Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fabric Flowers 101

I've been off in la-la land lately, hand sewing 50ish fabric flowers of all shapes and sizes. I was really inspired by that gorgeous bouquet I posted about here, and I've been all over the web finding tutorials, in and out of thrift shops and Etsy stores to find materials, and camped out on my couch watching TV while sewing and sewing.

So, here's my attempt at a tutorial for you lovely ladies and gentlemen! This is all based on trial and error. This is so easy, because there's no measuring or real expertise required.

Step one. Cut a rectangle out of a piece of fabric. You don't have to measure it. A skinny rectangle will make a skinny flower, while a fat rectangle will make a fat flower. The shorter the material, then the smaller and less gathered and full your flower will be. This one was about 4 inches by 12 inches. Also, it doesn't really matter what material you use. This one is cotton, but I've made flowers from satin, taffeta, name it. You can also use ribbon (wired ribbon is really structured, very cool looking).

So cut your rectangle, and get some matching thread and a needle.

Step 2. Fold said rectangle in half. Cut a length of thread longer than the rectangle. Thread your needle, and knot one end of the thread. On the rough edge where the 2 pieces of material come together, sew a running stitch along the length of the fabric. What's a running stitch? It's the super basic, up and down stitch. You can find a tutorial on that here. Don't bother making your stitches even, it doesn't matter. And make them about a half an inch apart.

Step 3. All done? Take the needle off of the thread, and take ahold of the loose thread and the knot at the beginning of the fabric. Pull, and gather the material until it's bunched up. Tie the 2 ends of thread together until the fabric gathers up into a circle, giving you this:

Step 4. To finish it up, I sew the 2 ends of fabric together. You can make these look really different by varying the fabrics used and the size of the fabrics. If you use a really long piece of material, you can spiral the flower around itself and it makes it more 3D.

Here's a sampling of some of the flowers I've made. I made them all using this technique except for the organza ones. I'll post a tutorial on them soon.

Henry helps me every night.

Poor dog, he was so confused!

So, now I just need to sew a gazillion more! I did make them into a bouquet, and I'll post about that soon as well.

I must say, I am impressed with how these are turning out. I'm not particularly good at anything "crafty." It's so cathartic to chill out in front of the TV and make a dozen or so of these. I know they'd be faster by machine, but this is working for me. I've also cut up yards and yards of fabric, so I can just grab and go and don't have to stop to cut.

This project is also very cheap for me. I ordered 2 pieces of specialty fabric off of Etsy (they haven't come in quite yet), but all of this fabric came from a thrift store like Goodwill or from my grandma's scrap collection. This could be really expensive if you bought all of the fabric at full price.

I've been using pearls from an old junk necklace as the centers of lots of flowers, and I'm going to keep shopping for cheap junk jewelery to cut up and use. Also, I'm on the look out for rhinestone pins to pin on some of the flowers or on the handles of the bouquets. These flowers might make good centerpieces too, but we'll see.

So what do you think? Have you committed yourself to any projects that require a huge time commitment?


  1. Your flowers came out beautiful! This looks like a lot of fun to do and easy enough for someone with limited artistic ability like me. I'm excited to try it!

  2. They're looking great! I've GOT to try my hand at this soon...maybe this weekend. If mine don't turn out well, I'll be emailing you for H-E-L-P! Great job!

  3. Those look great! Thanks for the step by step tutorial. It does sound easy. Can't wait for the organza one

  4. They're looking great so far...I can't wait to see what your bouquet looks like.

  5. Hiya! I came from Chocolate Lover's blog, and couldn't resist dropping a note about your project! The flowers look so nice! And I think it is awesome you are doing so much yourself! Haha! When I got married, even writing out the invite cards took the wind out of me :P


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