Ready, Steady, Sew: Pick up your needle and join in Meadowhall’s charity sewing bee

Danielle Downs enjoying her guilty pleasure free machine stitching
Danielle Downs enjoying her guilty pleasure free machine stitching

Granny would be thrilled; sewing your own is back in vogue.

Meadowhall is joining in the trend this weekend with a ‘Sew It Better’ fundraising sewing bee for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Danielle Downs, who runs Sheffield’s Sew In The City sewing lounge, will be teaching how to make cute lapel badges at pop-up workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

The Hillsbrough textile designer (31) learned to sew at seven and set up her classes two years ago with aunt Yvonne Haslem. “A big revival is going on,” she says. “Most clients are young professionals. I’ve devised an easy lapel badge for Sew It Better and hope hundreds will join in the Meadowhall workshops, or make some at home and sell them for the charity.”

Pick up your needle and join in:

Fundraising for charity will be easy and educational, say organisers of Sew It Better.

“At Meadowhall we’re always on the look out for the latest trends – and this year sewing is top of the trends list thanks to the likes of the BBC series The Great British Sewing Bee,” says Alex Caley, centre events manager. “For our Park Life Summer Campaign we have devised sewing workshops for nimble-fingered and novice stitchers alike. It’s all for the Make It Better appeal to help modernise the Children’s Hospital.”

Sewing workshops of 30 minutes will be staged every half hour from 10-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. There’s room for up to 20 sewers at each Sewing It Better class in the Lower Arcade near M&S. The Cath Kidston store and art and craft superstore Hobbycraft are supplying materials.

Sewers will be asked to make a minimum £2 donation to the charity

How to make your own Children’s Hospital ‘Make It Better’ badge:

What you need:

1 sheet of yellow felt

1 sheet of blue felt

Sewing needle

Blue cotton thread

1 brooch back

Small piece of white felt

1 pair of scissors.


Cut out 10 x 4cm oblong “plaster” shapes with rounded edges from the yellow and blue felt.

Cut out small blue felt rectangles 3.75 x 3.5cm. Stitch one onto the centre of each blue “plaster” shape using running stitch. Sew all the way around. Tie off using a knot.

Cut out a yellow felt teddy face and stitch onto the centre of your rectangle. Draw in teddy’s features with a pen, or use embroidery if you are nifty with needle and thread.

Each plaster now needs dots. With a pen, draw five rows of dots on each side. The first row has six dots, the second row five dots, the third has six, etc.

Place the blue plaster on top of your yellow plaster and sew together, going around the edge of the little rectangle with running stitch. Now both plasters are secure, turn your badge over and sew on your brooch pin.

Wear it with pride, then make more and sell them for the charity.

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