Friday, October 16, 2009

12 Weeks of Christmas Tutorial #3

I've been seeing lots of flowery embellishments on bags and blouses lately, and I've loved trying out some of the ways I've seen to make them. What I really wanted was something that didn't look too frilly- I'm not a super girly girl - but that used my favorite fabrics. I'm much more about construction and line, not so much softness and drape. So here's my version of a flowery embellishment that can be sewn onto another piece, made into a hair clip, or attached to a pin back so that it can be moved from item to item.

Step 1: Choose your fabrics
I used a mixture of twill, denim and cotton quilting fabrics, and mixed and matched until I found combinations I liked.

Step 2: Cut to size
I cut strips at varying widths, 2 or 3 inches, and didn't worry about the length at first. At this point I also pinked some of the edges, fringed one of the edges, and cut a petal pattern into one of the edges.

Step 3: Layer your fabrics

I used the strip as it was when I wanted a raw edge, and folded the strip when I wanted a finished strip. Then layered the pieces one on top of the other, marking where I wanted to run the thread through, close to the bottom edge.

Step 4: Add your running stitch
Using a needle and thread, knot the end of your thread and sew a running stitch through your layers of fabric. Pull the thread tight to create the gathers every once in a while. This is how I eyeballed the length of the strips - when the piece got to about the right size I just cut the length off there.

Step 5: Decide how you want it to look when finished
In 2 of my pieces I stitched the two raw ends together at the back once it was fully gathered. For the gray twill piece I twisted it so that it overlapped, making it a double-decker flower. Once I liked the way it was twisted I ran a few stitches through the piece front to back to secure the two ends in place. And to pull the center in tight I ran several stitches through the backside from side to side.

Step 6: Embellish!
Since the gray twill flower was more formal looking, I went with three hematite beads sewn into the middle. It looks pretty organic to me, and they were just big enough to "pretty-up" the raw edges in the middle. For the orange and denim I added a piece of orange grosgrain ribbon and a gold flower button. (Very cute!) The dark fringed denim piece still needs something for the middle, but I like how the fringed edges turned out. Of course this idea can also be used with softer colors or fabrics for a much more feminine look, so work them out to your hearts content in whatever fits your personality best!

Step 7: Decide how to use them!
Here are some ideas I came up with: attach to a strip of fabric and tie on a nice wrist corsage; attach them to your mary janes; attach to a blouse, scarf or purse; glue or pin several to a foam circle for a decorative wreath; place each one in a small dish and make an arrangement for your table; attach to a bobby pin to beautify a pony tail; or attach to a clip or headband.

Have another great idea for how to use your fabric floral embellishments? Post a comment here to share!

Happy crafting! Amy

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