Still... It has been INCREDIBLY fun to do this. And quite honestly, if there was any week I could use the influx of comments and blog love I've gotten with this contest, THIS would be the week. Being so spread thin... being so weary... it has been incredibly uplifting and re-energizing to hear from all of you. To even hear from longtime lurkers. I love lurkers! I'm a lurker myself on several blogs. :P
So... Anyway. Thanks for putting up with me.... being a bit late with this post. I might as well be honest--- it will take an act of God for me to get tomorrow's REVEAL post up at a timely hour... Please don't hate me!! I am a single mama all morning, then we have the moving truck and friends coming to help all afternoon, then my dear sis-in0-law flies into town for the shortest little visit, so we'll be spending much of the evening with her... and .... yeah. You see the challenge. I WILL post, though. Somehow.
Okay. On to the FLOWERS!
These have been incredibly fun to make... to look at the finished product and feel like I have a little of the spirit of Anthro in me... a little vintage mojo... and a LOT of femininity. LOVE these things!
Love them so much, I kinda couldn't stop making them:
Yeah. Seriously. That's CRAZY.
But CRAZY EASY, too. In fact, all you NON-sewing machinists out there, this is for YOU. I did 97% of these by hand.
Okay, first, the inspiration. I was inspired by the gorgeous headbands I'd been finding at Anthro, Target, Claire's Boutiques, and For Love 21... And I KNEW there had to be a way to make my own flowers. So I started searching Etsy for inspiration. And found Monkey and Squirrel, and her gorgeous stretchy headbands. (Like THIS and THIS). Reading her description, she talked about "hand singed" fabric, and I was intrigued. SINGED? Like BURNED? Of course, she didn't reveal her tricks, since she's a saleswoman, so I had to go visit my friend Google. (I am a GOOGLE PRO, by the way. So good at Googling. If you ever need me to Google for you, I will HAPPILY do it. I am the best.)
My Google quest led me to so many good, inspiring sites, like:
EcoKaren: Fabric Flower Tutorial
La-Sha: Fabric Flowers: Here's How!
MaximumRabbit Designs: I've Been Crafting!
It seemed easy enough, and I was ready to give it a try.
Synthetic fabrics like organza, taffeta, satin, dress lining, tulle, etc. (these burn the best...)
Beads/pearls/buttons/other (for the centers)
Felt (again, I WISH WISH WISH I had that GOOD felt, from here, but I had to use the cheapy Walmart felt)
Step One: Select and cut your fabric
I had SO much fun selecting fabric. Many of my flowers are monochromatic, only one color... but you can stack colors, patterns, fabric types, WHATEVER.... To get all kinds of looks. In the photo above, I'm going with a basic single-fabric flower.
I'm starting with squares here, which I will then "free hand" cut into circles. You can be more precise than this, if you want, drawing circle patterns then cutting around them. I tried it both ways, and this went faster for me. The key is to get lots of layers in descending sizes. The more layers, the more bulk to your flower.
Step Two: Singe the fabric
I am so sorry I don't have an image of this... but it really hard to wield burning fabric and a big camera at the same time! DANGEROUS!
But here is a list of things to help you get this done:
* Get a small dish of water.
(This is your safety water. You can dunk a flaming piece of fabric in here if it gets out of hand. I never had to use my water, but I would never NOT have some nearby.)
* Do not sew your pieces together first. You want to singe each individual circle first.
* Begin with one circle, and hold it at one edge. Start lowering the far edge towards the flames.
* The key here is to go slow at first, until you get a feel for where the heart starts to do it's magic.
* Surprisingly, you do NOT have to be as close to the fire as you'd think. the wave of heat does the trick at quite a distance.
* practice on a spare circle first, if you want. Every fabric "singes" differently. Some curl up more, some melt a bit, some actually tend to flame up (I didn't need the water, but waving the piece rapidly to put out the little flame was effective). BE SO CAREFUL!!!
* DON'T do this part of the craft in front of your kids. They'll think it is okay to do this sort of thing. When it really ISN'T the best thing. All you closet Pyros, rejoice!
Step Three: Once all your circles have been singed to your satisfaction, stack them and stitch a few hand stitches through the center to hold them together. These can be small little stitches.
Step Four: Choose a button, some beads, or any other idea for your center, and hand stitch or glue them to the center. If you are using glue, I recommend TACKY GLUE. LOVE it for fabrics.
Step Five: Prepare felt circles for the back.
The purpose of these is to hide the stitching and give a good solid foundation for your flower. You can then sew/glue on pins, bobby pins, barrettes, or alligator clips. I tried to use matching felt, and cut a circle that fit the back without overwhelming it.
Step Six: Attaching the felt posed some issues for me. I first tried hand-stitching:
This was the most charming, but also TERRIBLY time-consuming. If I was only making one flower, I'd do it this way. But because I was making a gazillion, I needed some other alternatives.
So I tried Tacky Glue:
At the time, this seemed to not be very effective... But ones that stuff dried, it was WONDERFUL. And didn't show through like it did when it was wet. LOVED this stuff.
Step Seven: But then I was left with a new problem... How to attach the alligator clips? I also tried hand-sewing these on. It worked OKAY, but it was tedious and I worried that the thread would eventually give out after too much wear and tear. So I then came up with this little idea:
Here is where that 3% of sewing machine time came in... I stitched on another piece of felt, THEN glued on the whole thing. The idea was that the clip/bobby pin could go through the felt pocket. It would be only a SEMI-permanent clip this way, and could be lost since it wasn't attached, but it definitely worked for clipping the flowers to the headbands or to a shirt lapel, etc.
(the green one is stitched on, the other two use the new system.)
And there ya have it. Handmade flowers. I bought some thin metal headbands on Ebay and covered them with ribbon, but these flowers can clip onto any covered headband you buy at Walmart/etc. Or you could use them on clothing. Or as a gift topper. You can clip them directly into your hair. Or sew them onto stretchy headbands like that one Etsy seller.
The key here is in the fabrics and the combos you choose... Because they are ridiculously easy to make, but your personality shines when you make it your own with color and texture and contrast.
So... go forth. release your inner Pyro. It's all in the name of gorgeous party-fabric flowers. You'll be so glad you did!
(And you non-machine girls can do this TOMORROW if you have the will. No bulky machine needed if you hand sew all the parts!)
Okay. Past midnight. GAA! Gotta go. bedtime.