Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My First "Rosette" Attempt

I'm all giddy with happiness because after an entire weekend of feeling inspired, I was able to finish my first fabric flower applique last night. It took all of 2 hours to complete but I'm just happy it resembled a flower in the end.

Yes 2 hours. You see, I can't sew. I still remember a little of what they taught us in Home Economics class back in high school so I can stitch by hand a little. But I can't really create something out of fabric... even the really "simple" ones my mom kept telling was so simple it will only take a few minutes. Some things just aren't simple for me, mom. You know, stuff like sewing straight using a sewing machine? Never happened for me in spite of 4 years in high school trying.

Anyway, here's what I had before I started:

This dress was a gift for Andrea from my aunt. I love it! I don't think the photo did it much justice but it's eyelet lace in a muted green color with matching tights (the tights will be another project... I think).

Here's a picture of her wearing it:

The monochromatic look can get a little dull though, and after reading several craft blogs since last week, I decided this will be my first project. I will embellish with pink rosettes on the right shoulder to give it a little flash of color.

STEP 1: I started looking for materials I had on hand. The itch to start something came to me at 10PM last night so I didn't have many choices. Luckily, I found this pink sheer fabric printed with white leaves which I bought 4 years ago.

Back then, I only needed a small strip to cover the low neckline of a shirt I had but since I can't get scrap fabric, I had to buy a yard of it. (We will talk about other fabrics I bought in the past but never used... I actually have a lot of craft materials I bought and uh... never seldom use, but that story will be for another day).

STEP 2: Cut a 2 inch strip from the fabric. I had no idea how long I needed so I cut a 2 inch strip from the entire length. I figured, if I made a mistake, I have room to cut.

My fabric is the type that frays a lot... so I also had to cut of the frayed edges.

STEP 3: My mind went blank. After reading several blogs on how to make fabric flowers, I realized I never really "read" them. I only looked at the pictures. Aaarrggh!!

My plan was to put 3 rosettes here:

I tried to free hand it. I later found out, it was ambitious for someone who doesn't know anything about what she's doing. So I folded my 2-inch strip into 2 halves... you should end up with a 1-inch strip. And then, here's what took me an hour... I twisted, turned, pinned, scrunched up the fabric to make it look like a rose. FAIL.

I decided to sew directly on the fabric. I pinned one end of my 1-inch strip to the center of the neckline. Since it was already around 11PM at the time, I didn't think I can do 3 rosettes. I will have to settle for one, in the center. Open side of the fold is facing down.

STEP 3: I created small folds (pleats?) trying to create a circular shape. I put pins in each pleat so keep them in place (sorry, no photo... I was already too stressed about the entire thing at the time). After I completed the first circle, I stitched each pleat in shape. I stitched by hand and I have no idea what kind of stitch I used 0_o

STEP 4: Continue making small folds, creating a smaller circle than the first one and repeat previous steps to complete the smaller circle.

STEP 5: Twist the remaining fabric and "swirl" into a rose shape in the middle. Cut off remaining fabric if there are any (I had to cut off around 6 inches of excess fabric strip from mine). Make sure to tuck and fold all edges under. And then stitch with no rhyme or reason. As long as you can secure the center and tuck in all edges that should be fine.

Here's what I ended up with:

Yaaay!! It actually looks like a flower, doesn't it??? Let's take a closer look:

I used white thread to stitch. If you look closely, I think you can see my stitches, the frays. My initial fold from the 2-inch to 1-inch wasn't perfect so I compensated by stitching way above the open edges and then cross my fingers that the fray won't reach the stitches and unravel the whole thing.

STEP 6. I wanted to cover the middle to hide some of my ugly stitches. I initially wanted to do this:

But that flower bead is a little heavy and bulky. And it's glass... it might not survive in the wash. So I tore off a rosette glued to a gift box I had and sewed that in the middle (I didn't have glue within reach and it was nearing 12 midnight by this time... I didn't want to go looking for one). Then I sewed small pearl beads on one side to... hide frayed edges accessorize? I have no idea how the finished product will fare in a washing machine, even if I use a laundry net, but I thought that if the flower fell apart... I can just remove the stitches and Andrea will still have her plain lace dress.

This is my final product:

Closer look at my flower:

*insert BIG smile here*

I hope to make a proper tutorial some day, when I consider myself good enough. But for now, I'm thinking of how to add matching accent to the leggings (though in reality, I just want to get Andrea pale pink tights from the mall to match the flower... let's see how it goes).

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