Thursday, 26 March 2020

Felt Flower Garden Workshops

Before the world was plunged into a virus tinted lockdown, I was out and about at a couple of Brownie meetings running a Mother's Day themed sewing workshop. These easy little hoops aren't Stitchscapes as such - I've been referring to them more as 'Flowerscapes' - but the Brownies wanted something that they could finish in an hour and a half to be able to give to their Mums.
I have previously done landscape themed Stitchscape workshops with Brownies (who are ages 7 -10) but we didn't ever finish their hoops in one meeting, they always had to take them home to complete so this time I needed something really pared back, cheerful and pretty.

My solution was this flower garden! (And please excuse the random text on some of these photos - I'll explain why that is later on in the post.) It comes together really quickly as the flowers only need stitching up the stems, the button and layers of felt circles for the flower heads are stitched on together and the leaves need only three stitches at the bottom to hold them on.
The design itself is also really easy to customise and the Brownies had great fun choosing their colours - each one ended up looking different and none of them were the same as my example piece.

This only uses up little scraps of felt so chances are everyone has oddments floating around at the back of their cupboards and can have a go. I've used calico fabric for the backing because that's what I have lots of but any stable backing fabric will do, similarly, with the trimming at the top of the grass felt piece, you could change yours to suit what you have at home. I've used a length of Ric-Rac but you could use string, ribbon, twists of multicoloured embroidery thread...whatever you have to hand really.

For the workshops these pieces were kept framed within their hoops so that they could be easily propped up on the mantle or hung with ribbon on the wall. I really must get round to writing a tutorial on how to properly frame within a hoop as it's so easy but neat and effective. All you have to do is make sure all of your fabrics are tucked and pulled through both of the embroidery hoops and made tight (with no bubbles on the fabric at the front), trim your backing fabric all of the way around about 5cm from the outer hoop and then secure a long length of strong sewing cotton (or doubled up sewing cotton to be safe) to the fabric about 1cm from the raw edge. Work even running stitch all of the way around the circle and once you are back at the initial knot, carefully pull the thread so that the fabric bunches up and pulls inwards. Tighten this as much as you can and tie off securely. I usually go around again, nearer to the hoop, to catch any fabrics I missed the first time around and add extra security.

I can't seem to find the photos I took of the Hailsham Brownies' hoops. They had the lovely idea of asking all of the Mums in to sew their hoops with the Brownies as a joint project which worked beautifully well. The Mums were just as pleased with the finished hoops as the girls were!!

These montage photos were from the Uckfield Brownie workshop where they approached things slightly differently, asking Grandmas or other relatives and helpers to come in to help the Brownies sew so that the final products would be a surprise gift for the Mums. We didn't have quite the same ratio of adults to Brownies as the Hailsham group so the girls didn't all finish (there's a lot of time spent threading needles and knotting or un-knotting that requires adult supervision!) and I ended up taking them home to tidy the backs for them - which worked out nicely because I had the opportunity to really look at everyone's and take photos. Aren't they great? I love the individuality of them all.

Overall this pattern received a lot of loving online in various places and I had several people asking for the pattern. It isn't worth my creating a physical kit for this but I have put together a 5 page PDF digital download which includes a printable template, stitch how-tos, instructions and inspirational images which can be purchased from my Etsy shop (or click here).
The Etsy listing shows several of the photos I have used in this blog post (which is why there is writing on them) and the download, once you have completed your transaction, will be sent to your inbox straight away by Etsy for you to print and use.
This is a perfect little project to teach young stitchers how to sew and start them off on a creative journey but older, more established stitchers will also enjoy this stress free project.

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