DIY Decor: Fabric Flowers

My mother and I are working away on the pillows for the venue benches, and I was thrilled when we recently discovered Clover’s Kanzashi Flower Maker tools for crafting fabric flowers. We found our templates at Tuesday Morning, but my mom has also seen them at her local quilt shop. They’re really easy to use: if you can count and manage a basic needle and thread, you can create beautiful fabric flowers!

There are a variety of different kinds of flowers, and most of the templates come in sizes ranging from extra-small to large. The flowers featured here were made with the small and large “Round Petal” templates, the large “Daisy” template, and the small and large “Gathered Petal” template.

kanzashi flowers 1

Clover’s Kanzashi Flower templates

Each template comes with detailed, illustrated, and easy to follow instructions, so I’ll just note the basic process and highlight a few tips based on my work with the templates so far.

For all of the templates, the process is the same: cut your fabric into small squares (one per petal), fold the fabric into the template, then stitch the petal following the numbered template guide. The photos show a large “Gathered Petal” flower in process in a sheer white voile.

After removing the template,  pull the thread to create the petal and shape it, and then repeat with the next square of fabric. The softer the fabric, the more organic the shape.

The number of petals needed to complete a flower varies with the type of flower and template. Once you’ve completed all the petals, stitch the last petal to the first. The center will typically need to be stitched close or be covered with a button or another embellishment. Flowers of different sizes can be layered as well.

Embeliished with a bead!

Embellished with a bead!

I’ve also made a large “Daisy” in bright orange taffeta, and large and small “Round Petal” flowers in a pale aqua cotton with large white polka dots.

A few tips:

  • The back of the flower is often as pretty (or prettier) than the designated front. This was true of the orange taffeta Daisy!
  • The dimensions for the fabric squares included in the instructions are, I’ve found, always larger than needed, which results in waste. Cut one square and see how it works for you. I shaved a 1/4 to 1/2 an inch off in most cases.
  • Softer fabrics result in more organic-looking flowers, but those with a little more body are easier to shape (and hold the shape better).
  • Scissors with narrow blades like those shown above make it easier to trim close to the template.
  • Sew on pin backs to the flowers to make them easy to remove for laundering, or to re-purpose.

I’m using the flowers to embellish pillows, but they could also adorn a bag,  hat, or belt, or be worn as a brooch.


You might also like to see DIY Decor: Pieced Pillow Covers for info on how we’re designing and piecing our pillows, or DIY Decor: Pillows in Progress, or Making  a Beautiful Mess for more thoughts on crafting and love.



DIY Decor: Pieced Pillow Covers

Pillows may seem like an unusual form of wedding decor, but our venue has a number of long, plain wooden benches.  Adding groupings of pillows will, I hope, create some pops of color as well as soften up the modern lines of the venue’s interior space. Plus, my mother Margaret is a quilter extraordinaire, and I love sewing and fabric arts. Designing and making pillows is a great way for us to collaborate across the miles and share in the fun of the wedding-as-creative-canvas. I also plan to re-purpose some of the pillow covers for home decor after the wedding—another good reason to choose wedding colors reflective of those I love and live with every day. To save money as well as storage space, we’re creating slip-on pillow covers that fit pillows we already own (my blessed mother measured every throw pillow in her house). Each pillow cover we create for the wedding will be one-of-a-kind.

For the pillows featured here, Mom purchased a suite of fabrics online and supplemented from her stash. Most of the fabrics are from the Happiness, Blossoming, and Journeys collections by Kathy Davis for Free Spirit fabrics. I drew the (very rough) sketch to illustrate what I envisioned, a pillow featuring multiple fabrics in stripes of uneven widths. Using my sketch and the fabrics she’d selected, Mom created the beautiful pillow in the rocking chair shown in the large photo, above. The orange fabric, from the Happiness collection, is called “Sweet Words” and features words like “happiness,” “joy,” and “beauty.” Perfect for a wedding celebration!

Our Process

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