Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mixed Felt Flower Tutorial

I've seen a lot of tutorials for making fabric flowers whether twisted and sewn or the layers cut out and glued or stitched together, I have yet to find a flower including needle felting and fabric.  So I decided to make up my own that combines needle felted wool and felt yardage. 
You will need:
felt fabric at least 18" in width
handful of wool roving in a coordinating color
felting needle (size #38 ideal)
needle and thread
Fabric Tac glue (optional)

First cut a piece of felt fabric 1" x 18".  I used felt made from recycled plastic bottles but wool blends are nice too.  You don't need a ruler, just eye ball it. 

Next you will snip along entire piece, every 1/4" to about a 1/4" from the edge.  Don't worry if you cut one or two (or five) too close to edge.  We will be sewing this all together so it won't fall apart.

Note: I am using my new, ergonomically correct SoftTouch scissors from Fiskars and I love them!  My hands usually cramp up when I am using scissors but not with these babies.  You could also use a cutting wheel too. 

Set your snipped fringe piece aside while you work on the center of the flower.  Take your handful of roving and roll into semi-loose cylinder.   You don't want it too loose, however.  Needle felting works best when you compress the wool. 

Begin to poke with your felting needle.  Remember those felting needles are sharp!   Keep rotating the wool and poke from all sides and keeping it firmly compressed.  Try to make the bottom flat and the top rounded.  Poke, poke, poke!

By starting with a cylinder, you should end up with a raspberry shape.  

At this point you could add felted or embroidery accents to your flower center, but I am going to keep mine simple.  You want the wool to be fairly compact and compressed.  You will be sewing to it so if you make it too wispy it might not work.
Now you are ready to assemble your flower.  I like to start by using a little bead of Fabric Tac at the end of the fridge piece.  This just helps everything stay in place while you sew and is not necessary.

Start by rolling the fringe around your wool ball with the flat part of the fringe against the bottom of the ball. 

Roll three times around ball and then sew in place.   Start with a secure knot. 

Once you have sewn the whole way around, wrap the rest of the fringe flat around the base. 

Finish sewing securely by stitching the entire way around.  You don't want your flower falling apart! 

Ta da!  You have finished a felt flower! 

At this point you can add a pin back or barrette or sew it onto something.  To add a barrette, simply cut a piece of fabric to cover the base.  Apply Fabric Tac all over base.  Slide circle of fabric through barrette and place on glue, adding glue to top of barrette.  Allow to dry overnight for a fabulous felt flower barrette! 

Once you have made a few, it will be hard to stop!  The bigger flowers I made by sewing a 1" by 9" cut fringe piece to the needle felted center and then finished it with a 2" x 18" cut fringe piece.