Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Happy Easter!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Our Celebration of Sewing

This weekend we had our annual celebration of sewing which takes the form of The Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee Grand Final.

In my last post I explained how we reached this point through round one of the competition and yesterday afternoon Allison, Debbie, Sarah, and Sophie from the Hope & Gloria Team and I guided our amazing finalists through the last stage of the annual competition.

One of my absolute favourite aspects of my role at Hope & Gloria is designing all of the projects that we make in our clubs. Yesterday afternoon I was delighted to hand the designing reins over to thirty of our sewing club members so that they designed and made their own cushions and bags in a bid to win first prize in 2016.

This year we had two overall winning categories - one for school years 3& 4 and one for school years 5 & 6. After seeing the brilliant creations from round one, it was no surprise that this year's standard was incredibly high and choosing just one cushion from each category was very difficult.

Follow the yellow arrows below to see the winning entries....

Our winner in the younger age category was Amber Moores from Warfield Primary School who gave us a well thought out design that showed a brilliant understanding of the use of colour and space as well as beautiful stitching for her age.

Hannah Mackie was our first prize winner in the older age group. Hannah managed to sew designs on to the front and back of her cushion in the allocated time of 75 minutes - a daytime scene on the front and night time one on the back featuring the moon and a bat. The back of the cushion also featured a pocket for a tooth for the tooth fairy to collect. Hannah's inventiveness of design, function and beautiful stitching meant that this was a truly well deserved first place.

Well done to Amber and Hannah! Also, I must also say a huge well done to all of our contestants that joined us yesterday - you were all amazing and I don't think I have ever found it so hard to judge a competition.

I am happy to report that no-one left empty-handed. As well as taking home their beautiful creations, all of the girls were given a goody bag containing Hope & Gloria sewing supplies and some sweet treats.

Well done once again to everyone - we hope to see you all again at next years Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Bee-ing Creative - Round One of The Hope & Gloria Sewing Bee 2016

I have been dying to share these fantastic pictures with you. They are the round one winners projects from our annual inter-school sewing competition. I think they are pretty fantastic.

Now in it's second year, the 2016 competition looks set to be as successful as when we launched it last summer. Once again we were overwhelmed with round one entries and it was incredibly difficult for the Hope & Gloria Team and I to pick out just 30 children to take through to our grand final which takes place next year.

The aim of the Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee is to give young sewing enthusiasts a platform to showcase their talents and skills in the same spirit as sports tournaments, dance shows or other children's competitions. It is a celebration of the amazing results that can be achieved with a needle, thread, fabric and a large sprinkling of creativity.

In this year's final we'll be asking our finalists to add their own designs to either a bag or cushion measuring 15cm x 15cm. They will be working on their designs at home over the next few days and some of the lovely ladies from Team H&G will be on hand next weekend to help them realise their designs.

Everyone from Hope & Gloria is very excited about next week's final and we can't wait to see the lovely creations that will take shape. I have a feeling that it is going to be very hard for me to judge a winner but I look forward to sharing all the news and results from The Hope & Gloria Junior Sewing Bee 2016 with you next week.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Gallery of Gorgeous Bags!

Every year Hope & Gloria bag projects are incredibly popular. They are always lots of fun to design. For this year's bags I came up with a satchel design using lots of lovely bright and bold coloured felt. In order for our sewing club members to add their own individual touches to the bags I also added a simple badge project which turned out to be lots of fun with many amazing creations being made across all of the 32 Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs.

As always our sewing enthusiasts excelled themselves and the finished project were quite simply beautiful. A HUGE "Well done!" and a big round of applause to all of the Hope & Gloria club members for all of the brilliant work last half term.

Here are some of the completed bags...

Crowthorne CE Primary School

Dorney Primary School

Oaklands Junior School

Also, last half term I was lucky to spend some time with an amazing group of young carers teaching them to sew at what is to become a monthly workshop that I have organised in conjunction with The Windsor and Maidenhead Young Carers Service. I was joined by Tanya - one of my team of lovely Hope & Gloria Sewing Club Leaders and together we are volunteering our time to give this group of inspiring young people some time out to be creative.

We were amazed by their positive outlook and also be their creative skills and can't wait to see them again next week when we'll be making pencil cases.

I look forward to sharing the results of our next workshop with you. In the meantime here are a few of the beautiful cushions that were made. Just Fabulous!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fun Father's Day Makes

It's fair to say that we've not had the best weather in the UK this half term but it is great weather for sewing and being creative indoors.

The young sewing enthusiasts that come to my clubs will have heard me talk on numerous occasions about how lovely it is to give gifts that are handmade and we have the perfect occasion for this in just over two weeks time on Sunday 19th June - Father's Day.

I thought I'd share some quick and fun sewing ideas to make Dad smile and keep young ones occupied whilst waiting for Summer to arrive.

 Why not show Dad that he's number one with this fun and colourful rosette. It's easy to make using scraps of bright felt, here's how...

Step one: Cut two medium sized circles (approx. 5cm in diameter),  from one colour of felt and another that is slightly larger (Approx 8cm in diameter), from a contrasting colour.

