Friday, August 19, 2011

Shabby Chic Fabric Flower

Lovely Daughter #1 was invited to a wedding this weekend. Her posse decided to go all wearing shades of yellow. Only, LD#1 doesn't own a yellow dress, much less a yellow accessory. So a friend loaned her a dress:

And she still needed an accessory to complete the outfit. Enter my Shabby Chic Fabric Flower craft. The look of this is slightly Bohemian--like you might find in Anthropologie. So don't worry about being perfect. This flower sports rough edges and slight imperfections as part of its charm.

First, grab yourself some leftover bits of fabric with a bit of stiffness to them. Cottons are perfect for the job. I didn't have any yellow fabric leftovers, so I sprang for these three Fat Quarters from my local yardage shop. They cost $1.99 each (and I used about 10 cents' worth of each pattern):

If you don't have any of this type of barrette, grab a card of them from your local grocery or drug store. Or just fish around in your bathroom and pull out one:

This craft is so easy, you don't even need to clear much space for it. I did the whole thing in front of the keyboard of my laptop, without cleaning up my desk:

Using a pencil on the wrong side, lightly trace three or four circles on each of the fabrics you've chosen. How big of a circle? Depends on how big across you want the finished flower to be. Just eyeball it.

Like this. Cut out along the penciled lines:

Your circles don't even have to be too exact. This craft is quite forgiving.

Next, pick out five or seven cute, mismatched buttons from your button stash. (You do have a button stash, don't you? If not, I'll lend you some of mine. They reproduce in the dark, I do believe.)

Why five or seven? Because an uneven number is going to look more pleasing. Odd numbers are generally more interesting to the eye when you are clustering something, whether it's flowers in a vase or buttons on a fabric flower. (Once you get up in the double digits, this matters less. There's not much difference between 24 roses and 25 roses in a big ol' vase.)

Here's my cut-out circles and my semifinalists in the Button Beauty Contest (below). Add a needle and thread in a matching color, and you're almost done:

Fold a few circles in quarters, right sides showing, and hold them in a rough circle with their points just barely overlapping:

Sew them together with a few small stitches, like this:

Keep adding folded quarters, overlapping them slightly, and stitching down each newcomer to the ones underneath. I find if I stitch more than 9 or 10 circles, it helps to use a thimble to push the needle through all those layers.

As you add folded circles, you'll see the flower shape emerging. Here's a side view:

And a front view.

When you've stitched together all the "petals" you want, thread the biggest bead or button on your needle and stitch it down in the center of the flower:

Add smaller buttons or beads around it, clustering them tightly around the center:

Flip the flower over and sew a hair barrette to the back side:

And there you have it! A custom fabric flower, made for almost nothing, using practically no sewing skills at all. The barrette can clip on to the edge of clothing, if you prefer:

Or you can sew a pin, instead of a barrette, to the back and then pin it right on a lapel or sash. LD#2 liked this craft so much, I made this one for her:

Lots of dash for very little cash.

So, go raid your fabric scraps and button box, and get craftin'.

You could be sporting a new little flower--or three--before bedtime.

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