Fabric Flowers By Machine

Fabric FlowersCreating flowers from fabric is very common and has been popular for years. I myself have loved creating flowers whether folded in place or stitched in place for projects for years. It’s also common now to see dimensional flowers in machine embroidery. Can you imagine, creating a dimensional flower entirely in the hoop on your embroidery machine. It’s common to do it with silk organza and they look really beautiful. My favorite way tho is still via using normal fabrics. Their isn’t a single type of fabric you can’t create flowers with. Some fabrics lend themselves better to the technique, but even something as complicated as a knit makes an awesome flower. This is a simple technique to create flat flowers by machine. Their is no glue used and the only thing I did by hand was the button, however, if you like or can do buttons by machine, you are welcome to do the button by machine as well. This lesson however focuses on the handwork for the button although no handwork is actually shown. Supplies The length of your fabric depends on how big you want your flower. The longer the strip of fabric you use, the bigger flower you will have. The wider the fabric is, the harder it will be to get it flat and the wider it is, the longer in length it should also be or the flatness will have a hard time coming about. I did these flowers in batiks. The only batik not used was the darker blue in the middle of the teal colored flower. Batik is not as easy to gather up because of the stiffness of the fabric, my fabrics were also not prewashed, but prewashing does make for softer fabric and does make gathering easier. In my examples, I’ve used 4-inch x 10-inch strip of fabric 3-inch x 10-inch strip of fabric 2-inch x 10-inch strip of fabric felt The blue flower uses 10-inch length strips and is only slightly larger than the purple flower is.

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I tear my fabrics, now I know all the arguments on tearing, and I’ve seen some of the damage tearing causes, but I still tear my fabric and the biggest reason I do it is because tearing always tears straight. I never ever get a curve in my fold because I’ve cut it wrong, instead, I get nice straight strips, which I then will cut to the proper size needed without the worry that I don’t have a straight cut. So, while I didn’t cut these strips down, because their is no need to do so, batiks always tear well, and are usually pretty straight off the bolt anyway, so it’s rare to get a badly damaged batik fabric. If I’m doing piecework, I tear at a half inch larger than needed and cut to the width later. You may see this as a waste of fabric, but I like having straight fabric and being on grain is important, so I waste that bit of fabric by tearing.

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Iron your strips so the fabric lays flat, then fold it over wrong sides together. Stitch with a longer stitch length on your machine, if your unsure, test the stitches on muslin until you find a stitch you can gather easily.

Stitch at a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

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While you could chain piece your strips, you need to create a long enough piece of needle and bobbin thread between each chain to cut between them to keep for gathering your stitches. Once you’ve stitched out your strips, bring them to your iron and set the stitch, and press the fabric till flat if it isn’t already.

If your unfamiliar with gathering, I personally like to lock one side of the gathering down and gather from the other end. This technique doesn’t work if I’m gathering really big projects such as a skirt for instance, but with small things like strips of fabric, you can make a knot in one end of the strip, and then I pull the bobbin thread from the other side. I don’t think it matters much if you pull the needle thread or the bobbin thread, but for me it’s easier to pull the bobbin thread and I like the gather I get better from the bobbin thread  as well. These flowers must be gathered as much as you can possibly get them to gather.

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It is hard to see in the above image, but sometimes when you are trying to get these flowers to lay flat, you will have some overlap in the strip. Just allow that to happen, the idea here is to get the flowers to lay flat, not curl.

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After they are laying flat, your going to put the two ends together and stitch them together. It’s kind of like creating a tube, but it’s not a tube.

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You could have a small edge like what a 1/4-inch seam allowance looks like and you could have a inch or more like in the above image. It’s dependant upon getting that flower to lay flat, so it’s ok if their is a larger bit of edge than what you expect.

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I then cut off the extra, to about a 1/4-inch seam allowance and a I clip at the top so no fabric will show on the top of the flower. Cut all the long gathering threads and any lose threads at this point as well.

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Once you have the largest flower created, you can cut a piece of felt slightly larger than the top of the hole. I usually just cut a piece of felt and then cut it after I get the flower all put together.

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Lay the felt underneath the large flower and stitch

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around the hole of the flower to bring the two together.

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Once you finish stitching around the flower, you can go underneath and cut off the additional felt. You don’t need it to be there.

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Now we’ll get started on the next flower.

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Place your middle flower on top of the larger flower, try to line it up so that it’s in the middle, but the important thing here is that your hole is at least in the middle with your larger flowers hole.

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Stitch around it

ruffled_flower-16_id342Now the top flower

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Stitch around it.

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On this flower, I decided to make some slits in the flowers so they will eventually curl on the edges with a bit of the thread from the fabric.

I added a button to the middle of this flower, but you could also fill it with leftover threads, ribbon, small scraps of fabric, beads, or anything else you can think of that would be fun.

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I’d love to see any flowers you create from this lesson, feel free to upload them via my contact page and I’ll add them to this page.

Marian]

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