I love folded fabric flowers, but I have had a lot of trouble making them. I found a little tool at a craft store that was supposed to make it easier, but I found myself fumbling with it more than actually accomplishing anything. Besides, I would rather not spend money on a bunch of different tools just to get different sizes.
My solution to the problem was to make my own "tool." I created a template and simply connect the dots.
To make my hair clips, you need
lightweight fabric - A 21 inch by 2.5 inch strip will work, but ultimately you need 5 squares that are 3 inches on a side.
thread that will pair well with your fabric
1 button - shank buttons work best for this
hair clip - a small duckbill clip works best
felt - just a small circle
pins - Straight sewing pins are easiest to use, but you can use small safety pins, too.
template - download the pdf
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Step 1: Prepare the Pieces
Print and cut out the templates. Clip the edges of the triangles so that there is a notch whose point is on the dot at every dot.
You can change the size of the flower by adding pieces or by scaling the template. Adding pieces will just increase size by adding petals, scaling will increase the petal size. Each triangle makes one petal.
Fold the fabric and place each triangle with the longer edge (hypotenuse, for the sticklers) on the fold. The fabric should have the pretty side (right) visible and the ugly side (wrong) hidden inside the fold.
Pin the triangles in place, then cut them out.
Thread a needle with two strands, then fold them over and tie a knot making a total of four strands.
I recommend having a minimum of 18 inches working length in the thread.
If you have trouble threading the needle, try an embroidery needle; they have larger eyes.
Step 2: Sew
Push your needle straight down through the little dot marked 1. Pull it until the knot is touching the fabric.
Bring the needle up through the dot marked 2. Pull the thread until it is fairly straight across the back of the fabric, but do not make it tight.
Push the needle straight down through 3 and pull until the thread is straight but not tight.
Continue sewing this way all through 12.
Step 3: Form a Petal
Gently pull the template off of the fabric.
One side of the fabric triangle will have short stitches along the edges, and the other side will have long stitches going across the width of the piece.
Fold the triangle in half with the long stitches on the inside. Hold the now folded triangle by the corner where the knot is with your right hand. Hold the thread with the needle in your left hand.
Gently pull the thread to the left until the triangle forms a petal.
Keep the thread and needle in place.
Step 4: Add More Petals
Start the next petal exactly like you did the first, but instead of a knot, you will have the previous petal.
I find it easiest to tuck the first petal into the palm of my left hand, hold the triangle with the fingers of my left hand, and sew with my right hand.
Finish the petal the same way and push it up against the first.
Keep adding petals until you are satisfied with the number. The template page has 5 petals, and that is how many I am putting on this flower.
Step 5: Finish the Flower
The "front" of the petal is the face with the knot in it. It tends to have deeper creases than the back.
Pass the needle through the first petal you made, keeping close to the original entrance and exit points.
Pull the thread tight and then run the needle through the petal from the place where the threads are to the center back.
Stitch through each of the little ends in a circle and pull tight. Tie a knot and clip off the thread.
Starting with a new length of thread with a knot at the end, run a stitch through two of the petals opposite each other, and then put a button on the thread.
Center the button on the front of the flower.
Pass the thread through two petals again, pull tight, tie a knot, and snip the thread.
Step 6: Add the Hair Clip
Cut a circle of felt to fit the back of the flower without being visible from the front.
Clip the circle inside the hair clip and center it on the back of the flower, aligning the clip with the petals so that it won't show from the front.
Sew the circle to the flower along one edge of the clip.
When you get to the edge of the circle, stitch it to the flower around the edge of the circle.
When you get to the part of the clip you pinch, pas the thread between the clip and the fabric so as to not interfere with the hinge.
When you get to the pointed end of the clip, pass a stitch or two through the clip. Don't sew down the upper part of the clip.
finish by stitching along the edge of the clip opposite where you started.
Step 7: Finished!
I love these clips. I make them while watching movies or listening to music.
For those with not enough hair, you can clip these to headbands. I did this a while back when I lost all of my hair in a bad bleaching incident. (I will never bleach my hair twice in a row again. >.<)
If you can't find little duckbill clips, you can use the kind I have in the picture (I have no idea what they are called.), but they will cause some of the petals to arc back in an odd way.
For low cost fabric and buttons, I went to the local thrift shop and bought some of the clothes from the rag bin at a dollar a bag. Some of the clothes had the buttons with four holes in them. These buttons are a little harder to make look nice, but if you cover them with fabric, they work quite well.