One of my best friends, Fiona, is getting married later this summer and a couple of months ago she asked if I’d be interested in sewing the bouquets for my fellow bridesmaids and I. I immediately said ‘YES!’, and then started worrying about how I could make fabric flowers that would be nice and special enough for a wedding. Fiona is super outdoorsy and one of the biggest eco-nerds I’ve ever met (in a good way!), so I wanted to make something that was pretty and elegant, but also simple and eco-friendly. After a few attempts at different flowers, I made one that I was really pleased with and that was quick and easy to churn out. I also was able to use fairly eco-friendly materials: branches and twigs from my backyard and second-hand fabrics from the thrift shop.
Because I’ve made so many of these now, I wanted to share a quick tutorial… shall we?
I’m the kind of gal who likes to see a tutorial give a general idea of how to make things without too much detail. With that in mind, here are the steps I’ve used to make these roses and bouquets, but you can adapt this to whatever your tastes are.
To make these roses, you will need:
- Several circles cut out of a sturdy fabric like thick cotton or canvas that won’t fray much (I would recommend experimenting with different fabrics and sizes, but here I’ve been using 9 – 10 circles per flower, and mine are 2.5″ in diameter)
- Some straight branches or twigs
- All-purpose glue or a glue gun
- A needle and thread that blends in with your fabric
In addition to this, I used some extra materials when making my roses into bouquets:
- Scotch tape
- Light aluminum wire
- Some decorative fabric (mine is chiffon from the thrift shop!)
For your first petal, you’ll want to run some glue along the side of a fabric circle and wrap it around the top of your stem. Secure the outside edge of your petal with some glue and stitch it up so it’s secure. (I definitely recommend sewing these flowers together — you don’t want the glue to melt if you are holding these flowers at an outdoor summer wedding!)
Now that the centre of rose is assembled, it’s time to add the rest of your rose petals to give it some fullness. Moving around the flower, add more fabric circles by putting a dab in the bottom of the circle, wrapping the sides around and stitching in place. As you do this, peel back the petals and look to see if the flower is lopsided, then add your next petals where it could use more fullness. This step is all going to be done by eye, with you deciding how full you want the flower to be. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your rose takes shape!
When you’ve added enough petals and are happy with the size of your rose, play with the petals and peel them open until you like how it looks. Make sure to look at it from all angles. Here you’ll see why it’s nice to use a really thick fabric that can hold a shape. Using 2.5″ circles, my finished rose is approximately 3″ in diameter.
As a side note, I like how the fabric is fraying a little bit around the edges, but you could also finish the edges with a zig zag stitch (this would also add a pop of colour), try using felt, or a synthetic fabric and melting the edges for cleaner look.
To assemble your roses into a bouquet:
This is where the pictures end, mainly because you’ll need both of your hands to create a bouquet! (And maybe a couple more!) Once you have the number of flowers you want in your bouquet, decide how you want them to be arranged — for example, I wanted bouquets where the flowers all faced in one direction, but you may want a symmetrical arrangement if these flowers will be displayed in a vase.
Because your branches or twigs will have very little bend to them, I found that using a flexible aluminum wire was helpful to arrange the flowers together. One by one, I wrapped a continuous piece of wire around the stems and bent them into place. Extra hands are very helpful with this! Once the branches were all in the right position, I wrapped scotch tape around all the stems so there won’t be any pointy or jagged wire bits sticking out, and there was a smooth and strong place to hold.
After this, I wrapped some chiffon fabric around the stems (I found some sheer curtains in exactly the same colour as our bridesmaid dresses at Value Village…score!). Finally, I wrapped raffia around the fabric to add a rustic feel to the bouquet and keep everything secured in place.
And that’s all! I estimate that in total, it took approximately 2 hours to make 6 flowers and assemble them into a bouquet. I think I’ll get faster as I go, and considering all of my materials together cost less than $20, I’d say this is a great option for a bride on a budget (and some time on her hands)! These flowers can also make great gifts, party decorations or just pretty up a room!
I hope this tutorial was easy to follow! Honestly, if you try it out and have a bit of patience, you’ll be making pretty fabric roses in no time.