Step two: place one of the medium felt circles on top of the larger one and draw around it. Cut a fringe all the way around from the outside edge to the edge of the circle that you have drawn.

Step three: I cut a number one from some scraps of felt and stitched it to the front of one of my medium circles but you could also embroider number one or a personal message. Sew a safety pins securely to the centre of the other felt circle.

Step four: Cut two strips of felt approx' 2cm x 15cm and cut a "V" shape in to the bottom. I stitched some patterned ribbon along the centre of mine as I like to add pattern but they can also be left plain.

Step five: Now it's time to pin all of the pieces together. The blue circle should be placed on top of the larger fringed circle in the centre. The two ribbon pieces should be placed behind and pinned like this:

Then place the circle with the safety pin on top of this with the safety pin facing outwards.

Make sure you pin all of the layers securely in place.

Step six: Sew all of the layers together with small neat running stitch around the outside of the blue circle making sure you go through all of the layers.

Now your rosette is complete and can be worn proudly by Dad on Father's Day!

Or how about making a keyring so that Dad's keys are always easy to find? I have used a star shape and also a smiley face in my designs but you could use any shape, colour or design of your own as the keyrings are all made using the same simple technique:

Cut two shapes from felt and add a design to the front of one of them. Cut a 10cm length of ribbon and fold it in half threading on a split metal ring.

Pin the two felt shapes together with the folded ribbon pinned in place inbetween the two shapes. Stitch around the outside making sure you sew through all of the layers when you get to the ribbon (it's also a good idea to go over your stitches a couple of times at this point to make sure the ribbon is held firmly in place).

Happy Father's Day Making!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Adventures in Crochet!

As everyone does each January, I made New Year's Resolutions. Not too many, but one of them was to improve my crochet skills.

I have dabbled in crochet a little over the past few years but never really felt fully committed. Stitching and knitting have always taken up my precious spare time - both of which I feel pretty confident about. I have mentioned before that I was taught to knit and sew by the women in my family when I was a child but crochet lessons have come in the form of a book and I can safely say that I am self taught.

A few weeks ago I became frustrated with a knitting pattern for a lacy scarf which I just couldn't seem to get right so I decided to swap my knitting needles for a crochet hook for a while and I thought I'd share the results so far.

To me it seems that the secret to crochet success can be found by holding the yarn in a way that is most comfortable for you and also getting the tension right - the two seem to be linked. In order to get these things right I began my new crochet adventures with a simple project - A Colourful Cafetiere Cosy....

The cosy was made using a simple double crochet stitch and scraps of wool. I love the bright colours mixed in with the neutral cream and this project also provided a great way to get back in to the swing of crochet.

Setting my sights a little higher I embarked on a crocheted cushion. This project is made using half treble stitches and again is a great practice project. I made this one up as I went along and the colours were chosen because they happened to be in my knitting box next to my arm chair. I hadn't intended to use these colours but they were close to hand and the cushion has turned out to be in a funky retro style which I love.

I even managed to crochet some button holes so that I could use these gorgeous, bright orange buttons on the back.

The front of the cushion is finished off with three cute flowers - these were from a lovely Nicky Trench pattern that I found online and they took just minutes to make - another great beginners project.

I am delighted with the results and the cushion brings a lovely splash of summer sunshine to my workroom.

I'll be sharing how to make this simple but effective project in my next blog post. In the meantime I'll be starting a Granny Square Blanket - this crochet business is addictive!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beware of Dragons!

My plan had been to write this blog post yesterday to tie in with St George's Day (dragons and all that),  but the day was taken over by Birthday celebrations for my youngest son Theo. However, it still seems appropriate to share one of my latest designs the day after St George's Day as it's one of our school sewing projects  projects for next half term - a cute little dragon.

I have always been fond of dragons ever since I read a wonderful book called Green Smoke by Rosemary Manning when I was about 7. It's the story of a girl called Susan who meets a friendly dragon that lives in a cave in Cornwall. He tells her wonderful stories of King Arthur and takes her on fantastic adventures. Cornwall is one of my favourite places in the world and I've visited many times but never been lucky enough to find a friendly dragon.

Dragons have also formed part of my children's childhood. The "How to Train Your Dragon" series of books have been firm favourites in our home and I've had lots of fun reading them with the boys over the past few years.

I am always fascinated by the fact that so many different cultures around the world feature dragons in their folklore - I wonder why that is....?

Anyway, this little dragon that I've designed as part of our "Make It Magical" theme for next half term is pretty much how I imagine the dragon from "Green Smoke" would look. As always, the design is kept simple enough for beginners to find it easy to make but I am looking forward to seeing how some of our more experienced stitchers personalise and embellish him to add their own unique touches. Looking forward to sharing the results with you at the end of the school year.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sewing Club Easter Bunting Gallery

In my previous post I featured bunting that I had made and now I am happy to share the truly brilliant results from some of sewing club members this half term. I hope they are all hanging in pride of place and everyone who came to our clubs should be very proud of their amazing work - Well done everyone and Happy Easter!

Oaklands Junior School

St Jude's Junior School
 Dorney Junior School