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Spring Flower Pins

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As a little girl, I liked to watch my mother get dressed up to go someplace special. On the top shelf of her closet, she kept a round, paper-covered hatbox. Inside were a half dozen lovely millinery-quality flower pins, each carefully wrapped in tissue. The finishing touch was pinning a flower to her dress or the lapel of her jacket. My favorite was a big rose-colored peony flower made of woven fabric with several pale green, ribbon-wrapped stems.

Tomorrow is the first day of spring. Celebrate by wearing a flower on your jacket, in your hair, or pin one to your bag. Not only are they trendy, they brighten your day and help turn winter into spring.

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The above photo is an assortment of the kinds of scraps that work well for this style of flower. For the petals, we show several poly lining fabrics and cotton batiste, but other woven fabrics are fine as long as the fabric is not too heavy and has a some body. For the leaves you can use burlap, linen, felt, velveteen or even a pretty cotton print. If you don't have scraps, many fabric stores will sell you fabric by the inch. You could also purchase a little bit of lace or netting to make the flower dressier – perfect for bridal accessories. Take a look at the fablous selection of vintage-style rayon ribbon we used courtesy of The Ribbon Retreat.

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Hello Kitty 18750)
    NOTE: The sewing machine is used only for making a gathering stitch. You can also gather by hand if you prefer.

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • ONE 2" wide x 44/45" long strip (selvege-to-selvege); we used pastel cotton batiste for our flowers
  • One yard of lightweight ribbon; we used Vintage Ribbon-Rayon from The Ribbon Retreat.
    NOTE: For the yellow flower we used 037 Avocado and for the pink flower 070 Lizard Green. This ribbon comes in more than 80 colors, and at 90¢ for 5 yards, you can really stock up. It's great to have on hand for all kinds of sewing and craft projects.
  • Felt circles for backing; we used the Felt Circles from The Ribbon Retreat in the 1¾"(large) size in white
  • A scrap of slightly stiffer fabric for the leaves; we used burlap for the yellow flower and linen for the pink flower
  • Beads, a button, an old earring or a small brooch or the center for the flower; we used Swarovski crystal beads and crystal pearls from our supply cabinet, but any beads you like should work fine. Just be sure your needle will slide through the bead hole without getting stuck, or use a beading needle.
  • Needle and thread; we used white thread so it would not show on the back of the pin
  • One 1¼" pin back
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors

Assemble the Flower

  1. From your strip of fabric, cut random petal shapes as shown in the photo below. Being precise is unnecessary;  the flowers will actually look better if they are not overly perfect. I used my thumb as a rough cutting guide. 
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  2. By hand or machine, sew a gathering stitch (or basting stitch) about ¼" from the straight edge. Back tack one end only.
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  3. Gather by pulling on the thread (if you used a machine basting stitch, pull on the bobbin thread) until the length of the gathered edge is about 18".
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  4. Cut two leaves about 3" long x 1" wide. Again, it's unnecessary to be precise.
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  5. Tie your ribbon in a big loopy bow and pin the ribbon and leaves to what will be the inside of the felt circle.
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  6. Pin the end of the petal strip to the outer edge of the felt circle. Thread your hand sewing needle with thread to match the felt. Wrap your thread around the pin to secure. 
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  7. Wrap your petal strip around the felt circle, spiraling smaller each time you overlap the previous layer of petals. Use a simple running stitching to attach the strip to the felt. Keep your stitches as small as possible. 
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  8. When you are done wrapping, the front of the flower should look like this:
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  9. The back of the flower should look like this:
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Finish Your Flower

  1. If you use just one bead, button or other element, simply center it and sew securly to the flower. If you use multiple beads as we did, arrange them first to see how they fit before sewing them in place. We show one large and 4 smaller Swarovski crystal pearls, and 4 faceted crystal beads. (For the yellow flower, we used all crystal pearls.)
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  2. Sew the pin back to the flower. Attach it towards the upper end of the felt circle so it won't tend to droop once pinned.
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  3. Wet your hands and dampen just the ribbon, then crush it in your fist for a few moments. This will give it a nice vintage look. Set aside until the ribbon has dried. Once dry, you can trim the ribbon a bit if you think it needs it. Ribbon shown wet in the photo just below and dry in the two side-by-side photos below that. 
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Hints and Tips

Rather than attaching a pin back you can sew the flower to a headband or comb. It can also be pinned to a belt or bag for a pretty accent. These flowers can be made larger or smaller by shortening or lengthening the petal strip and increasing or decreasing the size of the felt circle. You can also make them fancier by adding some millinary netting, bits of lace, etc.

Contributors

Project design, sample creation and instructional outline: Alicia Thommas.

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Comments (18)

carmen oyola said:
carmen oyola's picture

Estan muy hermosas y justo las necesitaba para elaborar un disfras de reina del banbuco. Mil gracias por tan maravillosa colaboracion.

Andrea said:
Andrea's picture

Finally, I see how these adorable fabric flowers are created! Thank you so very much!! Love them!!

www.sewablesbyrobbie.com said:
www.sewablesbyrobbie.com's picture
What a treasure that you have given us. Can't wait to make one or even a few! thanks again, robbie
kswilli said:
kswilli's picture
I made this flower for my Granddaughter. She wore it in her hair with her new Easter dress. It looked fantastic ! Thank you for sharing this.
eliy tuangson said:
eliy tuangson's picture

Thank you for posting this article in this forum I will bookmark this page and tell my friends about this ...
Monica Daris said:
Monica Daris's picture
Very good tutorial.Nice pictures.Good explanations! Thank you for teaching us this wonderfull flower.
Rosemary B said:
Rosemary B's picture
this is so adorable. My oldest daughter is getting married in June and I just might make a couple of these flowers for the bridesmaids. It might look really cute on top of their bridesmaids giftie smilies/smiley.gif
tsetsgee said:
tsetsgee's picture
I like made flowers. I can't wait do this flower. Thank you Sew4Home!
tdjohnson67 said:
tdjohnson67's picture
Thank you for the lovely tutorial. May just have to make one tomorrow to celebrate Spring.
dragicap...made by ma ... said:
dragicap...made by ma ...'s picture
Fantastic,romantic... beauttifull
alicia.thommas said:
alicia.thommas's picture
@ gmitchel. The thread that is wrapped around the pin is the basting thread from the petal strip. I did this rather than knot the end to 1) keet the gathering from ungathering, and 2) so that if i had to gather a little more or less, I could pull the pin and adjust. No worries once you have sewn the petal strip to the felt; it will not unravel and you can clip off that trailing thread.
Claudia O. said:
Claudia O.'s picture
I have found that the pins can poke little holes on the t-shirts, depending on how delicate the fabric is. On my next t-shirt, I will add one or two circle layers of fusible knit interfacing to the back of the shirt to see if it will take care of the problem. The flowers look great, thanks for sharing!
mpistey said:
mpistey's picture
Just gorgeous! This will make an ordinary outfit look extraordinary!
gmitchel said:
gmitchel's picture
Oh by "wrapping it" I meant wrapping the thread. Sorry to be so unclear.
gmitchel said:
gmitchel's picture
Question: I saw you began stitching the petal strip to the felt by wrapping it around one of the needles. How is this end secured when you remove the needle? Won't it unravel at the back (beginning) of the flower? Do you clip the threads after removing the needle and tie them to secure?smilies/cry.gif
tpill02 said:
tpill02's picture
one of these flower pins would be a lovely finishing touch to an Easter outfit!

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