ribbon flowers

When I went to visit some textile students I promised a tutorial on a couple of ways of making ribbon flowers and thought I should share it here in case anyone else might find it useful.

Method 1

This uses either a 10cm wide 1m long strip of fabric with the long sides folded in so they meet in the middle (with the right side facing out), ironed but not sewn, or 1m of ribbon at least 5cm wide. Here I have used a satin ribbon.

method 1. fold ribbon or strip of fabric at 45 degrees
method 1. fold ribbon or strip of fabric at 45 degrees
pin in place, turn the ribbon over and fold again so it lies against the first turn, and pin.
pin in place, turn the ribbon over and fold again so it lies against the first turn, and pin.
continue along the length of the ribbon
continue along the length of the ribbon
tuck in the end, fix the thread at a corner with knot/oversewing and do a loose running stitch along the narrow end, along one long side and up the other end
tuck in the end, fix the thread at a corner with knot/oversewing and do a loose running stitch along the narrow end, along one long side and up the other end
pull the thread to gather the folded ribbon tightly
pull the thread to gather the folded ribbon tightly
roll up the gathered ribbon, keeping the gathered edge level, and stitch it in place as you go
roll up the gathered ribbon, keeping the gathered edge level, and stitch it in place as you go
the finished flower looks like this and can be left at this point if being sewn directly on to a garment or bag
the finished flower looks like this and can be left at this point if being sewn directly on to a garment or bag
I usually turn the flowers in to brooches and I like to add felt leaves cut with pinking shears (you could also embroider veins on the leaves)
I usually turn the flowers in to brooches and I like to add felt leaves cut with pinking shears (you could also embroider veins on the leaves)
sew the leaves to the flower's gathered edge
sew the leaves to the flower’s gathered edge
voila - finished flower brooch
sew a brooch back to a circle of felt and sew the circle to the back of the flower, covering the gathering and stitches.
finished method 1 flower

Method 2

This method uses a strip of fabric folded and ironed as for method 1 or a piece of ribbon, but is less fiddly and can be made with any width of fabric or ribbon. If you use a strip of fabric, ensure the raw edges face in to the centre of the flower as you make it.

method 2. take the ribbon (or folded strip of fabric) and fix the thread at a corner, then sew a loose running stitch along the end and 5cm or so along the long edge before sewing at right angles to the other edge and back to the first edge to delineate the first petal
method 2. take the ribbon (or folded strip of fabric) and fix the thread at a corner, then sew a loose running stitch along the end and 5cm or so along the long edge before sewing at right angles to the other edge and back to the first edge to delineate the first petal
continue along the ribbon, making petals longer as you go and gathering each petal as you finish it (it is more difficult to gather the whole length at the end
continue along the ribbon, making petals longer as you go and gathering each petal as you finish it (it is more difficult to gather the whole length at the end
when the whole ribbon is gathered, secure the end to hold the gathers in place
when the whole ribbon is gathered, secure the end to hold the gathers in place
as with method 1, roll up the gathered ribbon, stitching it in place as you go
as with method 1, roll up the gathered ribbon (starting with the smallest petals in the centre), stitching it in place as you go
the resulting flower is a bit messy - but that's ok!
the resulting flower is a bit messy – but that’s ok!
push out each petal so it looks more rose like
push out each petal so it looks more rose like
add leaves and a brooch back as before, if you choose
add leaves and a brooch back as before, if you choose

You can see the difference in the results of the two methods most clearly when they are side by side.

method 1 on the right and method 2 on the left
method 1 on the right and method 2 on the left

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