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Organza Flower Tutorial

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Flowers are the RAGE these days. Wear them in your hair, on your wrist, a jacket or a coat, on a velveteen ribbon around your waist... or sew several to a pillow, fill a bowl, upscale a gift. If you're planning a wedding, these airy flowers add an etherial, romantic touch wherever you use them. They can be rather expensive to buy, but are downright cheap to make. And with just a little practice you can turn out a dozen of these beauties in one afternoon.

I've always enjoyed melting things, and these flowers give me a legitimate reason to light a candle and melt some fabric. Because, that's really all you do to make these flowers. Synthetic fabrics will melt when held near a flame. They will also ignite if you put them too close, so before you get started, look for a draft-free spot away from anything flammable where you can focus on what you're doing (without helpful kiddos or pets).

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Synthetic fabrics like nylon organza and polyester satin and lining fabric. They are inexpensive and melt easily. You can use only organza in a single color, or you can mix colors and add in some poly lining fabric as I did in the photo at the top of this page. I like the way the different fabrics and colors add depth to the flower. In the flower above I used a turquoise bubble organza, champagne sparkle organza, plus medium and dark turquoise poly lining fabric.
  • A heat source. I use a votive candle because it will burn a long time and it's short, so I can sit while I work. Some people use a lighter, but I find that more difficult to control. Some people use a jar candle, but I often use the slightly cooler side of the flame to melt more heat-sensitive fabrics (like organza).
  • A pattern ( optional, cutting free-form flowers is faster and can look great). I've included two templates. If you are cutting a bunch of pieces, cut the outer pieces first so you can keep using the same pattern by cutting it smaller and smaller. You can cut through several layers of fabric at a time.
  • Beads or buttons . For the center of the flower, you can sew in a fancy rhinestone button, or a single pearl bead (as shown above), or a half-dozen seed beads.
  • Aluminum foil. I usually work on a piece of aluminum foil. It's non-flammable and if there are drips, I have not ruined anything.
  • A sewing needle
  • Thread in a coordinated color, or a transparent/invisible nylon thread
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Bottle of water (just to be safe)

Getting Started

  1. Find a draft-free location to work. The smallest breeze moves the heat from your candle and changes how it affects the flower. If you can avoid any draft, you can maintain significantly better control.
  2. Before you cut out your flowers, I suggest that you cut several free-form circles and practice with them until you get the hang of it.
  3. If you choose to use a template, download and print the Circle Template and/or Flower Template.
  4. Determine how many flowers you want to make, the size and relative fullness. You can use as few or as many layers as you like. Generally at least five or six layers are needed, but you can use many more if you want to make a big full flower. The flower shown above is five inches and has thirteen layers. Begin with a slightly larger size shape than you want for your finished flower because the heat and melting will shrink the fabric.

Making the Flower

  1. Cut your shapes.
  2. Hold one piece at a time over the candle flame. You don't need to be very close to the flame for the fabric to begin to melt. Slowly rotate the fabric until you have gone all the way around and have achieved the style of edge you like.
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  3. Start with the your largest piece and work down to the smallest.
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  4. Stack your layers from largest to smallest. The flowers actually look prettier if you're not too perfect in how you arrange them.
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  5. Shift layers from side-to-side until you achieve a natural look.
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  6. Pick up your flower, keeping a finger in the center and at the base so your arrangement doesn't slip. Use a straight pin from the backside through the uppermost layer and back to the back side as shown.
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  7. Sew your bead or beads into place.

Hints and Tips

If you want to attach your flower to a barrette or a headband, for example, you can sew your flower to a piece of felt that can in turn be sewn onto the top of a barrette or to headband.

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Comments (27)

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

i click on the link to download the pointed brim template and it takes me to the flower file....i cant get the pointed brim link to work.....Ty Cheryl......

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Cheryl - You posted here on the flower tutorial, but I'm guessing you are asking about the Witch's Hat. I double checked the links for that tutorial and both pattern downloads are operating correcting. Try quitting your browser, then start it up again and return to the Witch Hat page. Try the .PDF download links for the pattern again. Thanks!

http://sew4home.com/projects/fabric-art-accents/haunted-halloween-dead-r...

Orenda said:
Orenda's picture
I have made a few of these and use a small butane torch...the type for starting a grill....works well.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Mom! -- Look at Step #3 in the Getting Started section. There are two links there to click on to download the PDF templates.

