Tutorial : How to stiffen lace

This simple tutorial will show you how to stiffen lace, without using chemicals or expensive products. The recipe uses just sugar and water, so you won’t need to buy lots of supplies. I love that the method uses natural ingredients and if you don’t like the effect you can simply wash the sugar out and start again!

How to stiffen laceI became interested in stiffening lace when I rediscovered some beautiful lace that I thought I might use in my hair for our wedding. I think its a kind of guipure lace so it has a nice weight to it, but wasn’t stiff enough to use as it was. The photo below shows you before and after.

How to stiffen laceI started researching the best way to stiffen lace and after a bit of trial and error I have come up with this tutorial. You will need a piece of lace, water, granulated sugar, a saucepan, a small bowl or cup and a piece of card with greaseproof paper or cling film stuck to one side.

Tutorial : How to stiffen laceThe recipe is simply 1 part water to 1 part sugar. I made a solution using half a cup of each and that was more than enough. After you have measured your ingredients, place them in your saucepan and heat gently. Stir continuously and as soon as the sugar has melted, remove from the heat.

How to stiffen laceWet your piece of lace in warm water, before popping it into your slightly cooled solution. Leave to soak for a few minutes. Take your lace out and allow the excess liquid to drip off. Lie the lace down onto the greaseproof paper and allow to dry. My lace took 2 days to dry completely, try not to move it when it is drying so that it sets nicely.

How to stiffen lace

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Our Handmade Wedding : Felt Flower Buttonholes

I posted photos last week of my handmade felt flower bouquet. I also made the buttonholes to match! I used the same colour palette, arranged three buds together for each one and tied them together with brown string. Then each one was wrapped up and labelled, ready to be opened as a surprise on the day!

Felt flower buttonholes

Felt flower buttonholes

Felt flower buttonholes


Felt flower buttonholes

Last photo of Matt and his lovely brother Mike by Antony Turner.


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Make is moving!

I have spent many happy hours in No. 4 Albert Road, stitching, knitting, eating cake, teaching workshops and making firm friends with other creative people. Now Make is on the move! They are heading to a new home just over Fratton Bridge to No. 1 Cornwall Road, the former Westhouse Textiles. This huge building now has a very bright future, with masses of teaching space, room for fabrics galore and even a café!


The old shop shuts this afternoon and we should expect a brand new shiny Make to be unveiled in about a month’s time! I am so excited!

Make Southsea


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A crocheted wedding present!

We were so lucky to get some wonderful handmade wedding presents. One of these gifts was a beautiful big granny stripe blanket made by Emma, my new sister-in-law. The colours are perfect and the wool is so soft!

Crocheted BlanketCrocheted Blanket

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Our Handmade Wedding : My felt flower bouquet

I love working with felt and so it was my material of choice for my handmade wedding bouquet. I picked my three favourite shades of blue, grey and white wool felt and carefully cut out, rolled and assembled sixty rose buds. It was the perfect choice of bouquet for me because I could pick my very favourite colours, it stayed looking immaculate all day and it will be everlasting.

If you would love your own bouquet, please get in touch, (contact(at)georginagiles.co.uk).   I would love to make you one for your perfect day.

Felt Flower Bouquet

Felt Flower Bouquet

I’ve made a rainbow of felt flowers for this Friday’s Southsea Night Market! Pop along to say hello and pick up a bloom or two for yourself, whilst enjoying the beautiful seafront.

Photos by our amazing wedding photographer Antony Turner.


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Craft workshops at Victorious Festival

A s a member of Southsea Greenhouse I will be teaching a free craft workshop at Victorious Festival this year. I will be in the kids area and we will be making bright and beautiful felt tinsel! There is no sewing involved and your little ones can pick any colours they like to make their garland. There will be so many other things going on at the festival including a great line up of live music and a handmade market. I will also have a little pop up shop so that you can pick up a monster to take home with you!

Felt Tinsel

Handmade felt plush toy

Victorious Festival Poster

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The first Southsea Night Market!

The first ever Southsea Night Market took place on Friday and we are very excitedly looking forward to the next four dates! Every Friday evening in August, from 4pm to 8pm, you can find artists and crafters setting up shop along the promenade on Southsea seafront with the beautiful things they have made. You can find us at Speakers’ Corner, which is in between the Pyramids and South Parade Pier and next to Rocksby’s Cafe. Tom and I have co-organised these events after The People’s Plan for Southsea helped to make this possible.

You can see photos of some of the lovely sellers and their work who came along below, photos by Matthew Cleveland.

Southsea Night Market
Southsea Night MarketSouthsea Night MarketSouthsea Night MarketSouthsea Night Market

Southsea Night MarketSouthsea Night MarketSouthsea Night Markets

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Southsea Night Markets on BBC Radio Solent and in The News!

As if it wasn’t exciting enough that lots of local businesses, crafters and the public have been enthusiastically supporting the Southsea Night Markets, in the last two days Tom and I have also been interviewed on BBC Radio Solent and The News have written an article, which is in today’s edition! We are so excited about the markets launching this Friday, whether you would like to sell your work or pop down for a browse, please come along and support handmade industry in Portsmouth!

Southsea Night Markets on BBC Radio Solent

Southsea Night Markets in The News

The photo of Tom and I in The News was taken on Southsea beach, by Matthew Cleveland.

Southsea Night Markets



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Cotton Reel Sign Holders!

When I take my toys to a market or fair I’m always trying to think of new ways to display them and items that I can take with me to make my stall more interesting. A mini sewing machine nearly always comes along and my set of mini drawers to hold mini monsters is essential! Today I thought I would share with you a great way of displaying little signs on your stall, which could be used to give your customer a bit more information about the lovely things you make or simply to indicate prices.

Cotton Reel Sign HoldersTo make your very own set of cotton reel sign holders you will need a selection of wooden cotton reels, a workbench and a saw. I used a hacksaw because I wanted to get a fine cut. You can leave the thread on the reel or wind it off, like I have done. Pop your cotton reel in your workbench to hold it steady, but don’t over tighten it because you will leave marks. Gently cut your slit in the top, taking care not to rip the paper label.

Cotton reel sign holdersYou can cut your slits at different angles to make an interesting set. I avoided the names of the colours because I think this is a really interesting detail! You could varnish the paper labels if you liked with a little bit of watered down PVA glue to keep them in place.

Cotton Reel Sign HoldersYou could also use them as place settings, especially if you are planning a handmade wedding! We cut up some branches for our place settings so that they matched our wooden centrepieces. Happy Making!

If you fancy making your own sign holders then you can buy some useful supplies from Amazon. If you purchase anything through the links in my post you are helping to support my blog as I get a small referral fee from Amazon. Thank you!


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Monsters at the Love Southsea Market!

Next weekend will be a very busy couple of days in Southsea! The Southsea show will be on the common and the Love Southsea Market is taking its usual place in Palmerston Road. I will be setting up shop at the market, with a wonderful selection of toys and games, including an army of mini monsters in my favourite colours!

Mini monsters with spools

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