Silk Flowers

Lately I’ve been wearing a number of silk flowers – some I bought from Forever 21, while others I picked up at Ardene.  However, some of them I’ve also made, and I thought that I would share one of the ones I made today.

Fairie Markets Icelandic Poppy

First off – the inspiration – I saw this version from an Etsy seller called the Faerie Market – and was very smitten with it’s simple elegance. That being said, it also looked very easy to replicate, with my own materials and style.  I think that I did a pretty good job of it, although there are still a few changes that I’d make when I do it again.

So… here’s my tutorial!

dupioni swatches

1. I started with a gorgeous shot silk dupioni fabric.  I picked some ‘fat quarters’ up at a sewing show, and although they were a bit expensive for what they were, I was just looking for a variety of fabric colours for a project that I still haven’t gotten to.  This dupioni is a nice heavy weight – often the dupioni that I find at east Indian fabric shops tends to be a looser weave, without the nice hand that this fabric has.  Dupioni is notable for the slubs in it – but still the great sheen that silk has.

Ironing the heat n bond

2. I cut out an oversized ‘bow tie’ shape from Heat n Bond Light – this is basically the same as the regular Heat N Bond, except it needs to be stitched, and isn’t as stiff.  I usually like this better than Wonder Under because one side is paper – so you can work one side at a time, rather than hoping you avoid bubbles when you bond two pieces together.   I cut out three different ‘bow tie’ shapes from the Heat N Bond -each slightly different. The Faerie Market uses two pieces by the looks of things, but perhaps because I made mine larger (?) I liked the fullness of using three.  Once the Heat N Bond was cut out, I fused it to one side of the silk, then cut it out. Using the Heat N Bond should also keep the silk from fraying too much.

Fused and trimmed

3. The next step is fusing the shape to another piece of silk (glue side down!) following the directions for the Heat n Bond. Then I just cut out that second piece of fabric, so I basically have a two-sided bow tie in silk, times three.  This photo just shows that both sides of the ‘bow tie’ are the same silk.  I suppose you could do a different colour on the other side – it might look interesting if for instance you did red on one side, and wine on the other perhaps?

Shot fabric

Wondering what “shot” fabric is?  It’s when the warp (lengthwise) threads are different from the weft threads.  In this case, the warp is sort of a royal purple (it looks more blue in this photo than it is) and the weft is a peachy pink.  The result is a fabric that seems to change colour when it is folded and different lights are on it.  I’ll admit, I love shot fabrics, and they seem to look especially good with garments or items that have pleating, draping, or other ways of showing off the colour-changing effect.

Sewing the outline

4. With a zig-zag stitch, I ‘drew’ the outline of the petal, wiggling the fabric to get that petal shape.  I stayed well within the edges of the fabric.  Going too close to the edge will make it start to fray, which is kind of counter-productive.  I set my zig-zag to the same as what I would use for a buttonhole, and used red in the bobbin, and black in the needle – partially out of laziness, and partially so I could tie some other colours I’ll be using into the project.

Applying anti-fray glue

5. Once the petals were all outlined, I applied anti-fray solution on the outside of the threads.  I was looking for my Fray-Check – but couldn’t find it so used Unique Fray Stop instead.  It’s a bit more drippy than I would have liked, but it worked.  The stuff can stain fabrics though, so be careful, and work from the ‘wrong’ side.

Trimming close to the stitching

6. From there, I trimmed super close to the threads with small scissors.  Be super-carful here, it’s really easy to snip into the threads.  I then carefully coated the edges once more with the Fray Stop because this fabric is really prone to fraying. (Even with the Heat N Bond! I wonder if it would have been better if I had used the regular version instead of the Light version?)

Trimmed

7. This is just to show how much of the fabric is trimmed off – the petal is laying on top of the backing paper from the Heat N Bond.  You can also see the ‘wiggle’ that I gave to each of the petals.

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Veins in the petals

8. Then I sewed in the ‘veins’ for the petals.  This is just using a straight stitch.  I could have dropped the feed dogs and done some free-motion embroidery here, but I’ve found that I can do just as well with my regular stitch.  I did try out using some rayon thread in the bobbin, but found that it didn’t really make much of a difference.  I suppose it would have made more difference in the zig zag (satin stitch) but I didn’t do it there….

Pleating the petal

9.  So to get the flower to be more dimensional, I pleated each of the three ‘bow ties’ – The bottom one got a box pleat, while the other two just got a small pleat.  These were stitched in place.  This photo shows the petal upside down – it was easier to get the photo that way to show the pleat in something so small.

Pearl and embroidery thread stamen

10. Almost done!  Each of the petals was layered one on top of the other, and quickly hand stitched in place.  Then I took the flower to the sewing machine and connected the petals together.  Then I sewed a large pearl to the centre, and then hand-sewed embroidery thread to create the centre of the flower.  This is one area where the Faerie Market did a LOT better than I did – I thought I knew how to make French knots, but they didn’t really turn out, so instead it’s sort of a crochet/knot thing.  Either way, it’s still cool texture and contrast.  If I decide I really want to do these French Knots instead next time – here’s a good link with a video on how to do them correctly.

Felt backing

11. Next I cut out a small circle out of pink felt (I went back and forth trying to decide between pink and black, but the pink just matches somewhat better.  It’s really not important though, since the felt won’t really be seen.  Then I cut two small slits – this is what the alligator clip will go through.  This was kind of hard to shoot.

Attach the clip

12. I slid the alligator clip through the felt, and then with the hot glue gun attached the felt pad to the flower.  The alligator clip is really strong, and the silk is quite light despite the flower’s size, so it should hold just fine.  I could have also put a hair elastic on here if I wanted to, but I’ve found that I’m not using them as hair elastics very much, and the clip is somewhat more versatile.  On a few that I have purchased, there has been a broach pin attached as well, but I find that these get caught in my hair if I wear them in my hair – so I’d rather make a second flower if I want to wear this on a jacket – rather than get my hair tangled!

Red Poppy

Next up, I think that I’ll try something similar, just a bit smaller, in a dark red like this one from the Faerie Market.  I also really like the brown feather headband she has as well, though I don’t really wear headbands.  Perhaps this would look good as a comb instead? She does an Oak leaf as a hair clip, so perhaps that’s another option?  I could totally see that in a silver-blue, or dark grey…

Feather Headband

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The finished version?  See below!

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Finished flower

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One comment on “Silk Flowers

  1. […] Free-motion flowers (not unlike my silk poppy) […]

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