"3. If you choose to use a template, download and print the Circle Template and/or Flower Template."
Mom! said:
Mom! 's picture
There is no template for flowers? Where do I find this? smilies/cry.gif
alicia.thommas said:
alicia.thommas's picture
BethHG: As I mention in the Getting Started section, the templates are a guide for cutting the multiple sized layer pieces. Either circles or flower shape. I also say they are not necessary and you can simply cut random sized circles or shapes. I offer the template for anyone who prefers a more structured shape. To use the templates, you would cut the biggest shape first, then smaller and smaller until you have as many layers as you want for your flower. For the sample flower shown, the circles were all hand cut circles without use of a pattern. When you melt the edges the randomness looks nice.
BethHG said:
BethHG's picture
I was able to print the templates, however HOW do you USE the templates....I dont get it. This doesnt look too hard, but I dont understand how the template works. Thanks to anyone who can help!
BethHG said:
BethHG's picture
I can print the templates, but HOW do you use them?? Can someone explain this. Thanks!
alicia.thommas said:
alicia.thommas's picture
Hi Lara, Organza doesn't melt as evenly along the edge as a polyester fabric (like a poly lining fabric -- which I use a lot because it's cheap and comes in loads of colors). Look at this close up image from another project we did showing organza and poly with melted edges: http://sew4home.com/images/art...er-4_b.jpg It shows a how the edges should look on the organza compared to the poly. If you are seeing something different from that, be sure you have a synthetic organza. It sounds like you do, because it's shimmery -- but organza also comes in cotton which wouldn't melt. Be sure you are hitting the edge of the fabric. That takes a few practice runs.
Lara said:
Lara's picture
Hi, I have just tried to melt the edges of a piece of shimmer organza and it didn't work very well. It seemed to melt along the weave of the fabric and separate the strands rather that kind of melt and shrink them like your picture above. Can you advise any further help? thanks
alicia.thommas said:
alicia.thommas's picture
Charity, the issue with the templates in PDF format has been resolved. Sorry for your trouble and for alerting us to this issue.
Charity said:
Charity's picture
Where are the templates? There were no links above to the templates or images of the templates? I looked in the pdf version and the links there were incorrect as it link to a post about making your own labels through a different product. No templates.smilies/sad.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
You can totally do it. This project is really more about careful cutting and the heating of the edges. The sewing is minimal - and if you've mastered buttons, you can do this. Have fun -- and happy wedding. smilies/wink.gif
Newby said:
Newby's picture
I saw these flowers featured on Frugal Girls as one of the crafts of the week. I think it would work perfect on a barrette for my wedding. My question is, how experienced do you have to be to make them? Can a beginner do it? Let's just say I'm not proficient at sewing and putting buttons on an item is about all I've mastered so far. smilies/cheesy.gif
Jane King said:
Jane King's picture
How fun, can hardly wait to try making a flower.
Katy Lunsford said:
Katy Lunsford's picture
These are lovely, can't wait to get some fabric and try them!
Katy
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi sharee -- Alicia and I chatted about this and here are her thoughts:

Heat guns have to have air flow, but the Craft Heat guns claim low air flow so they can be used for embossing even powdery substances. These are a few I found at Amazon -- never tried any, so I can't recommend, only suggest:

Ranger Heat It Craft Tool
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00083OZQY/ref=s9_simh_gw_p79_i4?pf_rd_...

Uchida Embossing Heat Tool with Stand
http://www.amazon.com/Uchida-Embossing-Heat-Tool-Stand-120V/dp/B000QTFH5...

These would be LOW air flow, not NO airflow. I found the candle flame in a draft-free environment to be pretty ideal because you can focus on and control the petal and it seems quick to me. You'd have to experiment with the other methods. I found air flow to be the enemy when trying control the shape of the petal.

Hope that helps!
sharee said:
sharee's picture
Ok, so its been two months and I have been having a ball with my flowers!! I've found that using the flame is a bit time consuming though. I recently bought a heat gun in hopes of saving time but the airflow ends up blowing the petals around. Do you know of any techniques that would either hold them in place (like pinning them onto a soldering mat) or that would make using the heat gun easier? Thanks!!!
Manjula said:
Manjula's picture
Oh Wow..i love this tute..I have some organza fabric lying at home and i wasnt sure what to do with that. Now i know smilies/smiley.gif..Looking forward to making these flowers..
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Sharee -- we are so happy you found a project you loved and it turned out great! smilies/grin.gif There are many online fabric sources, many of which offer shipping to Puerto Rico. You could try fabric.com or hancockfabrics.com or joann.com as starting places. They are most likely to have larger online selections of the synthetic fabrics you are looking for. Also, you could just try searching on line for the fabric you want, like "organza for sale" for example.

In terms of other project ideas? We have a site FULL of great ideas smilies/grin.gif... browse around and see what strikes you. If you are wondering about ways to use these particular flowers -- we've used them on a pillow and have heard from other visitors who made them to put on headbands, gift bags and clothing.

Have fun!
Sharee said:
Sharee's picture
Hi, I am a beginner and don't know much about fabrics. I just bought some organza and satin and nylon fabrics to try your technique and they worked beautifully :-) ...My problem is with finding synthetic fabics (the ones I found were after days of searching), most of the time I don't even understand the names of the fabrics I pick up... Are there any other fabrics you recommend? Or maybe even a good website where I can buy them? (I live in Puerto Rico and my options here are limited) Thanks!

So far what I've done looks fabulous!! Do you have any other project ideas?? ... Can't wait to hear from you! ;-)
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Thanks, kmeghan, so good to hear about your successful results. GREAT idea for Mother's Day.
kmeghan said:
kmeghan's picture
I've made about 3 of these today and wore on on a jacket to an event this evening.. got tons of compliments! I teach preschool, and I'm going to make some for the mothers of the kids in my class for mother's day. And one for my mom too! smilies/smiley.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Both .pdf downloads have been tested and both seem to still be working just dandy. Please try again.
killie said:
killie's picture
I have tried several times to download the flower template but nothing appears on my screen even after 5mins or more (went out to the letterbox ,brought in the washing loaded the dishwasher ).Yes the printer was turned on.What am I doing wrong ?
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi peggyann .... heat guns can have really concentrated high heat. So, be a little careful. We went with the votive flame because it's a slow heat. If you use the heat gun, you might want to keep the organza father away and play around with distance and time to get the proper melt. That said, you're probably right about a bit more control. Thanks.
peggyann said:
peggyann's picture
these posies are beautiful. For a wedding, they would make some beautiful embellishments for tables, swags....

Years ago when I made alot of rubberstamping cards, I had glued sheer ribbon to the front of a wedding card, and to hurry up the drying of the glue I turned on my heat embossing tool. and the sheer ribbon shrank up.

I'm thinking that the heat gun would work on the organza in this instance, and one might have a little more control over the process? Worth a try.

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