October 1, 2009

Floral Alternatives: My first attempt!

On my way home from work last night I was thinking about all of the alternative floral options about which I've recently blogged, and I realized that I had the materials in my house to make most of them.  Or, at least make a mock-up of most of them!

My first attempt at our prospective DIY flowers was a slight variation of these:


If you follow the "source" link, you'll find a tutorial.  However, being the stubborn girl that I am, I attempted to make them without reading it.  Yeah, I'm that girl... the one who's tried to assemble every piece of Ikea furniture she's ever owned without reading the instructions.  Of course this was no exception!

For those of you who aren't that girl, this is what I did:

Step 1:

Gather all of your materials.  I used fabrics, pinking shears, buttons, floral wire (mine was from an old Martha Stewart crepe paper flower kit), and thread.  Lay everything out neatly and take a picture to include in your blog  : )  Not shown: sewing machine, needle (to hand stitch), and floral tape.

Step 2:

Cut a long strip of fabric.  I didn't measure, but I'd say it was about three feet by two inches.  Unlike my inspiration photo, I decided not to fold the fabric in half; I made it single-ply instead.  In hindsight, I think doubling it would give the flower more volume and make the edges cleaner.

Step 3:

This step is unnecessary, but I decided to sew a decorative zig-zag stitch along what will be the outer edge of the "petal."

Step 4:
After I sewed the zig-zag, I flipped the strip of fabric around and sewed a plain-Jane straight-stitch (I have no idea what these stitches are actually called) set at the longest stitch-length setting.  Make sure you leave long "thread tails" on each side.

Step 5:

Separate your "tails."  While holding on to one thread, gently push the fabric toward the center, bunching it up into small ruffles.

Step 6:

When you're finished bunching, it should look like a scrunchie that you wore when you were little : )  I tied the thread tails together to secure the, um, scrunchiness.

Step 7:

This is where I got out the needle and thread and started to form the flower shape.  You basically curl the fabric in on itself and tack it down with a stitch or two.  Actually, it was really more like 100.  I got tired of making stitches...

Step 8:

...so I cheated.  Once everything was generally in place, I sewed a small square to make sure everything was good and secure.

Step 9:

Turn it over and admire your flower!  Please ignore how messy the center looks...

Step 10:

I sewed a button to the center of the flower to hide all of my messy stitches.  And to make it cute.  I mean, buttons make everything cuter, right?  My stitches were so messy that I should have used a larger button!

Step 11:

These next few steps are optional.  I only made leaves because I wanted to see if I'd be able to recreate this.  So I doubled up some fabric and free-cut some leaf shapes.

Step 12:

I sewed them together with a teeny straight-stitch, and pinned them to a small piece of floral wire.

Step 13:

After setting my machine to a zig-zag stitch, I tested out the stitch length and width on a piece of scrap fabric.  When everything was set correctly, I made sure the wire was centered between the needle's entry points and started sewing.  The floral wire was a little bit sticky because it was pre-covered in floral tape; it stuck as I was sewing and made the stitches gap.  If you make sure to push it through as you're sewing, your stitches should be more even.

Step 14:

I repeated step 13 for the other leaf and attached them both to the stem with floral tape.  The loop on top is what I'll use to secure the stem to the flower.

Step 15:

 Pin the loop down and sew it on with a needle and thread.  Make sure it's sewn down tightly on all sides!

Step 16:

Turn it over, put it in a small vase and admire your pretty fabric flower!

All in all, I think it came out alright.  There are a few changes I'll make next time, though.  I'll fold the strip of fabric in half first; I like the cleaner edges of my inspiration photo better than my unfinished edges.  I'll definitely make sure my stitches are neater, and I think I'll make the strip narrower... the flower was a little bit too big.

What do you think?  Would you have done anything differently?  I'm still a sewing-machine-novice, so I'd appreciate any tips!

Have you tried to recreate any inspiration projects while forgoing the tutorials?  How did they turn out?

1 comment:

  1. Jenna, I LOVE your blog! I seriouly think we have the same exact vision! I want to hire you to help me with my wedding some day! Fabric flowers? YES! Buttons? YES! And I love the flags down the aisle... sigh... :)
    lisa monteiro