Monday, 29 April 2013

Jackie's 3 dimensional fabric flowers

April 29, 2013

Help!  The Bloggosphere ate my post!  I wrote a lovely post this morning and it disappeared! we go again.
Monday Matters – because Spring arrived on the weekend and so I just had to work outside!  I was thrilled that I had 4 crocuses blooming, but by now I’m up to about 16.  How wonderful to go out to the brown garden and see orangey- yellow crocuses with a few purple ones spaced around.  That means that I no longer have to make fabric daffodils and crocuses.  The crocuses are up and the daffodils are only a couple of weeks away.
So that's why I'm at 'Monday Matters' instead of 'Sew Done Saturday'!
Back to my project of making 3D flowers for my garden quilt.  Using the method Jackie taught in her tutorial, I made the flowers you can see here.  

 She made hers for a lovely bouquet in a vase.  Since mine are going on a bed quilt, I made buttonholes in them so that they can come off when the quilt is laundered. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Fabric crocus

April 23, 2013
I have always respected bloggers and was amazed at their generosity in sharing what they do with strangers!  So now I'm trying to keep one and 'consistently blogging' is a real challenge.  I've been making a spring wallhanging and really wanted to make some spring flowers for it - specifically daffodils and crocuses (croci?) because that's what we're missing in my neck of the woods!  See where my daffodils and crocuses are sleeping?
So...following ideas I have seen on other blogs, I began trying to do this piece last 'Whip it up Wednesday'.  I found a great 3D daffodil developed by Staci  Her directions were excellent and I made a great daffodil (except that I cut my squares out the wrong size - but Staci can only do so much, right?  She can't ensure that I read properly!)  You'll see mine on the wallhanging later. But I couldn't finish it on Wednesday, because the only directions for a crocus on the Internet were for a crocheted one.

 After looking at photos of a crocus, I figured that I needed 3 petals on the outside of the flower, 3 on the inside and a stamen or 2 right in the middle.
You can see on the left my design (about 3 1/2" high) with a narrow section in the middle.  I actually cut out all 6 layers at once, after pairing my pieces right sides together.  That way it was easier to sew around the edge of each pair (the light purples ones).  Then I pinked the edges (you could also clip the curves) and cut them in half (the yellow ones) and turned them right side out (the dark purple ones).
Next I ran a gathering stitch near the raw edge of 3 of the units, gathered them and knotted them together like you can see below with one yellow section ready.  It was 'fiddly' and I realized that I needed some stamens for the middle.

I had read Pauline Ineson's article in the American Quilter 2013, so I returned to that for her explanation about how to make stamens.
I won't bore you with the details because you can read it for yourself or check her website and buy her book at but very briefly:
  • take 28 inches of 6-strand embroidery thread, fold it in half and tie a knot
  • rest the knot under a bobbin on the bobbin-winding 'thingee'
  • in the image to the right, I'm holding the thread tightly while running the machine slowly
  • then I carefully lifted up the bobbin and held the two ends and the middle and watched the threads wind themselves together
  • with a knot at both ends, I could fold it in half and put 2 stamens in the middle of each of my crocuses

Going back to the petals, I put the stamens inside the first set of petals, then, after gathering the second set of petals and put them outside the first set.  A few stitches at the bottom held all the sections together.
My last problem was how to show the crocus tapering at the bottom.  I used the paper half circle to the left and cut it out so the straight edge was on the fold of the fabric.  I sewed around the curve then cut a slit on the back side and turned it right side out. 
I used a bamboo stick to help roll it on the bottom of the crocus and then sewed a few stitches to hold it on.  I'm quite sure that the bottom section could be improved, but at least I've contributed a 3-d flower to the 'blogosphere'.  Thanks to Staci I didn't have to figure out how to do a daffodil!  Pauline Ineson, in her article, has another method to make daffodils.
I mentioned that I started this on 'Whip it Up Wednesday'.  Then I aimed for 'Tutorial Thursday', then 'Finish it Friday'.   I was sure I could finish on 'Sew Done Saturday', but after 'Sew thankful Sunday'  passed I had to go to a quilting bee on Monday.  So here I am on my 'Tutorial Tuesday'  - something to aim for consistently, I guess.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Flowers, flowers and flowers

April 11, 2013
OK, now the quilt is done and I'm working on flowers.  As I'm driving home from Florida and looking at all the spring bloom, that seems appropriate!  I got some fabric ready so that I could work on them when I'm not driving.
 The first kind of flower I prepared for is just circles of fabric, sewn right sides together then cut in half.  You need 6 circles the same size to make 3 sewn pieces.  I only make a 5 petal flower so I have an extra half circle left over (maybe for a multi-coloured flower!). 
And, as you can see from the photo, I decided to try sewing a length of ricrac into one set.
Once you cut them in half, use a heavy thread to make a running stitch along the raw edge of the half-circle.  When you reach the edge, keep adding the next half circle until you have 5 of them on a string.  Pull up until the 'petal' sit nicely together then make a couple of stitches to hold the flower together.

 Now, as to size....this is easy - if you want a flower that is 6 inches across, then make your circles 6 inches wide.  Then perhaps to make another layer of smaller petals, use circles 3 inches across (or 4).  You can keep layering them, or stop at any point and add a yoyo or a lovely button.

I'm going to sew it to a backing circle of felt to hide the raw edges.

Then, of course, there's the issue of adding them to a quilt that will be washed and washed!  I bought some pink velcro tape and am planning to try that on the back of some of the flowers.  What do you think of that idea?

I'm also thinking of sewing in a buttonhole in the centre of some of flowers and fastening them with a large button so that the flowers may be removed before the quilt is washed.

I'll let you know which system works!  But it will take a while before I know for sure.

Here are the components for my other flower.  I had long strips of flower fabric left over from my borders (i.e. making lemonade out of lemons).  I sewed 2 strips together with a strip of ric rac then press it.  My strips were about 44 inches long.  I used a couple of small strips of the fabric as well for the centres of my ricracruchedroses - how's that for the name of a flower?
 So, if you haven't ruched before, I folded the 7 inch strip in half and then stitched a long running stitch at 45° angles from one end to the other.  The trick is that when you get to the edge, make sure you wrap the thread over the edge and then make the next angle on the other side.
 Then, pull on the thread and you'll make a lovely ruched piece of fabric.  My photos were blurred, but what I did was sew it together at the bottom so that it made a 'flower bud' for the centre of the flower.
Next I ran a running stitch along the raw edge of the strip of ricrac fabric and pulled it as much as you can see on the left.

Place your little ruched (pronounced 'rooshed') bud at one end then start arranging the rest of the ruffled ric rac around it and keep making small stitches at the back to hold it all together.
Voila - a ricracruchedrose!