Fabric is a wonderful material to use for making flowers, the colors and prints are so numerous, you will never run out of fresh ideas to work with.
It is also a great way to use up scrap material that you have left over from other projects.
When picking out your material, the best fabric to use are; lawn, organdy, gingham, net, muslin and similar closely-woven fabrics. You will also require starch, I use the spray on variety and it works great.
If your flowers have centers, you will need either a bundle of bought 'stamens', usually obtainable in colors or with tiny pearl beads at the tip of each wire, or something else to make them.
Most patterns that you come across will have ideas for making your own stamens, and can vary from fabric or beaded centers to ones made from wool, lengths of embroidery thread or frayed string.
Fine wire will be needed, and either the fabric or tape to wind around the stems when finished.
Starching the Fabric
Before starting to make the flowers, you must first starch the fabric. Spray it all over from a distance of a few inches and allow the starch to soak in for a short time before ironing and stretching the material.
Very fine fabrics will need only one starching and ironing; others should be done twice.
Starching the fabric in this way gives it 'body' when it's made up and keeps the flower crisp.
You will also find that it will prevent your material from fraying.
Cutting the Petals
Cut out your templates or patterns for petals, sepals and leaves, if used, in stiff paper.
Pin out the piece of fabric on the floor or on a board and draw around the template the required number of times, with the grain of the fabric running along the length of the shape. Cut out the shapes, using very sharp small scissors.
You will find that some types of fabric, such as organdie, will curl natrually when the petal shapes are cut out, giving a very realistic effect. Other material, lawn for example, will not so so, and if you wish to make a curve you should gently roll the material over a pencil or matchstick.
Making the Flowers
Form the stamens of the flower according to the pattern you are using (or take some bought ones) and fix to the top of a piece of stiff wire (the stem), binding with fine wire or strong thread.
Place a dab of adhesive on the base of each petal, making sure to position it so that when stuck the petal will curve outward or inward as you wish it to do.
Lay aside for a few minutes for the adhesive to become tacky. Stick the petals to the stem and bind round with fine wire as shown in the picture on the right.
Add sepals to cover the wire, or simply bind the whole stem and base of the flower with crepe paper strip or florist's tape.
If you make leaves from fabric to go with your flowers, you should stick a piece of fine wire along the back of each leaf shape, leaving a piece of wire protruding so that it can be wired to the main stem.
The wire will also stiffen the leave and allow it to be bent in the desired direction.
The beauty of these fabric flowers is that they can be as simple or as elaborate as you like to make them, and you can form them from suitable fabric left over from a dress or a doll.
These are just basic idea and hints to help you when you are making fabric flowers. Let's move on to some other designs you can make as well.
Making Ribbon Roses
Ribbon roses add a decorative yet inexpensive touch to packages. They can be most effective on handmade greeting cards, and the best part is they are easy & quick to make.
You Will Need:
- 2 feet gift wrap ribbon for each rose (ribbon 1/2" wide makes a rose approximately 1.5" across and ribbon 1/4" wide makes a rose approximately 1" across)
Use the paper gift wrap ribbon with a satin finish, which is available everywhere, making sure that it is the type which sticks to itself when dampened.
Cut off a piece of ribbon 2 feet long.
Holding one end in your left hand, twist the ribbon with the right hand about 2 inches from the end (Figure 1).
Twist the ribbon once more (Figure 2) and take this section across the piece held in the left hand (Figure 3).
Moisten the coil underneath and stick to the flat strip, leaving as small a hole as possible in the center (Figure 4).
Continue twisting the ribbon (always in a clockwise direction), and, taking the ribbon behind the rose center, stick behind at the top.
Twist and stick, turning the rose as you go, and always taking your ribbon behind the rose head but in front of the flat strip.
Keep the 'coil' loose and avoid applying too much pressure when sticking each 'petal' as this flattens the bloom.
To finish your rose, take the last 3 inches of ribbon to the center back and twist ribbon ends together, damping well, to form a stem.
Do not be concerned if the first rose you make is a little 'tight' or if all your 'petals' are not exactly the same size.
Like real flowers, every ribbon rose you make will be slightly different, and, like a rose grower, you will find that your blooms improve with practice.
Making Net Orange Blossoms
These delicate orange blossoms would look lovely in a bride's head-dress, or in a pastel shade they could be wound around a bridesmaid's hairband. Going back a few years, these were a very popular item for handmade wedding accessories.
You will need:
- White net or organdy (net should be very fine)
- Taffeta or satin
- White florists' tape or crepe paper
- Pearl-tipped stamens (three per blossom)
- Florist's wire for stems
- Thin cardboard (for templates)
- Pencil, scissors and a blunt needle
How to Make the Flowers
First starch the net and taffeta. Then draw up the petal template to size and use it to cut petal sets from the two materials. For each flower I used two net petal sets and one taffeta set.
Roll the petals over a pencil or matchstick to make the petals curl backward, and then place each set on a soft surface, say a blanket or a couple of layers of felt, and score each petal with a blunt needle to produce groves that give it a realistic effect.
You will need three stamens for each blossom center. You should be able to buy the little pearl-tipped variety, but if not, you can easily make your own simply by gluing small pearl beads onto the ends of pieces of fine wire and then binding the stems with white florist's tape.
Make a hole in the middle of each petal set and dab a (very) little adhesive around each hole. Arrange the sets so that the petals of the bottom net set show between the matched petals of the middle taffeta and the top net set.
Now poke the wire ends of the stamens through the center holes and wind them around the stem wire. The petals are now held firmly in position with the help of the glue, and the pearl stamens rest snugly in the center of the blossom. Bind the stem with white florist's tape, tightly binding the stamen wires to the stem.
How to Make the Leaves
From the starched net cut a leaf shape. Place the leaf on the soft surface and score to produce a vein pattern.
Cut a piece of fine wire for the stem, twice the length of the leaf and bind with tape. Using fabric adhesive, carefully stick the stem to one side of the leaf, leave to dry and then bend the leaf to whatever curve best suits your decoration.
There is very little limitation on what you can do with these lovely little flowers and they would accompany any number of different types of arrangements.
Color variety is another bonus when making these orange blossoms as you are not limited to only white. Use your imagination and make it fun!
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© 2013 Dawn