How to make Fabric Flowers
The Crafty Lass does… Fabric Flowers!
Pencil or Tailors Chalk
(Optional) Pompoms or felt balls, buttons
(Optional) Pinking Shears
(Optional) Templates – A jam jar, cup, glass, protractor or similar
(Optional Essential) Tea & Biscuits
Perhaps you’d like to make your own fabric flower wedding buttonholes, a floral corsage to jazz up a special outfit, or add them to a clip for a new hair accessory! Fabric flowers could also be made larger for table centrepieces, sewn on to cushions and other home decor, or perhaps even added to special presents as part of the gift wrapping!
How you use them is up to you…
There seems to be a lot of steps and explanation below, but they are in fact very simple to make – when you know how…! Enjoy!
Step 1: Fabrics!
Select your fabric - how much you need really depends on how big and how many flowers you want to make. To make one of the example ones pictured, would take approximately one quarter of a fat quarter. If looking to incorporate printed fabrics, it is best to choose ones that contain smaller designs – as you would be unable to see larger prints - unless you just like the colours of course! Small spots, stripes or plains would work well. The fabric should also ideally be fairly thin to both replicate natural delicate petals, but also for ease of folding and sewing. It is also best to choose a fabric that does not heavily fray - cotton and poly cotton would be a good choice.
Step 2: Templates!
What shapes, and how many you need to draw (and then cut out) will greatly depend on what you would like your finished flower to look like:
Circular plain ‘carnation style’ flower: You will need 12 ‘larger’ outer circles and 6 ‘smaller’ (around 80% of the larger size) inner circles. Or, perhaps swap the 6 ‘smaller’ inner circles for perhaps a button or pompom centre.
I have used some metal circular templates in the example photo, but you could use a jam jar, cup or glass as a guide, or a protractor to draw circles.
‘Wavy’ edged flower: Free hand draw 12 ‘larger’ wavy edged circular shapes and 6 ‘smaller’ (around 80% of the larger size) inner circular shapes. Or, again - perhaps swap the 6 smaller ‘inner’ circular shapes for a button or pompom centre.
Longer petal ‘daisy style’ flower: Free hand draw ‘outline daisy shapes’ (see photos for example) – you will need 12 of these and then a button or pompom centre.
Why not experiment with the different shapes and styles – and you could even combine them together! As a general rule – you will just always need 12 ‘larger’ shapes and then either 6 ‘smaller’ shapes, or adding in either a pompom or button for the flower centre. I have specified that the ‘smaller’ shapes should be around 80% of the larger size – but play around with this for a different look or feel for whatever flower you’d like to make.
And, why not mix up the colours – you could even do different fabrics or patterns for each petal!
Step 3: Drawing!
Decide the final look and then either draw around your chosen templates, or freehand draw your shapes lightly using a pencil, or tailors chalk as a guideline. The way each flower petals get folded up you are unlikely to see any small, light pencil marks on the finished flowers if you don’t cut perfectly within the lines, so don’t worry!
Step 4: Cutting!
Once you have decided what you want make, and drawn out the shapes – you will need to cut these out. I find if you fold the fabric over, you can cut 2-3 layers together at the same time. The ‘daisy style’ petals are slightly more complex with multi layers of fabric but it can be done if you take your time! You could also use pinking shears instead of scissors if preferred for a ‘zig-zag’ edge finish.
Do not worry about every one being perfect/uniform – in real life nature isn't, so neither should these be!
Step 5: Folding!
Select a small offcut of fabric, we will use this as our flower base. Don’t worry if currently larger than the flower might be – we can trim it back afterwards.
To make each petal more ‘3D’ we will need to fold each petal and sew on to this base. Select one of your ‘larger’ shapes and fold in half. Then fold again, and back on itself into ‘thirds’. You will then have what resembles a triangle and the petals will look like an elongated ‘S’ with six layers of fabric. This sounds quite complicated on paper, but this is easier than it sounds, I promise! Use the photos for guidance and give it a try!
Step 6: Sewing – Stitching ‘Outer Petals’!
Thread your needle – ideally with a similar colour to your fabric, and double the thread back on itself and knot - which means you’ll be sewing with two strands of thread. This is doubly secure - and your needle won’t come off whilst sewing!
Stitch the very corner of your triangular ‘petal’ somewhere in the middle of the base – two small stitches per petal is best, and as close to the bottom point of your petal triangle as you can to allow as much ‘3D’ effect as possible. Repeat the folding and sewing of your outer petals 5 more times – putting each one next to one another around to create your first ‘layer’. The easiest way to describe this is the petals will look like 6 triangular slices of cake all round in a circle!
Step 7: Sewing – Second Layer ‘Outer Petals’!
You will repeat the process here as per Step 6 – except you will layer the next lot of petals overlapping across where the previous layer ones meet – so there are no gaps. Repeat this so you have all 12 outer petals sewn on, with 6 in each of the two layers.
Step 8: Sewing – Button, Pompom or ‘Inner Petals’!
Depending on your chosen style of flower will depend what you need to sew here.
Button: Push back the petals and choose a button that covers the stitches! Sew on to secure.
Pompom or Felt Ball: Sew into the middle of your petals. To get a more 3D effect with the petals up around the pompom/felt ball turn your flower over, squeeze your petals up around the ball and put a few stitches through to secure.
‘Inner Petals’: If you have chosen to have a ‘carnation style’ flower with the ruffled petals inner you should have 6 ‘smaller’ shapes left. Sew these on in the same way as Steps 6 and 7 – but use one stitch per petal base and pull tight – this allows them to pulled ‘upright’ and gives a fuller centre to the flower. This final bit is the fiddliest – but worth it for the final finish!
Step 9: Trim!
Now you have made your flower – make sure the base piece of fabric is smaller than the petals so this is hidden and trim if required. Trim any petals that may need it, but remember it doesn’t need to look ‘perfect’!
Step 10: Et Voila! One Flower!
Now decide how you want to use your flower! These can either be sewn on to cushions or other homeware, or even clothing. Sew on using the base part of the flower - and ideally also sew some of the back petals down with small stitches to secure and hide any leftover base fabric. Or they could be hot glue gunned on to brooch backs, headbands, table runners for weddings, or add ribbons and additional décor to be used as wedding buttonholes! So much choice!
I would love to hear how you’ve used your flowers.
If you’d like to come along to a craft workshop to learn how to make these lovely flowers in person and for more information about The Crafty Lass and how to book, visit:
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Made by Paula Milner for The Craft Cotton Company 2018