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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fabric Flowers

Last year for spring I made a bouquet of fabric flowers for my mantelpiece, out of old-fashioned calicoes in soft colors. As much as I liked the fabric, however (I love calicoes), I wasn't pleased with the results -- they just didn't fit with the quilt I have over the mantel, or the decor (such as it is) in the room. I ended up giving away most of the flowers, keeping a couple for myself:

This spring I decided to try again, using lots of bright colors. Unfortunately, summer classes, a change in Beadboy1's schedule, houseguests, and heatwave after heatwave all conspired to keep me from any major crafting until August. So the flowers are a bit out of season.

Origami Lily:
This pattern came from Denise Taylor's quilt in the Summer 2007 issue of A Needle Pulling Thread. Basically, I sandwiched fusible web between two squares of fabric, folded it, and stitched it in a few places to hold the shape. The web made it hard to sew through all the layers, so next time I will look for a lighter-weight web. Not sewing it wrong the first time will also help.

Fickle Flowers:
This is Diana Taylor's pattern from the March/April 2009 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. I sewed a very narrow tube from a strip of pieced fabric, turned it right-side-out, and inserted paper-covered floral wire, which allows me to bend the tube into any flower shape I want. By far the worst part of this process was turning out such a skinny tube, and it didn't help that instead of using a gadget designed for this sort of thing (because then I'd have to buy one), I used combinations of pins, plastic threaders, chopsticks, thread, and wooden skewers. I like the finished product, however.

Ruched Fabric Flowers:
This idea came from D'Arcy-Jean Milne's Fabric Leftovers (a book full of great ideas). I started with more tubes. Fortunately, these were wider than the previous ones, but my jury-rigging turners rather than just buying the proper tools led to one tube taking 15 minutes to turn and the other only 2. (Do I remember what I did with the one that was so much faster? Of course not.) I sewed a running stitch down the length in a zigzag pattern, pulled the thread gather (ruche) it, and formed flower shapes. The first one I did in a spiral and put a big button in the center. For the second, I used the ruching to form a circle instead, and added a yo-yo and a button.

Petal Flower:
This was also from Fabric Leftovers. I folded squares into triangles and ran a thread through the bottom (hypotenuse) of five to form a circle. For the outer row of petals I only folded the squares once, making larger triangles with unfinished edges. Yet another button completed it (I love buttons).

Felt Flower:
This was the easiest -- flower shapes cut free-hand out of felt and sewn together with a button (did I mention I like buttons? Ooh, I should make button flowers). The basic idea came from American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, which used fabric fused onto cardstock.

The bouquet so far:
I still have a few more types of flowers to make, but I have to get the appropriate supplies.

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