Monday, 24 June 2013

Fabulous frugal flowers

If you've read my post on making a quilted cushion cover from old clothes or making a handbag out of hubby's old jackets you'll know that whilst I love to craft, I am loathe to spend endless amounts of money on fabric and buttons! Why not just reclaim fabric and buttons from the clothes that the kids grow out of so quickly before throwing them out?

There are so many pretty hair clips in the shops but alligator clips are the only ones that stay put in my little girl's hair because it is so fine. I bought some plain alligator clips from eBay and googled fabric flowers. I spotted 'Kanzashi flowers' and they are so adorable that I decided to have a go at making some. I am certainly no expert as this was my first foray into making such flowers, but they seem to be a type of modular fabric flower built from multiple identical petals.

There seem to be three main types:
  • petals made from square pieces of fabric - I was too lazy to make try these as they all seem to involve pins, spray starch and an iron.... Too much effort! 
  • petals made from circular pieces of fabric - I was too lazy to try these because cutting circles is far too much effort! 
  • petals made from small strips of ribbon - I may try these yet, but I don't happen to have any ribbon lying about so watch this space!

So here's my take on the Kazashi flower: petals made from octagonal pieces of fabric. Hang on, how can someone too lazy to cut circles cut octagons? Well, as it happens, I have a number of 2.5" fabric squares in my 'quilting spares' box.  A few simple folds and a snip and you can turn the squares into octagons =)

You will need:
  • 5 fabric squares per flower
  • 1 button per flower
  • scissors
  • thread
  • needle

Fold a corner to the opposite corner to form a triangle, ensuring that the right side of the fabric ends up facing outwards.

Fold the triangle twice more like so:

Hold the triangle with the long side on the vertical and the 'loose' ends facing upwards. Snip off the end at a right angle to the long side, to the half-way point of the diagonal:

Open out your piece of fabric and you will have a rather rough octagon. Repeat the snipping on all remaining squares.

Now that you've prepared all of your octagons, you can start sewing your flower together. I cut a length of thread roughly 60cm long, folded it in half then threaded the folded end into my needle to give myself a quadruple-thickness thread. I've used a contrast thread to bring out the dark pink flowers. The button will cover the thread anyway so don't worry that it shows up too much against the fabric.

Fold an octagon in half along one of the original fold lines, making sure the right side faces outwards. Work running stitch approximately 2mm away from the edge of the cut edges, making sure to sew through both layers of fabric.  It may take a bit of trial and error to get the correct length of stitches, but try to start by going in at the underside of the petal and emerging at the underside at the other end. When flattened out, it will like like this:

I work ruffling the petal as I go, but flattened the petal out in the above photo just for illustrative purposes.  In practice, your working petal will look like this:

Keep working more petals until you have five on your thread:

Loop back round to the first petal and add a few stitches to tighten everything up.  And a button to cover up the join.

I used 2.5" squares and ended up with 2" flowers - perfect for gluing on to alligator clips for decorating my little girl's hair =)

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