Yup. She’s giving us the whole step by step how to.
* Images courtesy of Lillian and Leonard
Kirsty: I’m thrilled to be back on the polka dot pages of Rock My Wedding to share with you my simple guide to making a DIY fabric flower. I am by no means a seamstress or crafty goddess, but when I couldn’t find a hair flower for my wedding that I liked and that would match the tricky colour of my dress, I decided to have a go at making one myself. It turned out to be incredibly simple and was one of my favourite parts of my outfit – I liked it so much that I even made matching flower sashes for each of my bridesmaids. And believe me – if I can do it, you definitely can.
Once you have mastered the basic technique, there’s no limit to what you can do with these: from a colourful corsage for the mother of the bride to a chic and unique buttonhole for the groom. You could even use several small brightly-coloured flowers to decorate your table plan, or give them as favours to your female guests. It’s a cheap and easy way to make a big impact, and nothing beats the feeling, when your hairdresser, seamstress or wedding guest admires your hair flower for the umpteenth time, of saying, “Oh, this? I made it myself…”
What you need:
Fabric. You can go creative and colourful, or stick with elegant and understated. Layering different fabrics will give you a really textured finish. Silky, slippery fabrics will sit flatter and tend to be a bit floppier, while stiffer fabrics like tulle will give more oomph and shape. I went with layers of silk and organza that I got on sale in a local fabric store. If you are having your dress altered, try asking your seamstress if you can keep the leftover scrap fabric.
Needle and thread. The thread should blend in with the colour of the fabric (but I’ve used hot pink so you can see what I’m doing!).
Sharp scissors. Fabric scissors are best, available from John Lewis.
Paper for your template.
A few pins.
Something to fix the flower to. A hairclip, a headband, ribbon to make a sash (grosgrain works well – don’t forget to hem the ends so they won’t fray). In this example, I’ve used a pin to make my flower into a brooch, which again are available from John Lewis or any haberdashery shop.
Something for the centre of the flower. For my flower I pulled apart a vintage earring I picked up on ebay for a bargainous £2.50, but you could use pearl beads, a vintage button, crystals – anything you fancy.
Make your template. You will need three different sizes of template to make one flower: small, medium and large. The final size of the flower will be a little bit smaller than the largest template, because the fabric will be scrunched up, so make your template a bit bigger than you need. Click here to download a template for my 14cm-diameter flower. Alternatively, if you’re feeling creative, have a go at drawing your own.
Once you are happy with the size and style of your template, draw or print it out (ordinary computer paper will work fine) and cut out one of each size.
Cut out your fabric layers. To cut out the layers, fold the fabric once or twice, depending on how thick it is, then pin the template to the folded fabric. This way you can cut out two or four layers at the same time (the cutting-out step is the most boring one, so any way to speed it up got the thumbs up from me!).
Once the paper template is pinned in place, carefully cut around the outline of the template. Don’t worry about following the lines exactly; after all, flowers aren’t perfectly uniform in real life, so a few wobbly edges will only add interest. Similarly, the fabric edges might fray a bit, but again this just gives it a bit of texture. Plus, if it’s too perfect, nobody will believe you made it yourself…
Depending on how puffy you want your flower, you will need 4-8 layers of each size. If you are using more than one type of fabric, make sure there is a mixture of fabrics at each size. Alternatively I reckon it would look fabulous to use a dark, densely-coloured fabric for the small layers at the centre of the flower, say a deep pink, and graduate out to a lighter shade, like a delicate blush shade, for the big outer layers. Let your imagination run wild!
Assemble your flower. Lay the fabric layers on top of each other starting with the largest on the bottom to the smallest on top. Stagger the layers as you go so that the petals are all nicely overlapping.
If you are using different fabrics, play around with the layers until you are happy with the order. Layering organza and tulle over silk adds depth and a bit of shimmer.
Try turning some layers over so they are “wrong” side up, to add even more variety – I did this with one or two of my silk layers, and the contrast between the shiny silk and the matt underside works really well.
Sew it up. Once you are happy with the placement of the layers, take your needle and thread and stitch through the centre point of the flower. Make a couple of stitches here to secure the layers together, then tie a knot and cut off the thread.
Now comes the tricky(ish) part. Fold your flower carefully in half across the middle. Starting about an inch or so in from the tips of the petals (depending on the size of your flower), sew along the fold using a really basic whip stitch (basically looping the thread over and over as you stitch along the fold. The picture really does say a thousand words here!). Don’t worry about stitching through all the layers – just catching the bottom few layers is enough to ruffle the flower up and give it shape.
Once you have sewn along this first fold, flatten the flower out and then fold it again at 90 degrees to the first fold. Sew along this fold in the same way as the first. The bottom of the flower should look like this:
And the top should look like this:
You can sew as neatly or as roughly as you like. Mine is (obviously) done quite roughly, my theory being that nobody will see the bottom of the flower so it really doesn’t matter! But you may have higher standards/better sewing skills than me (which wouldn’t be too hard). If you want a smooth, seamless finish on the back you could try gluing a circle of felt to the back of the flower.
Time to add the centre of your flower. The options are endless here, so how you attach it depends on what you choose! The trick is to find the centre point of the flower, where you placed the first stitch in Step 4, and use this to guide you when sewing on the button/beads/crystals/a bit of lace appliqué/whatever takes your fancy. This step is optional – if you prefer the puffy, peony-like flower without anything in the centre then by all means move straight along to Step 6.
Attach your, erm, attachment. Play around with your flower to see which way up it looks best and how you want it to fit into your hair/sash/whatever. Once you’re happy with it, turn it over and stitch on whatever attachement you choose – a hair clip, comb, brooch pin, sash, etc.
Adorn yourself with your new flower and prepare yourself for a deluge of compliments!
I don’t pretend to know anything about sewing or crafting (I think it’s quite clear from the pictures that I’m far from proficient at sewing!!) – this is just the method that worked for me, after a bit of trial and error. If you have any tips to improve the technique, or any ideas for colour combinations or ways to tweak the flower design to reflect your own unique style, I’d love to hear them in the comments. Oh and if any of you lovely brides out there decide to have a crack at making this for your own big day, I demand that you send me pictures immediately!
* Image courtesy of Lillian and Leonard
Huge thanks to Kirsty for making masses amounts of effort to share her D.I.Y skills with RMW today .
So then lovelies, are you planning on making W-day pretty this weekend?
Big Organza Love