Alright, what do you know how to do?
I’m not skilled in the fine arts of making my own clothing like some fabulous bloggers I follow (ahem, Natasha, who I am endlessly jealous of). I can, however, make something that is old, boring, and no longer useful into something new, exciting, and useful. This time, I was working with an old cardigan that had lost its sparkle and been replaced. I haven’t been able to bring myself to throw the thing out or resell it, but I also haven’t worn it in a good long time. Enter craftiness! Inspired by the cardigan applique-ing skills demonstrated by E. of academichic (but feeling wary of the iron and my propensity for burning myself with it), I decided to take that boring old cardigan and add to it a flourish of flowers!
Yep, I want to do that. How’s it all work?
Step 1 — things you’ll need:
This is your basic easy-peasy sewing project, so you need needle, thread, sewing scissors; the fabric you’re sacrificing for the flowers; and just a little yellow felt for the center of the flower. And, of course, whatever item you’re embellishing (and yeah, I forgot to take a before picture of the cardigan.)
This bit is equally easy. Cut out some messy, silver-dollar-ish sized circles. You can cut some more oval-shaped ones, some smaller, some larger, some kidney-shaped ones, whatever. The more variety to the flowers, the more organic and pleasing the final project will look. Then, for each circle, pinch the center of the fabric into three to five folds, so that it looks like a poppy, and sew the back with a few stitches to hold it in place. Where you choose to fold, stitch, and cinch will also change the shape and look of the poppy, so be creative and make a variety of shapes.
Step 3 — make it work:
Now here’s the fun part. Start arranging the flowers on your cardigan, creating whatever look you want. I chose to have them cascade from the top right lapel down to the bottom left, in more or less random placement. But you can have them evenly spaced, in little clusters, whatever you like best. I recommend placing a few down and getting a feel for how you want them to look before you start sewing them down. But then you just start stitching them in! Add little squares of the yellow felt in the center as you stitch for a distinctly floral look (or don’t for a more abstract-ruffles look). When you’ve got them all more or less in their places, use some invisible thread to stitch down whatever you don’t want moving (like long petals, etc.) I tended to create clusters of greater and lesser density, so where I had more together, I stitched a few of the petals together, and where I had less, I stitched the petals down just a little. This creates a touch more order to the look and is entirely optional.
When it’s all together, you could be really classy and sew (or iron) on an inside lining to cover evidence of the stitches. I’m not that classy (or patient — this project will take you a while!), so for now I’m letting it be. Now all that’s left is to look fabulous in your new cardigan!
Step 4 — final notes:
- This should probably be hand washed from here on out.
- Varying colors or even patterns on the flowers is something I haven’t tried yet, but could be very chic. I’ve also never tried bringing the embellishments around the neck or onto the back of the item.
- These little poppies are possibly the easiest things to make. I originally got the shape from a Klutz tissue paper flowers book that I’d loved as a young crafter. There are a lot of other great flowers in the book and I’ve experimented with making more varieties out of fabric, but my patience is not notoriously long, so I’ve usually failed and given up. If you can make it happen, please do!
- You could certainly embellish the same way onto any item of clothing, which I’m hoping to try my hand at soon!
- I would love to see any final projects if any of you make your own version, so let me know! And of course, throw any questions my way. Happy crafting, kiddos!