coloured felt, then cut out through all three layers so that all of the hearts are exactly the same size. I have used a dark blue and cerise pink for mine.

Cut a straight line across the bottom of the pink heart approx 2cm from the bottom.

Step two:

Add some spots to your bug using black buttons and use a dark thread to sew on antennae.

Step three:

Place the pink heart on top of one of the blue hearts and secure with a few stitches just below the top middle.

Step four

Pin all three hearts together and sew around the outside using running stitch leaving a small gap on one side for stuffing.

Step five:

Now add soft toy filling. If you are going to use it as a pin cushion it needs to be quite full.

Step six:

Sew up the gap and your love bug is complete. Now all you need to do is decide who to give it to!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 30, 2015

From Start to Start - The Story of A Hope & Gloria Sewing Project

I love my job. I have mentioned this before on a number of occasions but I get to combine so many elements that I love - one of the main areas being design.

I am always surprised when talking to parents of children who attend our sewing clubs to hear that occasionally people assume that the projects we make are from bought in kits. This is in a way a compliment  and lovely to hear because it must mean that everything we do is of a truly professional standard. However, I am incredibly proud of the fact that all Hope & Gloria projects are designed by me and that I get to see them through from the glimmer of an idea to arriving at our sewing clubs to being taken home by our fabulous sewing club members.

A question that comes up frequently is "Where do you get your ideas from?" So with all of this in mind I thought it would be fun to share how things take shape at Hope & Gloria from the first idea through to arrival at our sewing clubs.

For me ideas come from literally anywhere. I may see a picture in a magazine (not necessarily craft related), or an image on greetings card that would work well as an appliqué or embroidery project. It's important to look at what's being sold in shops and online to spot current trends both in terms of the item itself but also the motif that is carries or the pattern on the fabric its made from. You can think about something that is practical and useful to have or something that would be great as a gift.

I was lucky enough to do a lot of sewing and crafting in my childhood and many of the things I made can be updated and children love to make them even now. Of course, the children in our clubs also inspire - they are always delighted to talk about things that they like and would like to make. There are very few designers who get to talk to their target market so frequently and openly so in this respect I count myself very lucky.

This half term our school sewing club projects are "Woodland Wildlife Wall Art". The idea for these cute wall-hangings was formed back in the Summer last year. Teaching over 550 schoolchildren to sew each week means that all of our projects must be planned well in advance and being organised is key. We often have some kind of aappliqué project throughout the course of the year - it's a skill the Hope & Gloria Team love to teach our sewing enthusiasts, so once Wall Art was included on our schedule it was just a matter of choosing a theme.

Woodland creatures have become hugely popular motifs in fashion and interiors. Furry creatures have been appearing on clothing and as home decoration for a while now and the trend still grows.

Sometimes all you have to do is look around you. I love wildlife and nature and the changing of the seasons and we are lucky enough to have some adorable wildlife visiting our garden from time to time such as foxes and squirrels. There's even an owl somewhere locally that I often hear calling at twilight and I still hold out hope of seeing a hedgehog. It was really very easy to choose the Woodland Wildlife theme for our wall art. Next it was a matter of design.

Drawings come first. I like to use graph paper so that I can make sure that the designs are the correct size for the background and where necessary symmetrical. I usually have an idea of what the design should be in my mind's eye. Most of the time they look similar to how I envisage them and sometimes they take a little longer to perfect(!) It's the same with any creative process.

The design challenge that our sewing clubs present is something I love. Encouraging children's creativity is key in Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs. All of our projects must be designed to suit beginners and experienced club members. The projects needs to be simple enough for a beginner to complete and look great but also there has to be scope for more experienced sewing enthusiasts to add their own touches and develop their skills. So not always a straightforward design but a challenge that I enjoy.

Templates then follow on from the drawings. All of the kits that our sewing club leaders deliver to school clubs is also cut out and prepared in house by the Hope & Gloria Production Controller, Sarah.

Each section or tiny feature of one of our projects needs to be accurately cut out and therefore good quality templates to draw around are essential. These are made from good old fashioned card and then kept on file for future use.

Because 550 children a week attend a Hope & Gloria Sewing Club that's at least 550 kits that need to be cut and prepared.  We like to avoid sad faces at our clubs so we also add on an extra 20 - 25% to that number to make sure that everyone gets their first or second choice of project.

I also make up samples of the projects - it's great for children to see what they are heading towards with their projects. That's one for each of our eight sewing club leaders to take in to their school clubs.

Next it's a matter of sorting the kits in to groups. Sarah has to make sure that our sewing club leaders have sufficient stock of everything they will need to make sure that their club members can complete one of the lovely projects in the course of the half term. These are then collected at one of our kit collection mornings which are held before the start of the half term, all looking lovely and ready to guarantee huge smiles from our club members.

The responsibility then passes to our brilliant and enthusiastic sewing clubs leaders who will guide the children through the creative process to the completion of the projects.

So we go from the start of an idea of a project to the start of projects being made. I look forward to sharing some pics of the completed Woodland Wildlife Wall Art with you at the end of this half term.

Time to begin again!


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!