Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Let's Get Making!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Threading Your Needle....A Few Handy Hints!

At Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs we are often asked by parents who are keen to support their children in their new hobby, how they can help them to learn to sew at home.

By far and away, one of the best ways to get ahead with sewing at a young age is to learn to thread a needle independently. Sewing Club Leaders are, of course, always on hand to help club members who are struggling, but the best way to get the most from a sewing club session is for children to be able to thread their needles quickly and get on with the fun part - the sewing!

Threading a needle can be frustrating when you are first learning to sew. It's an old adage but practice really does make perfect and if parents can spend some time helping children to perfect their needle threading at home, this will really give them a head start when it comes to getting on with sewing at home or when making our lovely projects at their sewing club.

I thought I'd put together a list of tips and hints on how to thread a needle....

1. Always sit down to thread your needle - when you are starting out with your sewing adventures, sitting down will stop any wobbles making it easier to concentrate.

2. Make sure the eye of your needle is large enough for the thread you are using!

3. Cut your thread on an angle - 45 degrees is good. In this way you are making the end of the thread slanted and easier to get through the eye of the needle.

4. Rest your hands on a table while you are threading it - again, less wobbles so easier to get the thread through the eye of the needle.

5. The eye of the needle will be different on each side. If it's not working for you from one side, give your needle and turn and try from the other.

6. If your thread is fraying try one of the following:
  • Cut the thread again a bit further along so that you have a straight edge to work with
  • Lick the end of your thumb and forefinger and press the end of the thread flat.
  • Moisten the very end of the thread (just a little),  by placing it between your lips. (This technique is very popular in our sewing clubs but don't make the thread too soggy, or it will become tricky to thread!)
7. If it just isn't working for you using one end of the thread, turn the thread upside down and try from the other. All thread is twisted, so it will be at a different stage in the twist at the opposite end of the thread and may make it easier to push through the eye of the needle.

I hope these tips help and good luck with your practising!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Marvellous Mini Project Sewing Club Gallery

The first half term of 2017 came to an end for Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs on Friday.

It was the shortest half term of the school year made up of just five weeks. However, that didn't mean that the amazing Hope & Gloria club members had to compromise when it came to making their projects - the opposite in fact, they were able to make and take home a whole range of fun, fabric mini-projects which they should all be very proud of.

In each school year there is always one half term that is shorter than the rest and my design challenge is to come up with an idea for projects that is achievable, lovely to look at but above all fun to make during this short space of time. Mini-projects are always a delight to design - they must be fun but simple, as well as being easy to make in our clubs. We find children love to have the opportunity to work on a range of quick and easy projects from time to time.

This year, I am pleased to report, proved to be no exception. Hope & Gloria sewing enthusiasts were able to choose from Woodland Wildlife Wallets (see pic above), Felt Friendship Bracelets,

or cute and quirky keyrings...

As always at Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs our club members were total stars making the most adorable projects and I'd like to say a huge "Well done" to all of them. I am delighted to share some of the projects with you below - aren't they brilliant?!

Wishing all of our club members a brilliant half term!

See you after the break for our "Spring Has Sprung Wall Art" projects!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Wonderful Wool!

We are right in the middle of another cold snap at the moment. It snowed for pretty much all of the afternoon here in Ascot much to the fascination of my pet cat Bear, who sat and watched the snowflakes fall for ages.

To me Winter and Wool go hand in hand. I always get my knitting needles out at the end of September and when I am at home in the evenings, I'll knit in front of the television most nights until the Summer arrives. Up until now I have been busy making hats. Woolly hats with oversized pompoms are v. fashionable right now and I have made a few of my own which I have been happy to wear on dog walks.

My latest knitting adventure involves fishermans's rib. I first encountered this lovely knitting stitch when I was a teenager. I knitted a fisherman's rib jumper for a boyfriend. It was bright blue and he only ever wore it once under cover of darkness!

When my friend Peter came to stay a few weeks ago he was sporting a gorgeous jumper that had been hand knitted by his Mum. Theo, my youngest son, was hugely impressed by this and asked if I could make him one. The only thing that holds me back is remembering the amount of time you need to dedicate to making a jumper. At twelve, Theo is no longer in child sized clothes and as many people will be only too aware, the tastes of a pre-teen can change with the wind.

Before deciding to commit to the sweater I thought I'd re-acquaint myself with fisherman's rib and I've been knitting this in the evenings....

