Friday, September 17, 2010

Taking Matters Into my Own Hands

A few weeks ago, on one of my favorite blogs, I saw the most adorable shabby, obviously handmade fabric flowers. I asked the author for a tutorial but with four kids and her many creative escapades to keep her busy, she has rather understandably not provided one (so far).

I googled. I surveyed. Finally, I decided that they really couldn't be that difficult to make, so into my crafting room I went.

She's not necessary, but she does provide pleasant company.

Not pictured: fabric (duh), felt, button, needle and thread.

Tip: I may regret giving away my secret, especially if you live in Nashville, but my favorite place to buy fabric is in the form of old pillowcases at Goodwill (sheets if I need more than scraps). There are all kinds of solid colors as well as, most of the time, a few lovely vintage prints. And they're CHEAP. So much easier and less expensive (and overwhelming) than going to Joann or Hobby Lobby - which, for me, is thirty minutes away.

The first thing I did was cut strips of the fabric I wanted to use for my flower. I'm sorry, but I did not measure my strips. If you have fabric to spare, my advice would be to start long (18" or so) and trim off what you don't need at the end. The bottom flower will be the longest and widest, and each layer on top of that will decrease in length and width (again, I eyeballed and trimmed as needed).

Fold the strip of fabric in half length-wise and press.

Now. I could have used my sewing machine for this, but after oh-so-carefully folding pleats, struggling to pin each one down perfectly, and seeing how much time it was taking, I scrapped that idea and grabbed my trusty hot glue gun.

On an "appropriate" surface (one you don't mind picking strings of glue off of), put your strip of fabric down and fold a pleat. Mark the area where the fabric overlaps and put a dab of hot glue there. Less is more, as the mean dude in "Angels in the Outfield" used to say.

Press the pleat on top of the glue and hold for a few seconds to let dry.

(I apologize for the quality of these pictures - it is most difficult to craft with one hand and photograph with the other. A 1.4 aperture is usually a beautiful thing, but not when there's so much going on in the photo and so little of it is in focus. I'm much more apt at photographing when I don't have a hot glue gun in my hands.)

Continue folding and gluing. The "tighter" you want your flower to be, the narrower the pleats need to be on top where you're gluing. The pleats should never be the same width on top and bottom because then you'll just end up with a straight line of pleats instead of a circle. I hope that makes sense...

When you've folded and glued all the way around, trim off the extra fabric and glue the ends together, overlapping some. Cut out a circle of felt, put a ring of hot glue on it, and glue it to the flower.

Repeat this process with more flower layers as desired.

Now, when you're finished, you'll have a gaping hole in the middle of your flowers. This is when a cute tidbit such as a button comes into play. Thread a needle and bring the needle up through the felt and through the button holes. Repeat three to four times to make sure the button is nice and secure. Then tie the threads on the bottom into a double- or triple-knot and trim off the excess thread.

Voila!!! She's cute, huh?

You can make your flowers into pins by simply hot-gluing the felt base of the flowers to a pin base, found at Michael's, Hobby Lobby, etc (maybe even Wal-Mart, but I avoid that place like the plague so I wouldn't know). ;)

I chose to make my flower into a headband. I measured around my head with elastic and cut it to the appropriate length. Then I cut another felt circle (yeah, by this time I'd given up with the camera) and hot glued the elastic onto it. I hot-glued THAT onto the felt base of the flower.
This is the best picture I was able to get of myself. (Ryan, come home!)

I must say that I was pleased with the way it turned out :o) So I didn't stop there. I made another headband (and resorted to Photobooth with its yucky, unflattering use of unnecessary flash but extreme convenience).

I tried to wear it the way all the cool kids are wearing headbands nowadays, but I don't think the results were very awesome. I think my bangs make it look awkward.

For the "middle" of this flower, I simply took a tiny piece of the yellow fabric, folded it over a couple of times to make it look nice, and hot glued the sucker on there. I hot glue everything. Hot glue, hot glue, hot glue. I should probably just start eating it so that I can eventually shoot it out of my wrists a la Spidey. That sounds like a super-convenient and not at all messy idea!


MLee said...

You sooooo have the imagination and "go for it" attitude I wish I did. Very cute!!

karen11thclement said...

I love your enthusiasm . A great idea on recycling fabric.The flower is so cute.
I sew alot and I will use your idea when making doll clothes for my little nieces.
Karen Johnson in Tyler, TX.

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