Creating artificial flower displays at home allows sewing enthusiasts to use up leftover scraps of fabric by creating homemade centrepieces. Fabric flowers are easy to create from strips of fabric using a sewing machine and a gathering technique. Layer different fabrics, colours and patterns on top of one another to create unique flower combinations. These simple flowers require only rudimentary sewing skills, making this project an ideal way to teach children to use a sewing machine.
Cut a strip of fabric about 7.5 cm (3 inches) wide. Cut the fabric any length you wish, but measure the length as a guideline for future layers. Using pinking shears, cut a series of "U" shapes along one edge of the fabric strip to create a scalloped edge.
Thread the sewing machine with thread in a coordinating colour. Place the needle 6 mm (1/4 inch) inside of the straight edge. Sew a straight stitch across the fabric. At the edge, do not backtrack. Gently pull the strip off the sewing machine. Leaving 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inch) tails on both sides, and cut the thread. Repeat with a second straight stitch about 6 mm (1/4 inch) inside of the first stitched line.
Gently pull on the tails of the thread away from one another. The fabric will begin to gather on the tread, forming petal-like ruffles. Bring the two ends together to form a circle. Tie a tight knot and trim off any excess.
Repeat the first three steps using a piece of fabric 5 cm (2 inches) wide and 10 cm (4 inches) shorter than the initial piece. Create the third layer of the flower by repeating steps 1, 2 and 3 using a 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide piece of fabric about 5 cm (2 inches) shorter than the second piece.
Layer the three pieces of the flower on top of one another largest to smallest. Place the flower layers on the sewing machine and stitch a few small, straight stitches in the centre of the flowers to hold the layers together. Repeat all steps until the desired amount of flowers are created.
Creating a centrepiece
Take one flower blossom and turn it over. Cut a length of floral wire about 5 cm (2 inches) wider than the flower. Centre it on the back of the flower and secure with a few dots of hot glue.
Take a 6 mm (1/4 inch) dowel and dab a bit of hot glue on the tip of the dowel. Press it against the centre of flower and wire backing. Twist the floral wire around the dowel to secure the flower to the "stem." Repeat step 1 until all of the flowers have stems.
Place a styrofoam ball into a terracotta pot or an opaque vase. If the ball is too large, shave down the sides using a pair of scissors.
Sink the ends of the dowels into the styrofoam ball until only the bloom shows above the pot. Continue to add flowers to create a full arrangement.
Wrap a piece of decorative ribbon around the centre of the pot. Tie a bow. Apply tiny dabs to the back of the ribbon and press against the pot to secure.
Things you need
- Fabric scraps
- Fabric shears
- Pinking shears
- Sewing machine
- Coordinating thread
- Floral wire
- 6 mm (1/4 inch) dowels
- Hot glue gun
- Styrofoam balls
- Terracotta pots or vases
- Decorative ribbon