Friday, May 2, 2014

Fabric Flowers

I saw an ad on a craft website that offered a class in how to make fabric flowers. So I started poking around YouTube and found some tutorials. Jodie and I gave them a try when she was home after Christmas. It's taken a while to post this because there are quite a lot of steps! So now, I present to you, this AuralArtists Extra.

You begin with squares of fabric and matching thread. We were making 6-petal flowers, so had 6 squares. The size of square you begin with will determine the final size of your flower. We made flowers in two sizes.

Fold in half, point to point. Finger press.

Fold the right point to the top point. Finger press.

Fold the left point to the top point. Finger press.

Turn the folded fabric over, keeping those folds vertical on the back side. The raw edges will be toward the top; the folded edges toward the bottom.

Fold the two side points into the middle. Finger press. 

Fold the two sides together like a taco, making sure those two point in the center stay lined up.  Hold it in place by putting a pin through all layers, making sure to catch those two points with the pin. Repeat for all six squares.

Turn the pinned piece over. You should have three folds. Place the fabric in front of you with the folded point down and raw edges up. Using a thin, long needle and a long piece of doubled thread, pierce the fabric in the center so that all the folded layers are held in place with the needle. It's important to hold those points that are folded into the center of the fabric with this step.

Line up all the fabric squares on your needle. You may need a thimble to help you push the needle through all that fabric. (It seems I inverted the stack and am showing the raw edges at the bottom).

Now with some sharp fabric shears, cut off the points on the raw edge of the fabric. Make sure the pieces on the needle are even.

It makes a bit of a mess trying to hold everything in place while you're snipping off the ends of the fabric and they go flying.

Pull the needle on through all layers of the fabric. 

This next step gets a little tricky. Tie the two ends of the thread into a square knot or surgeon's knot, keeping the loop around the end of the fabric a little bit loose. You need to leave enough room to manipulate the petals into place.

It can get pretty wonky as you even out the spacing of the petals around the thread loop.

You may need to trim the raw edges of the petals a little more to make all those raw edges line up in the center.

Once they are in place, start unfolding the petals. This is where the magic happens. You simply play with the petals until they look good to you. It takes a bit of time. Once the petals look the way you want them to, put a few stitches through them on the back of the flower to hold them all in place.

The back of the flower should look something like this. If it's a little messy, that's OK.

Cut a circle of felt in a similar color to your flower. It needs to be large enough to cover the messy center, but small enough that it stays behind the majority of the petals folds so that it doesn't show on the front of the flower.

Glue it in place. We used white glue that dries clear. This would be a good place to use fabric glue, if you have it.

Make your flower tidy and glue the felt dot in place.

Picking centers for your flowers is fun! There are just so many possibilities! We got into my stash of vintage buttons and into my bead stash. We played with size and color and stacking buttons until we found some combinations we liked. You can even use old jewelry or a single earring for the flower centers. The flower center needs to be large enough to cover up any raw edges that still show on the front of the flower. Sew or glue the centers to your flowers. Again, use a glue that will dry clear.

For the two large flowers, we used vintage buttons. I like that crystal center. It adds lots of sparkle.

On the two smaller flowers we used buttons and beads. The polka dot flower has a button center with a circlet of pearl beads surrounding it. And here, you see our hearts and polka dots that makes this an official AuralArtist Extra!

We made our fabric flowers with cotton fabric. But there are some absolutely gorgeous flowers made from silk and satin. I imagine they would be fairly tricky with the slicker fabrics. These flowers are a lot of fun to make. They can be used as hair accessories or broaches or in the place of bows on wrapped gifts. There's a very good chance I'll make more of these in the future.


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