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School’s In Session

04/15/2007

Inside the Library, Looking Out
Inside the Library, Looking Out

And alas, I have been doing far more studying than crafting. In honor of all the learning, however, I decided to throw a little tutorial together this weekend, once again teaching every person on the whole world wide internets how to make my stuff three seconds before I try to sell it to them. I’m going to show you how to make these:

Fabric Flower in Blue
Fabric Flower in Blue

And then I’m going to go over and list the ones I’ve made on Etsy. All businesspeople bow before my infinite crafty-business wisdom (or serious lack thereof).

I suppose these could technically be called kanzashi, but I hesitate to do so for the same reason I hesitate to call a paint-by-number Velvet Elvis fine art- my techniques are nowhere near as refined as the true artisans. Ergo, folded fabric flowers. It works, right?

Hold on to your scroll wheel; this is going to be a long one. In fact, it’s such a long one that I’m actually going to cut it, as to not totally overload you all with the massive amounts of pictures. This is a rare courtesy, coming from me. This tutorial is written in classic Tala style; that is to say, with lots of unnecessary rambling and pictures and a whole hell of a lot of imaginary words. You have been warned.

Supplies
Supplies

Gather unto ye some swanky fabric, a ruler, scissors, needles, thread, shank buttons or other center-bits, glue (not pictured- I use E6000), and whatever pinback or hairclip you want to stick your flower onto.

In the spirit of random and ramble-y I’m going to take this opportunity to show off my needle book, because I love my needle book:

Yes, I do stick skulls on everything.
Yes, I do stick skulls on everything.

Ooo. Ahhh.

That's a Sexy Needle Book
That’s a Sexy Needle Book

Alrighty, got that out of my system. Back to the tutorial-izing!

Getting down and dirty with the scissors.
Getting down and dirty with the scissors.

Cut out a bunch of squares. What size squares depends on what size flower you want- your flower will probably end up around the size of the original square. This one is 3.5 inches to a side.

Does it look like a flower yet?
Does it look like a flower yet?

You can use as many or as few squares as you want- you just might want to cut them neater than I did here. What can I say- it’s for a tutorial.

Note the numbering.
Note the numbering.

And now the fun part: folding the fabric into petals. Start with a single square, wrong side up. See how the points are numbered in the above picture?

Fold 1
Fold 1

Fold point 1 down to point 3.

Fold 2
Fold 2

Now fold point 2 down to 3.

Fold 3 and note the numbering again.
Fold 3 and note the numbering again.

And point 4, again to 3. Notice I’ve renumbered the proto-petal. Good? Okay. Fold point two back (for the origami-1337 among us, note this is a mountain fold and not not a valley) to point 4. More simply put, squish the square into a triangle.

Squish!
Squish!

Now that was a hard picture to take- I need a third hand for tutorial-photography. Also, please to be ignoring the cat fur. Thank you.

Okay! This is what you should have:

Does it look like a petal yet?
Does it look like a petal yet?

It’s more of a triangle than a petal, so flip it over, open up the mountain fold you just made, and tuck points 2 and 4 in to the center line.

Fold 6
Fold 6

You can do this inside the mountain fold, as shown, and get rounded petals.

Fold 7
Fold 7

Or outside, and get pointier petals (this option is not shown in this tutorial, though you can see what said pointy petals look like on the red-and-white finished flower at the bottom of all my rambling).

And pinch.
And pinch.

There we go! That’s more like a petal. Pinch your piece where all the layers of folded fabric overlap (there should be four). Changing where this overlap is can durastically change the look of you petal, a la:

Creative pinching
Creative pinching

Now pull out your needle and a long length of thread. There’s no need to tie a knot at the end of said thread- just leave a very long tail to use later.

Getting down and dirty with a needle and thread
Getting down and dirty with a needle and thread

Stick the needle through the petal, being very careful (and this is important) to catch all four layers of fabric.

Voila, a petal! Repeat this with your whole stack of fabric squares.

And repeat!
And repeat!

The more, the floofier, right?

Repeat some more.
Repeat some more.

This is the part where we turn our petals into flowers by pulling the ends of our thread together.

Messy
Messy

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of extra bulk left over from all the folding. Because of those pointy raw edges, we do not yet have folded fabric flowers. We have folded fabric tee-pees.

The Return of the Scissors
The Return of the Scissors

Solution? Bust out the scissors again, and cut all those pesky points off a little bit below the thread.

Much better
Much better

Tis painful to snip off all that hard folding work, but once you get though it your flower will begin to bloom. In fabric. Or something.

Okay, now I see it.
Okay, now I see it.

So you’ve got a bunch of petals, and two long tails of thread, right? Riiight?

Knot!
Knot!

Tie the tails together and pull ’em tight. Then take a few moments to rearrange your petals on the thread until everything looks neat and shiny.

And suddenly it's flower-like
And suddenly it’s flower-like

At this point, I like to use the long thread tails to reinforce my flower.

Reinforcing the bottom
Reinforcing the bottom

I take one and go all the way around the flower, near the bottom center, petal by petal.

And the top
And the top

And do the same with the other, around the top center. Then I pull both nice and tight and tie another knot. Knots are your friend.

Just need a button and it's done.
Just need a button and it’s done.

At this point it gets really easy (or really hard, depending on what you decide to do, but that’s beyond the scope of this tutorial). Figure out what you want to stick in the middle of your flower to cover up all the edges -I like big round shank buttons- and glue it on top of the flower. Glue the bottom of said flower to whatever pin back or hair clip you gathered unto yourself up in the “Supplies” step. Twenty-seven pictures and a lot of typing later, you’re done!

* * * *

Kanzashi- Fabric in Bloom
Fabric in Bloom

See the red one? See the white petals on the red one (click on the picture to look closer)? That’s the whole “pointy” deal I was referring to back when we were working on petal-folding.

And of course, courtesy of my sudden yen to write a tutorial, the final product:

The Latest
The Latest

Well lovelies, it’s been fun, but my textbooks are calling. Au revoir!

Working hard?
Working hard?

...Or hardly working.
…Or hardly working.

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