Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Learn to Sew, Love to Sew!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

All You Need Is....

It's that time of year when our thoughts turn to romance. Yes, Valentine's Day is just one week away.

Padded heart decorations are just one of the projects that we have been making in our sewing club this half term and they have been very popular. My heart has been particularly warmed by two boys in one of our clubs who decided to make heart decorations for their Mums' for Mother's Day - how sweet is that?

This weekend I have been playing around with ideas for heart decorations to have at home and to give as gifts. Here's a tutorial for one of them - a cute, quick to make, lovely gift; perfect to show that you care this Valentine's Day or Mother's day.

You will need:

  • 2 x felt heart shapes approx 15cm x15cm
  • 3 small flower shapes
  • 2 felt leaves
  • 15cm ribbon
  • 3 buttons
  • cotton thread
  • toy filling

Step one:

Decorate the front of one of the felt hearts.

For my heart I chose to place the three flowers on one side and use cotton thread to embroider the word "love" using backstitch (If you are unsure of how to sew using backstitch click here to see my stitch guide).

Step two:

Pin the two felt heart shapes together and sew around the edges using running stitch. Fold the ribbon in half and pin place at the top. Sew through all layers of felt and the ribbon to sew it in to place.

Leave a gap approx 5cm along one edge and add the toy filling until your heart decoration is nice and plump but not overfilled. Sew up the gap.

Your fabulous padded heart is now ready to hang - Happy Sewing!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Adventures in Scented Candles and Other Weekend Makes

Yesterday was one of those days when you really didn't want to be out of doors - a grey, drizzly one giving me the perfect excuse not to leave the house but stay indoors and begin/finish a number of projects that have been on the back burner since Christmas.

I am going through a scented candle phase - their lovely warm glow and soothing scents can be found all around our house at the moment. Candle-making is not a craft I have ever indulged in until this weekend but I have had an idea for scented candles which I shall share at a later date. This weekend was all about practising.

So having bought my supplies online last week, yesterday I had a go at making my first ever container candles.

They were so easy to make. I went for a traditional "English Rose" fragrance and I still have lots to learn in terms of getting the fragrance right - mine turned out to have more of a subtle scent than I'd have liked, but I loved finishing them off with burlap and vintage ribbon - perfect as small gifts for loved ones.

I shall definitely be re-visiting candle making in the next few weeks and look forward to sharing the results.

My second completed project was this handsome fellow.

I started making this fox after Christmas - he has been lying around in pieces for a couple of weeks now so I was really pleased to see him finally take shape yesterday. He is made from a "Fluff and Fuzz" Pattern. I love these quirky designs from Amanda Berry and they are so easy to follow. I would highly recommend them.

Over the past year I have completely fallen in love with knitting all over again. Sewing will always be my first love but knitting is a fantastic evening activity especially during the Winter whilst watching TV. It's in my blood. My Mum is an amazing knitter. Here's a bed-runner that she has recently made using samplers of different knitting stitches and techniques. I adore it and think I may have to have a go at making one myself with a little help from Mum!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Designing For A Dachshund!

Our family dog Elsie is an odd shape. I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked what type of dog she is. She is a Standard Wire Haired Dachshund. Smooth haired miniature dachshunds have become very popular of late but there are considerably fewer Standard Wire Haireds to be found and thus the quizzical looks whenever I tell people that she is a Dachshund.

She is getting on a bit now and will turn nine at the end of the month. She's a little bit arthritic and is slowing down so with the recent cold snap I decided it was time to invest in a warm dog coat. We visited various pet shops and even a fabulous designer dog shop in Eton but could not find anything to fit. It's problematic when your body is the same size as a medium dog but you have six inch legs (poor Elsie!)

I decided it was time to take action so last weekend I bought a metre of red fleece fabric and set to work with my sewing machine. Here is the result:

A made to measure quilted fleece dog coat. I am not sure how fond she is of wearing it but I think she looks beautiful. She had her fur trimmed by the dog groomer this morning so hopefully she'll begin to appreciate it's toasty warmth at least until temperatures begin to rise again!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Minute Christmas Makes

We had a lovely Christmas full of family visits, food  and fun. I hope yours' was too.

In the hectic run up to Christmas I didn't have time to share my final last minute makes which formed part of our Christmas celebrations, so I thought I'd post about them now rather than leave them to the run up to Christmas 2016!

Christmas jumpers were massive this year. There were loads to choose from in the shops. We had a pre-Christmas family get-together at our house with my Mum, sisters and their families and the dress code was Christmas Jumpers and everyone looked fabulously festive. In the UK this year 18th December was official Christmas Jumper day to tie-in with the Text Santa TV charity fundraiser. So inspired by all of the above I made a set of three embroidery hoops featuring my own designs for Christmas jumpers.

