Monday, June 13, 2011


Sauntering through the bedding department of Spotlight a couple of weeks ago, I saw a lovely doona cover with some three dimensional flowers on it.    I took photo's with the I Phone in hope of recreating something similar.    These are nothing like it.   However, they did come up quite well, so I have put together some photo's of how to do it, if you feel the need.   The first couple of photo's are early attempts.   I finished off by quilting around the flower, then added a stem.   The piece was then made into a cushion complete with zip!

  So now comes the fun part, how to make pretty flowers using some lovely crystal organza.

For this little quilt, I cut background fabric to 10 1/2 in squares.    I purchased 1 metre of each of the colours of organza  (naturally I made two trips to the shops because 1/2 a metre didn't go very far).    Cut the organza into squares that measure 6 1/2 inches.    The organza is a little fiddly and doesn't keep it's straight edge very well when you try to move it - just cut one row at a time and then adjust as necessary as you cut.   Organza is an extremely tough and very forgiving.
 You are now going to fold a square in half to form a triangle.   Have your pins handy.
 Starting in the middle, make folds in the fabric, overlapping as you go.   Use the pins to keep everything from unravelling.  
Keep folding towards the centre until the petal kind of looks like this.   There is no right or wrong way to fold, just adjust until you get a pleasing look.      As you get to the  outside edge, you can use the last folds to  cover any raw edges.    The organza stretches beautifully, make bias work for you!
 Now you can stitch the  petal using a nice size zigzag - length 2/width 3.   Stitch at a point where you will cover and hold all layers of fabric - this will NOT be on the very edge.  My Pfaff has a nice wide foot and I used the edge as a guide.

 You can see here how far in I actually started stitching.      As this fabric is a little slippery, I would also recommend that if you are going to chain piece the petals,  you do a couple of back stitches, otherwise you may find as you pull the petals away from the machine, the thread will rip right out.
 Use a sewing foot with a nice clear view, here you can see that I am adjusting the fabric layers under the foot with a quick unpick, but a big needle, skewer or awl will all complete the task.
 For each flower in the quilt, I made five petals.   
Clean up the edge and cut up to the zigzag stitches.
Now prepare your background fabric.   I cut my squares at 10 1/2 inches.     To mark the centre, I folded into four and then lightly pressed.     After pressing in some marks, I drew  5 lines to give a rough guide for petal placement.   
To attach the petals to the background, I used my free motion/darning foot.   I still had the machine set to zigzag.    As the petals are going to overlap,  sew the petals in a fashion that gives the look of a couple to the back and others to the front.   As I sewed the petals into place, I pushed them under the foot so they finished with a slight curve.     Again you can use something to help get the desired shape. 

 When you have the petals held in place, you can form your leaves.     Again, these are 6 1/2 inch squares, but this time you fold them in half like so.....
Another fold  into the centre and a couple of pins and they look like this.....
 And then fold again, until they take on a rough leaf shape.  
Again, sew across the bottom of each leaf shape with a zigzag stitch and trim the bottoms straight across.

 Once more with the free motion foot, zigzag the leaves into place.   On some of my flowers I used two leaves, others had only one.    You are best to add the leaves after the flowers are in place - you can see if and where they are needed to balance out the flower.    As you stitch the leaves into place, make sure your flower petals are pulled out of the way.
Now with a bit of free motion work, stitch the leaves down, do a rough vein design.  
The leaves are now firmly in place.
Now you can go back to your flower petals and stitch down.
Once the petals have all been anchored in position, you can add some heavier stitching to form the centre of the flower.

The flower centres need to be carefully considered.   If it is going to be a wall hanging, then you may choose to add buttons  if a quilt that is to be used for a child, then I would recommend a centre that is embroidered into position.    Here I cut circles of orange organza large enough for the centre.   I used two circles for each flower.   I also cut a small circle to fill in behind the organza centres.  
Using free motion, I then went around the circle fanning the stitches out into the petals.    I also stitched into the centre.   You could also cut circles and use Suffolk puffs as the flower centres.   
I have given this quilt a wash 30degree celcius - normal - nothing delicate and the organza has come out perfectly.     It is certainly a fabric that can easily be incorporated into a quilt.

In my next post, I will show another sample of these flowers done in cotton fabric, and also making use of some of your decorative stitches on the sewing machine.

Bye for now.
Sue xxx

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