I love the uniform neatness of the stitch. It was originally going to be a cowl scarf but now I am thinking it would look great as a simple cushion. I am still undecided, so will wait until it grow further to make a decision!

There are many reasons to knit. I wrote about them in a past blog post - 10 Great Reasons to Knit, that you can read by clicking here For me all ten reasons remain relevant and I look forward to further adventures in knitting over the coming months. Next week I'll be attending the Woolly Wormhead Workshop at the Unravel Festival at Farnham Maltings where I'll be adding to my knitting skills and I look forward to sharing details of the day with you soon.

Wishing everyone a happy and creative weekend!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Twas The Night Before Christmas....

.....when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

in the hope that St Nicolas soon would be there...

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Festive Makes From Hope & Gloria Sewing Enthusiasts!

Well done to all of the lovely, talented and creative children who came along to Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs half term.

As always, you were full of enthusiasm and should be very proud of the wonderful Christmas Stockings you created.

Looking forward to seeing you all again after Christmas but in the meantime here's a gallery of some of your festive makes.

Merry Christmas!

Super Stockings!

There's nothing like a last minute panic....

Just a couple of days ago whilst sorting through the gifts I'd bought for the boys' Christmas stockings I discovered that something essential was missing - the stockings!

Five years ago one of my major pre-Christmas craft projects was to make the boys their own personalised applique and embroidery felt stockings. They were made with lots of love over the course of December and since then they have made a star appearance each Christmas Eve to be filled with fun presents by Santa.

Not this year. Although I remember putting them away in a safe place when I was packing up to move, unfortunately I have no idea what or where that safe place was. They will turn up that is for sure, but just no this side of Christmas. A wise friend told me to give the boys pillow cases to use this year instead of stockings, but I couldn't quite bring myself to do so and two nights ago I cut out three stocking shapes from my felt supply and this is what happened....

There was no time to embellish or personalise this year, but I think the "Elf" style is cute, simple and effective. Whether my teenage boys appreciate my endeavours is another matter, but it makes me happy!

I also finished off another stocking which used the same motif as the Robin Heart that I made earlier in the month. I love the retro look of it - maybe I'll place it by the fireside next to the boys' just to see what happens.

Christmas stockings have been a major feature of the last few weeks for the Hope & Gloria Team and me - we have been making tonnes of adorable festive stockings in our sewing clubs and my next post will be a gallery of the wonderful creations made by our talented sewing club members.

Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Countdown!

I was really quite shocked to find that the last time I posted on here was back at Halloween! It has been a very eventful few weeks - a house move and the busiest half term ever at Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs have meant that the blog has been on the backburner.

This is not to say that the crafting hasn't continued (although at a much slower pace than usual), and now that the boys have finished school and our school clubs are taking a break until the new year/term, I can finally attempt to finish off a few of those sewing and knitting projects that have been on my to do list for many months. Hopefully, they will be finished in time for the big day - but watch this space....

I am really happy to have finished my vintage inspired robin heart decoration. I keep a special notebook full of sewing project ideas and whenever a new idea springs to mind I add it to the growing list.

This hanging heart decoration has been on my stitching to do list since November 2015 - I began making him in November 2016 and yesterday I completed it when I stitched on the ribbon and button.

If you have read my blog before, you will know that I am a huge fan of robins and I am happy to report that we have a couple of them in the garden in our new home - the perfect inspiration to prompt me to get around to making this decoration. I hope it evokes vintage Christmas Cards of days gone by featuring a fat cheerful robin. It is now hanging on a door handle adding festive cheer to our family room.

Christmas festivities have already begun with the Richardsons' - we had my family visiting for lunch last weekend and after watching Kirsty Allsop's Handmade Christmas programme I decided it would be fun to have a go at making our own crackers. As we were pushed for time I invested in cracker-making kits from Hobbycraft - I have to say they were a great introduction to making your own, and Theo and I had a lot of fun assembling them.

We used raffia instead of the silver ties supplied with the kit and we added name tags so that the crackers handily doubled up as place cards. There's no reason why this idea could not be put to use with shop bought crackers if you don't have time to make them.

Here they are in situ on our festive table on Saturday......

It really is lovely to add handmade touches to family gatherings - they are always appreciated and everyone seems to love a personal touch. Next year I'll try to begin sourcing materials for crackers a bit earlier so that they can be truly unique. Let's see if I manage it...!

Looking forward to sharing further Christmassy crafts with you over the next few days.