A Cute Snowman

A Delicious Christmas Pud

A Nordic Inspired Stocking

Each of the hoops were embroidered with the lyrics to that old favourite festive song "Let It Snow!" - if only it had this Christmas... 

They are currently hanging on the walls of the hallway by the boys rooms and add a lovely splash of festive cheer. Embroidered hoops are definitely on my list of favourite sewing projects and are top of my list for next year's handmade Christmas decorations.

Taking a momentary departure from sewing and knitting I found myself in a pottery painting studio in the week before Christmas. This year I took the Hope & Gloria Team to Genevieve's Gallery in Englefield Green for our Christmas get-together. I have to admit to feeling slightly nervous about creating with paint and brushes instead of a needle and thread, but we had the loveliest morning and it was brilliant to try a new creative craft.

The staff at Genevieve's were brilliant and gave much appreciated helpful guidance, tips and hints. Lots of lovely creations were made whilst having a good old natter with a coffee and mince pie. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking to take a break from the chaos that is the run up to Christmas.

My Happy Holly Plate!

I chose to make a serving plate and added a holly design. It is amazing how quickly a two hour workshop can fly by and I was relieved to get it finished in this time ready to be fired.

When I collected the plate a few days later I was delighted with the results. Here it is along with the Christmas cake we made as a family. There's still plenty of cake left and I am looking forward to polishing it off with friends at our New Year's Eve party tonight!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wonderful Woolly Christmas

 This year I have seriously re-ignited my passion for knitting. I first picked up my knitting needles in February following a long long break. We launched our first knitting club after Easter, so I began working on simple projects for this.

It really didn't take very long for the knitting bug to take over and I have been knitting ever since amongst the many sewing projects I have worked on this year.

Knitting is great because it is so portable. It's really easy to sit and knit whilst watching television of an evening and this is when most of my knitted projects take shape as most of my daytime is spent designing sewing projects or running the business/family.

I have had tonnes of fun in the run up to Christmas making decorations to sell at our charity knit and natter event. Our whole family fell in love with the knitted decorations and couldn't help feeling slightly sad as they were sold to make money for The Big Issue Foundation, so since the end of November I have been in a knitting frenzy to make more knitted creations for our home.

Here are some of the decorations that I have made over the past month. If you fancy making some, I'd recommend an online search as there are plenty of free Christmas patterns to be found. My decorations are now hanging on a white twig tree in my workroom. They look super-cute and I can't wait to make more of them next year!

A cute little tree!


Boots For An Elf

Christmas Pud

Mittens For Santa - He'll need them tonight!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Super Santas! - Sewing Club Festive Makes Christmas 2016

The Christmas Half Term is always one of my favourite's at Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs. You can feel the excitement grow as we reach the end of term and everyone - sewing club leaders and club members alike look forward to the big day.

This half term has been a fabulous one. With my Santa designs the challenge set for our lovely club members was to sew decorative and small, neat stitches in order to successfully complete their projects. As always our amazing club members rose to the challenge brilliantly working hard to make their stitches as neat as possible and to bravely learn new sewing techniques to give a decorative feel to their Santas.

The results were brilliant across all of the clubs - it's worth mentioning that many of our club members are in year 3 and are therefore new to sewing. So their first Christmas projects are very special indeed.

It's time to wish all of our club members the Very Merriest Christmas and say a huge "Well Done" for all of their brilliant work this half term.

Here are some of the fabulous Super-Santas in the Ho! Ho! Hope & Gloria Festive Gallery....

Crowthorne Primary

Holy Trinity, West End

Oaklands Junior School

St Ann's Heath

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Decking The Walls....

Wow! What a busy few weeks it's been.

I can't believe it's only ten days until Christmas and I am in a major panic about last minute present shopping as well as food shopping, wrapping presents and so on and so forth like everyone at this time of the year.

As usual in November/December I have had to severely curtail my plans for Christmas makes, both in terms of making gifts and also decorations for our home. This year my note to self is to begin making for Christmas in September (at least),  if I want everything to come together as planned and for now many if my Christmas project ideas will remain as ideas for the foreseeable future. 

However, this fabric wall hanging is one project that I can proudly tick of my list and is now adorning the wall in our hallway.

Back in the Summer I made this quilted cushion to exhibit at the Egham and Chertsey Shows.

I loved the fabric and held on to the few leftover pieces in case they came in handy for future projects. My Christmas Tree wall-hanging was inspired by one that I saw on the front cover of issue 37 of Homemaker Magazine and as soon as I saw it I knew that this was the perfect project to put my cushion leftovers to use. 

There was just enough fabric left to make the required twenty eight padded triangles and I was relieved to find just enough red buttons in my mix and match button box to sew them all together. 

The star on the top was from a set of Nordic wooden buttons that I bought last year that I was delighted to find in the bottom of a drawer - I knew they would come in handy one day!