These fabric flowers are all the rage and super easy to make. The tattered, or raw, edges mute the original fabric’s design and give the flowers a vintage feel. Stitch a pin to the back, and you can add them to just about anything: pillows, aprons, jacket lapels, belts, headbands. They take just a tiny bit of fabric and are a great way to use up some of your too-small-for-anything-but-I-can’t-bear-to-throw-away-this-gorgeous-fabric scraps.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 2160DC)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Scraps of your favorite fabrics: we used Color Defined Aqua and Brown Zebra Stripe from Faye Burgos for Marcus Brothers Fabrics, and two pieces from our leftover stash: Heather Bailey’s Bijoux in Gold Tiled Primrose, and Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden in Lime Sway
NOTE: Each flower takes one strip 2” x apx. 45”. You could seam together smaller pieces to get a long enough strip. Use a ¼” seam if you decide to do that.
- Small button for the flower’s center (optional): we used vintage buttons
- All purpose thread to match
- Hand sewing needle
- Thimble (optional)
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Fold in each short end of the strip ¼”, wrong sides together, and press.
- Fold the entire strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.
- Set your machine’s stitch length for a long basting stitch.
- With the edge of your presser foot running along the folded edge of your strip, stitch the length of the strip. Do NOT back tack at the beginning or end.
- Remove the stitched strip from your machine, leaving the thread tails long.
- Pull the bobbin thread to gather the strip to about half its original size.
- Use your fingers to even out the ruffles. Because the strip is so long, it tends to want to twist and turn. Before you start to ‘roll’ your flower, make sure your strip is untwisted.
- Thread a hand-sewing needle with thread that best matches your fabric.
- From one end, start to roll up the strip. Just like your making a cinnamon roll, only without the calories. The folded edge should be toward the center; the raw edges toward the outside.
- Insert your hand needle and thread into the beginning of your roll, hiding the knot.
- Continue rolling, stopping at each rotation to make a stitch with your needle and thread to secure the fabric into its spiral.
- When you get to the end of the roll, take a few extra stitches to secure the end of the strip (because we folded in the edges when we originally pressed the fabric, the end of the strip is finished). Knot off your thread.
Back of flower
Front of flower
- Working from the front of the flower, spread out the spirals of the roll with your fingers – these have now become your flower’s ‘petals.’ The more you pull apart the petals, the softer the flower appears.
NOTE: The original length of your strip and the tightness of your roll are the two things that determine the final look of your flower. Want a bigger flower? Use a longer strip. Want a softer, fluffier flower? Roll more loosely. Want a smaller flower? Reduce the length AND width of your original strip.
- The rolling technique makes a nice, neat center, so you don’t have to use a button.
- We like the extra dimensional accent the button provides, and so added one to ours. Simply spread out the spirals (the petals), and nest the button in the center. Stitch in place from front to back with your hand sewing needle.
- The flower is now ready to be used as an embellishment. You can stitch it in place as-is, or attach a jewelry pin or safety pin to the back, which is what we did.
NOTE: We decided on the safety pin option because our flower was going to be used as an embellishment on an item that might need to be washed. These flowers can NOT be washed, so we wanted ours to be able to be removed prior to laundering.
- Open up the safety pin (or jewelry pin) and whip stitch in place.
- The name ‘Tattered Flower’ comes from the frayed raw edges. At this point, you can simply clip any long, dangling threads and call it good. Or, for more tatters, gently pull a few more threads from the raw edges, clipping as necessary.
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna Sew Fun and the Brother XL-2610.