May Flowers

I thought that it would be fun to make some fabric flowers, and I have had this project on my mind for awhile.  This was actually an experiment for me.  I have used this method for years to make ruffles for pillows and other things.   I like how the flowers came out.  The method can be varied quite a bit to come out with different results.

Fabric Flowers

Fabric Flowers

I made a couple of the flowers with pipe cleaners for stems, and left the other two so that they can be attached onto something else or made into a pin or hairpiece.

Large Flower

Small flowerHere is a short tutorial showing you my basic method, and then you can use your imagination and vary the size and style to meet your own tastes.

You will need a small amount of fabric (at least 2 1/2″ x 18″) to make strips for the flower petals (fat quarters work well for this)

crochet cotton or string

pipe cleaners for stems (optional)

small amount of felt for base of flower (also optional)

needle and thread

small amount of glue

Rotary cutter, ruler and mat, hole punch

Cut your strips

Cut your strips

I used a fat quarter for this particular flower.  Cut your strip to be twice the depth of the flower petal you want.  I cut these 2 1/2″ so they are 1″ plus 1/4″ for the seam after folding – see below.  (The large flower was about a 5 1/2″ wide strip).  The strips will be folded in half lengthwise.

Fold your strip and press.

Fold your strip and press.

Fold the strip lengthwise, so that the right side of the fabric is out and the raw edges are together. Press.

Zig zag over the crochet cotton

Zig zag over the crochet cotton

Set your machine to a wide zig zag stitch.  Place the crochet cotton/thread next to the raw edges of the folded piece of fabric, and zig zag over the thread to the end of your strip.  Note:  make sure that you don’t catch the crochet thread in your stitching.  You will be using this thread to gather your strip.

Gather the Strip

Gather the Strip

Hanging on to the ends of the crochet cotton/thread, gather the fabric from both ends so that the entire strip is gathered.  You can adjust the gathers as you form the flower.

Start rolling up the fabric strip

Start rolling up the fabric strip

This is where you will make the decision whether you want to have a stem or not.  If not, take one end of the fabric strip and start to roll it inward.

Add stem to end before rolling

Add stem to end before rolling

If you want a stem, take a pipe cleaner and place it on the end, then start to roll the fabric strip over the stem.  If you want, you can add a dab of glue here.  I waited until I rolled the entire strip and added the glue at the end.  This is up to you.

Roll and Adjust

Roll and Adjust

Keep rolling up the strip and adjust the shape of the flower as you go. Make sure that the length of crochet cotton/thread doesn’t get wrapped up in the fabric strip as you go.

Roll all of fabric

Roll all of fabric

If you are using a short piece of fabric like a fat quarter, you will probably use the entire strip.  Again, this is personal preference. If your strip was a full width of fabric, you will probably want to cut it off.  This will depend upon how large your flower will be, and the depth of the strip you are using.

Larger/wider fabric strip

Larger/wider fabric strip

This larger flower made from wider fabric did take a 45″ wide strip of fabric that I had cut 5 1/2″ deep.

Now you need to secure the end.

Secure the end

Secure the end

I turned the flower over and tied the two strings that are hanging down from gathering the strips into a knot.  This helps to keep the gathers from coming undone. Do this whether you used a pipe cleaner for a stem, or not.

Tie the ends of the cotton/thread

Tie the ends of the cotton/thread

Trim the ends of the thread off.

Cut the cotton/thread

Cut the cotton/thread

Then take a needle and thread and sew from one side of the bottom to the other.  Stay within the seam you gathered.

Sew through from side to side of the bottom

Sew through from side to side of the bottom

If you used a stem, this is where I add a dab of glue inside the bottom of the flower, next to the stem.

Glue next to the stem

Glue next to the stem

Sew from side to side, around the stem, the same as above.

Sew as you wind

Sew as you wind

If you are making the larger flower, stitch each layer to the previous one as you go around and wind up the gathered strip.  When you are done, tie the crochet cotton/thread together the same way as the small flower is done above. You can now also trim off any stray threads that are hanging from the raw edge of the fabric.

Adding the felt to the bottom of the flower

Adding the felt to the bottom of the flower

If you have added a stem, cut a circle of felt about the size of a quarter.  Punch a hole in the center with a hole punch and slip the pipe cleaner through.  Add a small amount of glue to the base and press it upward onto the fabric.  You can also use a hot glue gun, I used Fabri-tac here.

Add pins to hold

Add pins to hold

I then added straight pins to hold it in place until it dried.  Be careful not to glue the pins in!  If you used a hot glue gun you can probably skip this step.

Fabric covered button center

Fabric covered button center

I sewed a fabric covered button into the center of this flower.  I also tucked in the raw ends of the petals on this one and tacked them in place.

If you taper your fabric strips when you cut them, you can start out with a tight, smaller center and then enlarge the outside petals.

There are a lot of things that you can do with these flowers, let your creativity take over!  If you make some, please share your pictures, I’d love to see them!

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2 responses to “May Flowers

  1. How sweet! I really like this technique. This design would look cute to decorate my pencil cups at my cubicle at work.

  2. Great tutorial! The flowers are really cute.
    I was catching up on your blog too. We are surviving the month of family birthdays here-no time to be online.
    Love the trip around my birth state. Just beautiful pictures.
    Really love the coffee idea too. I am in a coffee and tea swap with fabric and actual tea cups etc. I will have to point everyone toward your site.
    Great ideas once again!