How to Make Fabric Flowers
A favorite craft that I do while watching television is creating flowers from lace and various scrap fabric pieces. I make fabric flowers for several reasons. I have 15 grandchildren, and 10 of them are girls. With girls come ponytails, bobby pins, and headbands. When they are little, it is so cute to see a little fabric flower in their hair. As the girls get older, I find that they will use those fabric flowers to pin onto their purses or jacket. They will even sew them onto their jeans or a shirt to dress up their outfit a bit.
You can make these fabric flowers to coordinate with any outfit. Ladies, you can even make them small and use them as a tie tac when you dress in your business suit. Or add a bit of flair by turning the fabric flower into a brooch. Don’t forget that you can sew them onto gloves or mittens to add a bit of whimsy.
These fabric flowers are extremely simple to make. You don’t have to know how to sew anything but a simple running stitch. No sewing machine is required. You can use any type of fabric you want, in any pattern or color. All you need is a needle, thread, and something to pop into the center for added bling. You can add leaves if you want or just use them as is. I generally use them as is.
You need a fabric that is soft like a cotton, linen, or polyester blend to make the fabric flowers. I have used lace, sheer nylon, and even tulle to make my fabric flowers, and they all turned out lovely. If the fabric is too thick, like tweed, it won’t ruffle properly. If you select a real thin fabric, you may need to use two layers.
I use a regular sewing needle and cotton thread. I try to match the thread to the color of the fabric. That way the stitching blends in very well with the fabric once the flower is done.
For the centers of the fabric flowers, I like to use jewelry findings, colorful beads, and even charms. You want something that will add a bit of bling and interest to the flowers.
If you make the fabric flowers to use as a brooch or hairpiece, you will need bobby pins, hair clips, or pin backs. I prefer to attach the flowers by sewing them to the pin or clip. Some people use hot glue. I don’t feel that it keeps the fabric flower secure. You can decide for yourself which way you want to attach them.
Making the Flowers
Cut a strip of fabric about 10-inches long. Thread your sewing needle with cotton thread in a coordinating color. I thread my needle and pull the ends together and tie a knot. The doubling up of the thread makes the fabric flowers more secure when they are done.
Starting at one end of the fabric, fold over the short end of the fabric about two millimeters and sew a single stitch through the fold to secure that end. Make a running stitch from one end of the fabric to the other, about 1/8-inch from the top of the fabric. (A running stitch is sometimes referred to as an up-and-down stitch. You run the needle back and forth from the front of the fabric to the back and then to the front again until you reach the end of the fabric.)
Once you reach the end of the fabric, put the two ends of the fabric together. Make sure the fabric ends match front to back and run the needle through the starting end that you folded over and then pull the thread tight. Your fabric should ruffle up and probably curl a bit.
Sew the two ends of the fabric together to hold the ruffles in place. This is probably the hardest part of making the fabric flowers. You have to make sure the thread stays taut while you sew the ends together because if the thread is slack, your ruffles will not be as full. It will also be more difficult to shape the flower.
Once you have the ruffle secure, you can decide on the center for your fabric flower. Like I stated earlier, I use beads, jewelry findings, and other things that catch my eye. Find the center of your flower and play around with what looks best. Sometimes I make several fabric flowers with the intent of using a specific color of bead or gem, only to discover that it isn’t a good match. I keep two boxes and several jars of various elements that I pull from to find that perfect center for my flower. There are no hard-set rules. Do what looks pleasing to your eye.
I attach the centers with a dab of hot glue. You can use any type of glue that will produce a strong bond between fabric and whatever you choose for your center. A school glue may not be strong enough to hold a rhinestone to the center for very long. For heavy elements, like glass beads, I like to use E-6000 adhesive.
Attaching a Backing
You can make the fabric flowers to use in your hair, as a pin, or a decorative element. If I make the flowers to use for hair clips, I sew the flower directly to the clip using a fine jewelry wire. I use the same type of wire to attach the fabric flower to a pin backing to use it as a brooch. When I need a flat back for the flower, I cut a piece of felt just a little smaller in diameter than the fabric flower. I use fabric glue to attach the felt to the flower. The flat back is good when I attach a row of flowers to a headband.
Once you make a few fabric flowers, I am sure you can find lots of uses for them.