19 March 2012

An Irish Road Trip {part 3}: Hooping it up in Cork!

Hello there!
Thanks so much to those of you who sent me such lovely get-well wishes... those wee comments were the perfect medicine! :)
I hope you all had a great weekend &, if you are a UK mummy, a wonderful day yesterday! I had a lovely day with the family & my mum & dad with yummy food & a great game of Monopoly - which I won (for the first time ever!!)... but back to our Irish Road Trip.... 
We're off on a long journey to-day, from the very North of Ireland to the very South, all the way down to Cork to meet up with the talented Sarah of Fairy Face Designs. Over to you Sarah....
I was thrilled to be asked by Karen to take part in her tour of Ireland! What a great idea and so much fun!

Living in Cork, I am the southern part of the tour - and even though I am not a Corkonian by birth, the 11 years I have spent living here have certainly seen the south of Ireland steal a little piece of my heart! If you've never visited the south - and west Cork in particular - you are certainly missing out, it is an amazing, wild, beautiful place and once you've been there you'll want to come back again and again.
But - on to more sewing related themes! Today I have a quick and easy tute for you to help you bring a little handmade touch your interior decor. Have you ever made a hoop to hang on the wall? They are quick, easy and versatile - they can be as simple as stretching a favourite piece of fabric in the hoop or free embroidering a little picture or design. You can embellish them with buttons, beads, ric rac, ribbon etc - really, they are an endless source of entertainment!

Today, I wanted to replace a picture hanging in my little girl's bedroom. Since turning 4 last month, a few things need freshening up - as she tells us, she is no longer a baby! So I decided to do a little scene for her.

Here's what you need for something similar:
1 embroidery hoop - size up to you!
Piece of solid fabric for background
Fabric scraps
Fabric glue
Small piece of fusible web (I used the stuff for repairing hems, it was perfect) and a piece of tear-away stabilizer (I used Vlieseline Stickvlies)


To Make:
1. Decide what picture you want to make and how you will compose it. My daughter loves balloons so I decided to do a little picture of her outside a house with lots of balloons in her hand. If it is a complicated one, you might want to draw a sketch first - for this I didn't need to.
2. Press your fabric, then press the stablizer to the back of it (it will "stick" to your fabric but is not permanent)
3. Take your interior hoop and lay it on the fabric and trace around the outside edge to give you a guide. I used a Hera marking tool, you could use the blunt edge of a scisssors, a water soluble pen or a light coloured pencil.
4. Now take your fabric and scraps over to your ironing board, lay your fabric flat and cut and arrange your scraps as you want them. Be sure to include any embellishments you are using.
5. Once you are happy, cut tiny bits of the fusible web and fix your scraps in place with it, I just put a dot in the centre of each piece, enough to stop it moving when I was sewing it.
6. Mark where any buttons/beads will go and then set them aside for the moment.
7. Put your free motion foot on your machine and drop your feed dogs. Using a black thread, sew around each of the scraps to outline each part. This is supposed to look a bit wonky and quirky so crooked lines etc are fine! I added a spiral line of smoke to my chimney. I then used my machine to "draw" legs and arms, a head and some hair for my little girl figure. I changed thread to do the balloon strings. Leave a decent tail of thread each time you stop to make it easier to sew in your threads, it will look very messy before it is done!
8. Once you are done with the outlining, take a hand sewing needle and bring all your thread tails through to the back of your piece. I then knotted my threads to secure and snipped them close to the knot.

9. Sew in your buttons and any embellishments. I added eyes and a mouth to my girl's face using perle cotton.
10. Place your fabric over the interior hoop and then put the exterior hoop over and tighten closed. Make sure your fabric is stretched nice and taute, but not distorted. I left my stabilizer on the back of my fabric - you could tear away if you wanted, but it helps stop any threads at the back showing through a light coloured solid.
11. Trim around the hoop - enough that you can glue it to the inside of the hoop, but not have it wider than the hoop itself. Then trim the stablizer right back to the hoop to reduce the bulk, being careful not to cut your fabric.
12. Using fabric glue, carefully glue the raw edges to the inside of the hoop, you will get a bit messy doing this and might need to hold in place for a minute or two to get it to stick.
As I was making this for my own house and it would be hung on the wall, I didn't bother covering the threads at the back. However, if you were giving it as a gift and wanted the back to be nice and tidy, cut a piece of felt or fabric to fit inside the hoop and just covering the raw edges that you have stuck down and use a little glue to fix in place.
13. Add a ribbon tie and ta dah! Your hoop is done. Hang and admire :-)
As I said, you can do lots of different things with hoops - here are a few more I made last year. This was made with appliqued circles, and hand stitched with perle cotton:
And this very simple Christmas hoop was made with a few scraps of fabric and some hand stitching:
I hope you enjoyed this short tute - please pop over to say hi to me at FairyFace Designs and let me know if you have any questions! Thanks so much Karen for inviting me to take part!

Thanks so much Sarah... I love that wee house! :) As Sarah said, you can do so much with hoops, here's one I made for a swappy partner to hold her sewing bits & pieces:
Well, I hope you all have enjoyed our wee visit to Cork... we're heading west next, so do drop by soon to meet some more inspiring Irish stitchers!
Take care


  1. Sarah always makes beautiful things. Thanks for having us visit her.

  2. This is sucha lovely tutorial Sarah and thanks Karen for hosting it! Love that hoop!

  3. Gorgeous hoop! I'm enjoying this road trip!

  4. A great tutorial! Thanks!
    This road trip is such fun!!

  5. That is absolutely gorgeous and maybe a wonderful project I can make with my "little" girl! Thanks :)

  6. What a great post! Thanks K and S!

  7. Oooh I see my hoop there! Sarah is the best x

  8. I love Cork too. Far too long since I ahve been down there...Beware Sarah I may take a road trip soon.....

  9. Great tutorial! I love Sarah's work :)

  10. Phew, that was some drive! Fab wee hoops though :o)

  11. Thanks ladies, this is awesome!

  12. I love all these hoops!