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Monday, October 4, 2010

Hand Cut and Hand Sewn Fabric Flower Tutorial...and a few other things!

My first advice would be to get yourself a good pair of fabric scissors, if you don't already have them. They can range in price from $5-$75. I bought a Fiskars pair that cost me $15. And they are awesome! So don't think that you have to go make a huge investment on scissors! Secondly, the fabric I chose for this project is broadcloth. Because broadcloth comes in a HUGE variety of colors, won't break the bank ($1.99-3.99 per yard) and is soft yet stiff enough to hold its shape once you have sewn the flowers! I bought 1 yard each in seven colors equalling seven yards! I was able to make 102 flowers with a little leftover.
1. Cut your fabric into 3 and 4 inch squares. (for 2 different size flowers) Then divide and stack fabric squares 4 layers thick. (you will understand when you read below)
2. Use the corners of the fabric squares as your guide to make different shapes. For example, below I rounded off each corner and cut down into the middle to make a rounded four petaled flower. Or keep the corners pointed. I found it the easiest to cut the flower shapes 4 layers at a time. Each flower I made was 8 layers thick!
3. Off-setting the rounded corners, stack the flower 8 layers thick. ( you can always use more layers if you want an even fuller flower:)
4. Pull the thread through your needle, doubling the thread, give yourself roughly 12 inches of length to work with and tie the 2 thread ends in a double knot. Push your threaded needle up, slightly off center through the back of the flower layers.
5. Once you've pulled it through, make a small stitch by going back down through the front to the back again.
6. Follow the same 2 steps one more time to create and x stitch in the front of the flower. At this point your needle should be at the back of the flower again.
7. Take your needle and go back up through the bottom 3 layers of fabric.
8. Wrap the thread once around the center and then pull the thread tight, cinching it!
9. Take your needle up through the next 3 layers, with 2 layers left on top.
10. Follow step 8 again. Wrapping the thread around and then cinching it. The cinching is what helps create the 3-D effect helping the petals to stand up!
11. Pull your needle and thread down and through the center of the back of the flower.
12. Begin making small, shallow stitches through the middle back of the flower to secure all of the stitching you have done! Make sure you pull the thread tight after each stitch!

13. I did between 5-8 stitches to secure the flower. Cut the needle and thread loose.
14. And SURPRISE! Perfect little handmade fabric flower.
Now for the various ways to use these little beauties! First of all the headbands or floral crowns if you will! I used 16 gauge cloth stem wire and floral tape.
1. I found that one length of stem wire was long enough for an average 1 year old's head. It's still smart to wrap the stem wire around your little girls head to see exactly how much the ends overlap. If this is the case with you, just form the wire into a circle, hot glue the two ends together (slightly overlapping them) and then wrap the glued ends tightly in floral tape! If you need the crown to be smaller, follow the same procedure, just overlap the ends more! To make the crown a little larger, I cut a 3 inch length of 1/8" braided elastic as an extention and hot glued 1 inch of the elastic to each wire end. That left roughly an inch in the center. Then I used floral tape to tightly wrap across the glued elastic. The nice thing about using elastic, is it gives you some stretching and retracting room depending on the little girl's head size!
2. For the little flower buds, I used my leftover scrap material and cut out various shapes, tapering the shape at one end.(a narrow tapered end makes it easier to glue onto the stem wire) Each layer you see on the floral buds is actually a separate little piece of fabric that I just overlapped and glued around the stem, not one whole flower! Once you have glued the tapered ends around the stem wire, wrap the end tightly in floral tape! There is no rhyme or reason to how and where I glued these little sweeties. Just glue them on at will!
3. For securing the fabric flower, I dabbed a generous amount of hot glue right in the center of the back of the flower. Then I pressed it firmly onto the stem wire crown!
For tying the flowers to tree branches, first I cut different lengths of twine. Then I double threaded my needle, double knotting halfway through a roughly 12 in length. Meaning there is 6 inches on both sides of the double knot! Then I made a shallow stitch going through the back middle and back out about 1/8 in from where I entered. Now you have 2 six inch ends of thread coming out of the back of the flowers. I secured the flowers to the lengths of twine by tying and knotting the thread ends around the end of the twine several times! And then tying the other end of the twine to the tree branch! I guess looking back, you can save yourself some time by just hot glueing the flowers to the ends of the twine! But I like to complicate things for myself and make it as hard and time-consuming as possible!:) Plus I needed something a little more permanent since I plan to hang some of these flowers in my Lil' Gal's nursery as decor...another post, another time!:)

For the flower garlands I cut 15-20 ft lengths of twine and secured a flower (the same way a did the single hanging ones) every 8-12 inches. Again feel free to hot glue the flowers on the twine to make your life a little easier! They will hold up great! But I think the flowers will stay a little more secure if you do it the time consuming way!;)

I secured the garlands in the ceiling with flat silver thumb tacs. Allowing enough length to droop in the center! There you have it folks! It took a lot of time! But I loved every second of it! And it was nice to kick back on the couch, with a good movie on, while I sewed! Now, get to work!!!!

A hearty THANKYOU to Bre for helping me figure out how to make all these lil flowers! Another hearty THANKYOU to Kisha for helping me figure out how I wanted to hang the garland and put the floral crowns together! Without you two, I would've spent and waisted a lot of extra time (which I did not have:) sitting on my thumbs trying to make sense of what I was doing! You guys are RAD!
And yet another hearty THANKYOU to Briana, my sis and partner in all things Talk Chow Play House for taking the pictures of the flower tutorial since my hands were a little tied up!;)
And lastly but not leastly;) THANKYOU to my wonderful Momma for coming over on such short notice on a saturday night to help me make and hang the floral garlands! I know for a fact, you had plenty of other things you needed to be doing!
Does this all sound like I'm up on stage accepting an Oscar? Ya...maybe. Dramatic much? But seriously I am sooo not crafty AT ALL! This was a big undertaking for me! So if you just so happen to be one of THOSE people, who just breeze right through projects like this, than kudos to you and I'm more than a little jealous!:) Happy crafting all you nifty crafters!

P.S. I know my instructions are less than stellar! I was having such a hard time trying to find the right wordage for this tutorial! So if you have any questions or concerns PLEASE do not hesitate to ask! I will answer you promptly!

Flower tutorial images by Bri
All other images by Kar


Haley and Lance (but probably just Haley) said...

How sweet of you to detail that out for us. When I'm feeling crafty I'll know right where to go. And I'm so glad to hear you say that you're not crafty - makes me much more likely to give it a try!

Angela DiGiovanni said...

Oh, my gosh - those are adorable hanging from your tree outside :-)