Thursday, October 29, 2009

Make Your Own (Unfading) Felt Flowers

Getting ready for the holidays with red and green felted flowers

Mascot for the night: Chico!

I have always loved flowers. From the time I was a little girl, flowers from my father, picking wildflowers in humid Western New York summers, and growing my own always brought joy, beauty, and fragrance. But all good things end, and flowers always die. As a believer in feng shui, I shy away from fake flowers, but since reading Sweater Chop Shop by Crispina ffrench, I have become taken with felt garden flowers.

Storey Creative Director Alethea Morrison profiles her fashionable homemade clips

Sarah Guare models her fabric creations

The basic technique for making these fabric flowers (a dozen in just 90 minutes) is so simple anyone can do it. Techniques can be highly refined and detailed for those who want to embellish their buds into hair pieces or pins, but I began making them with the simplest technique.

You will need:
  • A ruler
  • A pair of wire cutters
  • 8 yards of 20-gauge galvanized steel wire
  • Scraps of various floral-colored felted wool knits from other projects
  • Sharp fabric scissors or a rotary cutter and pad
  • A handful of assorted buttons
  • 12 narrow strips of green fabric or green seam binding, 16" long
  • White craft glue
  • An electric drill
  • 24-gauge galvanized steel wire (see Flower Variations in Sweater Chop Shop)
  • Small spring-loaded pliers
Once the wire is cut into 24"-long pieces, bend them in half. Be creative with the shapes of fabric used. Petals can be constructed from squares, circles, triangles, and strips of varying sizes. Shapes can range from ½" across to 2½" or even 3" across if the fabric has enough body to hold itself without looking floppy or wilted. Bright shades and contrasting colors make for unique designs. Stacking two or three buttons first will coordinate well. At a recent Storey felt-flower-making party, some folks discovered that buttons on the bottom of the “leaves” gave buds an extra boost and even made the fabric pucker.

Wrap the wire with green fabric, and use the end of a drill to tighten it (twisting by hand also works). After tightly securing it, glue the tip and hold. A bunch of designs make for shabby chic creations for home or office or to give away. Tall, short, garland — the more felt flowers you make, the more inventive your designs become. Get started now, and once the holidays are present, it will be time for those extra green and red fabric remnants to be used in holly and poinsettias and, finally, home-for-the-holidays wreaths.

Publicity team Alee Marsh and Michelle Blackley offer bunches of blooms

Jess Richard, publishing administrator and Jessica Armstrong, senior designer, were especially crafty

Xavier helps Kathryn Remillard, office coordinator show off her woolen wonder

— Michelle Blackley, Senior Publicist

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