Thursday, August 30, 2007

China Silk Flowers

Is it a rose? A poppy? A ranunculus? Who knows? It is, however, the fastest and easiest flower you’ll ever make to add to any bouquet.

· Cut a square of any soft fabric approximately twice the size of your finished flower. The size of the square determines the size of the finished flower. If you want a finished flower about 3" in diameter, begin with a 6" square of fabric. You can make very small or very large flowers with this method.

· Fold the fabric in half diagonally with the right sides together. With a needle and thread, sew a running stitch up the fold close to the edge and down one cut edge. Make some of your stitches long and some short. Varying the stitch length gives this flower character. On this sample, the stitches were ¼” to 1” long. Don’t tie off your thread yet!

· Turn the flower right side out carefully. Now pull gently on the loose end of the thread, and you’ll see the flower form right before your eyes. Keep pulling until the flower is the size you want. Turn the flower over and knot off the thread.

· Turn the flower right side up again. Tuck the raw edges under, and form into a flower. Place it on a piece of crinoline. Gently coax the flower into shape by forming soft folds around the center. A shot of steam from an iron may help. Be careful not to actually place the iron down on your flower.

· Carefully tack down the flower by sewing in the folds. Sewing across the flower in an X should be enough to hold the shape securely. Trim off the excess crinoline, and you’re finished!

· For another variation, try using soft velvet, charmeuse satin or any other soft fabric. Using firmer fabrics such as doupioni silk will result in a fuller flower.

Enjoy your beautiful flowers...

When you have time to browse, please visit Vintage Vogue.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rick Rack Roses

In the past several days, there's been a discussion on some of the crazy quilt lists about using rick rack in CQ projects.

I decided to take this opportunity to join the blogosphere, and share these instructions from a demo that I did a few years ago in one of the Sampler Classes at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX.

Add a new dimension to your ribbonwork and a new trick to your bag of embellishments with these easy-to-make Rick Rack Roses.

· Cut a piece of jumbo-sized rick rack 36” long to make the finished flower shown here. I use vintage cotton rick rack because I prefer the soft, faded colors, but any type of rick rack can be used. If you want to dye the flowers you must use cotton or rayon rick rack with Procion or Dylon fiber-reactive dyes. The rick rack that’s available now from Wrights and Coats & Clark is polyester, and cannot be dyed.

· Fold the length of rick rack in half, and wrap one side around the other as shown at the top of the photo. The rick rack will nestle together. It may not lay perfectly smooth initially, but that’s okay. That curve will work to your benefit when you roll up the rick rack to form a nicely shaped rose.

· Beginning at the end with the two raw edges, firmly roll up the length of rick rack to the end. Depending on how you cut the rick rack, you may have to trim the raw ends into a V in order to eliminate the raw edges peaking out of the center of the rose.

· Tack the folded end down with a few stitches; then sew through the center of the rose near the bottom to hold the roll in place. I sew through the roll in an X shape, then go back and add another few stitches through it. A milliners needle will easily sew through the roll.

· Turn the rose over, and gently fold back the last two rows of petals to complete your rose. Try experimenting with shorter pieces of rick rack to make small rosebuds. Obviously, 24” or 30” of medium-sized rick rack will make a smaller rose. If you have enough dexterity in your fingers, you can even make these roses with baby rick rack for tiny embellishments.

Enjoy your beautiful flowers…

When you have time to browse, please visit Vintage Vogue.