fabric flower tutorial / by jen geigley

So, you may have noticed the flowers this spring. They're popping up all over the place. Fabric flowers on headbands and hair clips and ribbon belts and dresses ... and the t-shirts. Oh, the beautiful $45 t-shirts. You know the ones. Sigh.
I'm not even usually a flowery type of girl, but even I have been seduced by the fabric flowers this season. So I started making some.
Here's a couple of little tutorials if you'd like to do the same. (It's really easy.)
First, find some fabric scraps or swatches and cut out several circles. (Mine are about 2" in diameter, but you can make them whatever size you want.) Then cut out some flowery shapes with petals – make some of them smaller, and some a little bit larger. I free-handed mine; they really don't need to be perfect.
A note on fabric: I used all kinds of scraps that I already had in my fabric stash. Some fabrics will fray a bit on the edges, but that's okay. I used cotton, satin, organza, weird chiffon-y stuff and even some cotton jersey, which worked great. This could be the perfect way to re-purpose some old t-shirts that you don't know what else to do with.
Stack up your cut-outs, and you're ready to get started. (I was lucky enough to have a little help with this part.)

Fabric Flower Tutorial No. 1
Grab your stack of flowery cut-outs with petals. To make the flower's center, start by pinching one of your smaller flower shapes as shown – so it's in fourths.
Hold it in place, and grab your needle and thread. (I used contrasting thread here in hopes that you could see what I was doing a little bit better, but you'll want to choose thread that matches your flower.)
Make a few stitches in the very bottom of the pinched section, making sure to catch all of the folds that you pinched so it will stay gathered. Knot at the back.
Add another similar sized flower cut-out behind it, and again, pinch the whole thing to gather it a bit. Sew through the back of the center of this flower at the base, where you pinched it. Stitch through all of the layers and continue to make folds/gathers to give it dimension.
The back side will look something like this. You don't need tons of stitches to make this work; a few will do.
Then add another larger flower layer to the back, and another until you've achieved the size and shape you're going for.
Ta-da! Just eyeball it as you go. You really can't mess it up.
Here's another example of this type of flower, with more layers and in a lighter weight fabric.

Flower Tutorial No. 2
The second type flower will be made from the circles that you cut. Start by folding one of your circles in half, and then fold it in half again. (As shown.)
Stitch through the layers at the center point of your folds.
Again, just a couple of secure stitches will do the job.
Then, fold several more of these little ruffles, stitch and knot their center points, and then line them all up on your needle.
Squish them all together like this, and stitch through them all at once. I usually use around six to eight circles but you can use as many or as few as you want.
Tie a knot at the back and rearrange the individual ruffles/sections to make a round flowery shape. Make several stitches on the back to keep all of the layers in place. And you're done! Almost.
Now you can sew your blooms directly onto your t-shirt or bag or dress with your needle and thread. Or, if you're like me and are a little bit worried that your flowers may not survive the wash, you can sew pin-backs on them. You can purchase a whole bag of bar pin-backs for under $3 – just be sure to get the kind with the holes in them so you can sew them on. Cut a little piece of felt to use as backing and stitch it to your flower with embroidery thread. Now you can rearrange your flowers in different configurations and add them to anything you want. (Exciting!) This is the fun part ...
A few little 'corsages' for a bunch of Lo's summer tops. (I went a little crazy in her closet.)
And then I got excited about my closet.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. Go forth and make pretty flowers.