Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Showdown: Fabric Flowers

I know I know.  I can't ONLY post on Fridays.  I am doing what I can to remedy that.  Life has been quite good to me lately and keeping me busy.  My niece (the loveliest thing I've ever set my eyes on) arrived almost 2 weeks ago (wow the time really is flying) and I will be starting a new job on Monday that I am over the moon excited about.  In any case, back to business!

Today's craft tutorial features a fabric flower.  These little darlings seem to be popping up in all kinds of mediums from home decor to hair accessories.  There are a ton (almost literally) of methods to make fabric flowers - depending on the look and style you are hoping to achieve.  My original plan was to tackle three different varieties -see above paragraph about busy and awesome life - but I only had time for one.  Meh.


The good news is the fabric flower I choose to tackle is very mistake friendly.  No perfect lines to be cut or exact measurements to live by.  These are my favorite kind of crafts - you eventually get better and "perfect" your own method, but first try results are usually not half bad - read: ENCOURAGING!  Failing miserably at something you were really looking forward to making is a special kind of disappointment - and it's hard to muster the confidence to give it another go.  But practice makes perfect, right?  That's what I like to call a pickle... a crafting pickle.  Point is it's more fun to do stuff you are good at.  Let the tutorial begin!

You'll need....

1/8 yard organza fabric
Ruler
Scissors
Needle & Thread (don't get scared, I can't sew either.  this isn't real sewing)
Pretty bead or button (you can use an ugly one if you really want to)
Hot glue gun & glue sticks

I'll start by saying the squares you cut will end up in the shape of a flower.  If you think it's easier to jump right to that step, take the leap.  Word of warning: organza fabric is slippery and annoying.

Start by cutting 6 "big" squares out of your organza fabric.  When I say big I mean whatever size you think you want your flower to be.  Mine were 6 inch squares - you can choose whatever size your little heart desires - just remember to buy fabric accordingly.  Don't bother drawing your square "pattern" onto the fabric.  They don't have to be perfect.  Seriously.  Pin your 6 squares together in the center.

Next, cut 4 "little" squares out of the same fabric (perhaps trying out a contrasting or complimentary color would be interesting... hmmmm).  By little I mean smaller than the big ones by about 1/3.  Since my big squares were 6 inches and 1/3 of 6 is 2, my little squares were 4 inches.  Apply that same logic to whatever size you choose.  Pin your 4 squares together.

Then, round out your squares so that they are circles (silly I know - but it's easier to figure out measuring when you start from a square).  You may as well keep the scissors going since the next step is to cut your circles into a petaled flower - think daisy.  Not a bad idea to experiment with petal size either.  Mine were daisy inspired. 

I didn't take a picture of the square step.  I forgot.  Ooops.

Admire how haphazard and lopsided my petals are.  I love that the final product turned out beautifully with this mess as the starting point!

All that is left is to mis-align the stacks of petals and sew them all together!  To do this, unpin each of your stacks (separately at first) and rotate the individual floral shapes so that the petals don't line up.  Really no exact science to this - just do it.  Place your little guys in the center of the bigger shape and pin the whole lot of 'em together in the center. 

Finally let's sew it up!  Note: you can take out your pin when you get a few stitches in place.  Organza doesn't really have a front and back - or maybe it does and I'm just unobservant.  Either way, decide which side is the back.  Take your threaded, knotted needle & thread and come up through the back of the stack so your knot ends up, you guessed it, in the back!  Make a few stitches in a teeny tiny X pattern to secure everything together.  Now, fold your flower in half "length" wise (length and width aren't really different measurements here, it's just a way to differentiate the way you need to fold) and sew a few stitches while it's folded.  Unfold and re-fold "width" wise (just the opposite of however you just had it folded) and sew a few more stitches.  This will help the flower stand up so you can use your judgement (or experiment) with placement and amount of these stitches. 

Pin it to a ribbon, tie it around your adorable dog's neck and watch the magic happen.  I mean that's just what I did...

The second great love of my life, Jodi.

After looking at it for a little while, I decided it needed something to look a little more complete.  So I hot glued a pearl bead in the center.  That solution works quite often when I feel like a project doesn't look quite finished.

I hot glued my finished flower to a thick bobby pin... not directly to my hair.

I would give put this project somewhere between "Average Joe" and "Weekend Crafter" on the scale I just made up.  A smart 4th grader could do it too - with some help.

For future reference it goes (from easiest to hardest):

Monkey
4th Grader
Average Joe
Weekend Crafter
Stay at home Mom (seriously, have you seen what these women are capable of?) 
Martha








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