Gathering together to sew in company is really quite special. It can be lonely and a bit boring sometimes sewing at home by yourself. While that quiet time is still vital for my sanity, recently I have been much more open to getting out and taking part in sewing groups. Partly because I have more time in the evening now, also my anxiety is manageable, it feels nice to be sociable and join in. Also real life is better. 

A couple of weeks ago I went to Stitched Up in Chorlton to make a mini banner. It was to be displayed/carried in London for the No Faith in War day organised by Roots of Resistance, in protest of the DSEI arms fair.

With just a couple of hours of stitching time at the gathering, I thought I should prepare a little beforehand. I designed this applique pattern template (and reversed it), traced it onto Bondaweb -  I paired the same sized decorative shapes together so I could cut between them easily to fuse onto the different coloured fabrics. I fused the traced patterns to the fabrics and cut them out with sharp embroidery scissors. My littlest helper kindly peeled the paper backings off the applique shapes - small fingers are handy for that! I positioned and ironed them in place ready for stitching at the evening workshop.

I used some black perle cotton and coordinating colours of Aurifil 12 weight cotton to stitch down the applique. For the black I just stitched along as if writing the letters and for the (feather / wings / petal) shapes I did a slightly sloping simple whip stitch. The handmade look it gives, thanks to the thickness of the 12 wt Aurifil, works really nicely. I added in some crosses where the 'holes' would be in the lettering. It would have been possible to cut them out as I was prepping the applique but I ran out of time and honestly it probably turned out better with the cross stitches.

This is a fun slogan and could easily be added to a quilt or other make so I thought I would include the template for you to download! Click the link(s) below to download.


hugs not thugs reverse applique template Charm About You

hugs not thugs embroidery applique template Charm About You

The phrase 'hugs not thugs' was suggested by my best friend Gemma. It gets used in her household as a reminder to the kids to be nice to each other! You could easily use the templates just for the word 'Hugs' or only the decorative shapes. Let me know if you decide to use it, I would love to see your projects!

Here are the other banners the group made at Stitched Up!

A creative bunch! The mini banners showcase our messages well. I particularly like the very to the point 'Stop It'!

Last month I also made it to my first MCR Sew Social - a monthly social meeting at Foundation Coffee House in the Northern Quarter, Manchester. I got this badge as it was my first time! It was a really nice couple of hours spent with lovely creative people who were doing patchwork, cross stitch, embroidery etc.

There were some familiar face, my friends Michelle, Rachel and Paula were there and the organisers Louisa and Hayley were very welcoming. I can't make it each month as the kids have evening activities most weeks but hopefully there will be another opportunity to go because I really enjoyed getting out and sewing in company!