Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fabric Flowers Tutorial

Fabric flowers are all the rage right now and I've been experimenting with them because I've been wanting to put them on a number of my projects. There have been lots of failures and some good successes. I have a few favorites. I perfected one particular flower today and thought you might like to see...and even try one for yourself! It's so easy a caveman could do it.

I made this flower to put on the tabs of a carseat carrier I made for my sister. It turned out really cute and I especially liked how the flower added to it. Forgive my dreadful pictures. Not only did I not install Photoshop yet on my laptop from the big "virus thingamajig", I did not think through my wardrobe prior to taking these pics - and it's not easy to take pics of yourself while you're sewing.
So first things. For a flower this size, which is approximately 4", you'll want some fabric about 4" wide and about 40" long.Press. Press. Press. I've found in my years of sewing (jk, I mean days) that ironing is critical.

Now, fold under the edges on the 4" side and press, then fold it in half the long way and press. This pic is what it looks like afterward. You're really just folding it in half the long way but I like the ends to be finished so I fold them in first.Now sew the whole thing closed including those short ends.So now you have a long piece of fabric about 2" wide and about 40" long. One side is folded and the other end is raw but sewn shut. Now, set your machine on it's longest stitch length and adjust your tension all the way up. After many, many ruffles, I've learned that this is the only way to do it.
Now without locking in your first stitch (like, don't reverse your stitch) - make a basting stitch down that long edge. Without the sewing lingo, just start sewing down over top your last stitch but don't finish or start it by doing a reverse stitch. We want the string to be able to be pulled out so the ruffle can be adjusted. Within about 3" you should start seeing it bunch up under your needle. This is a good thing.Now...before you continue...right now...readjust your tension back to normal, as well as your stitch length. Or if you wanna be like me in every way, leave it and screw all of your sewing up for the next 10 minutes until you figure out what the heck you've done wrong.

So you have a beautiful ruffled thing-a-ma-jig now. Take a nice big needle and thread it using double thread (like make both ends of the thread even and tie a knot in them at the bottom so your thread is double)

BTW, forgive my "For Dummies" directions
I'm stupid enough to need these type of directions when I'm
following a tute but hopefully you're brighter than me.

k - continuing. Start rolling the ruffle. Each time around I found it helpful to sew it together or else you end up trying to sew it at the end and it all falls apart and you have to do it again. The next several pictures are just of the rolling and sewing process as the flower gets bigger. I just keeping sewing wherever I want to keep it tacked. You can alter how the flower gets rolled to make it wider, fluffier, or whatever. Along those lines, you can even shorten your length of fabric at the beginning to make a smaller flower. It's pretty flexible.

This is the back of my flower after I've finished it.

How I hold it as I'm rolling it and sewing.

So after you're done rolling and sewing, you're finished! Just fluff it up a bit and you'll have to hand sew it to whatever you're putting it onto. When you do that, you might want to spread the base out a bit onto what you're sewing it to and then be liberal with the thread and sew in lots of different places to make sure it's tacked down well.

That's it!

4 backward glances:

Lesley said...

It's great!! And what a clever idea using it as a decorative touch on the cover! I have only made one kind of fabric flower and that is pretty similar to how I did it. BTW, I love your directions - just the kind I need!

Amy said...

haha, i saw a girl with flowers on her tabs at Costco and copied. it was really cute.

Tiffany said...

I LOVE IT!!! It turned out darling!!! You're flippin' amazing, you know that :)

Controlling My Chaos said...

I have seen these car seat covers with the cool fabric flowers and I love them. I just wish I had a baby for one.