Friday, April 24, 2015

Singed Rose Tutorial

There's a very blank wall next to my daughter's bed and so I offered to make her a decorative garland to fill it a little.  I asked her what she would like on it, hoping for pom poms or maybe bunting, but she decided that she'd much rather have a garland of roses. Apparently roses are a lot more "princessy" than pom poms or bunting...  I didn't fancy buying a dozen or more fabric roses, so I decided to design my own pattern and make them myself.  That way it would be a lot easier to get colours to match her room and be significantly cheaper.  I've also been itching to have a play with singed flowers again.  There's something very exciting, satisfying and unpredictable about using a flame to shape and form fabric petals.

I had a brief play with singed flowers a couple of years ago, so I know it's a fairly simple process and you can get some very passable results with just a few simple steps - even as a beginner.

If you've never made singed flowers before, it's really very inexpensive to get started, you just need to be a little careful on your choice of fabric.  You are literally playing with fire so you need to make sure that your fabric is going to shrink and melt slightly on the edges when the flame comes near it and not go up in flames.  Please be extra cautious and test your fabric by burning it over a sink full of water.  100% nylon and polyester fabrics are usually best suited to making singed flowers.  Different fabrics react in different ways, some will curl up and go a shade darker at the edges, while others will stay flat or leave scorch marks, so it's always a good idea to buy a few small samples before you commit.

To make singed roses you will need:-

  • Nylon or polyester satin fabric.  (My favourite fabric for making singed flowers is Habutai polyester that I buy from my local Boyes store. It's only £1.75 a metre, it behaves how I want it to and I can make 10 roses out of a metre of fabric.)
  • A candle lighter. (Affiliate link.)  A tea light or regular candle would work, but you will have much more control with a candle lighter.
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • A needle
  • Pattern pieces.  You can print out my pattern pieces here.

Cut out your pattern pieces and tear your fabric into strips to fit the height of the pattern pieces.  I like to fold my fabric strips forward and backwards, concertina style, so that I ensure that all of the fabric is under the pattern piece.

To make 1 rose you will need to cut out 1 arc shape for the centre, 3 small petals, 9 medium petals and 5 large petals.  I'm planning on making 5 roses in this colour so I've layered up as many as will fit on a width of fabric.

Now comes the fun part - unfortunately it's a little tricky to photograph the singeing process as it takes two hands and a little concentration but there are quite a few videos on YouTube that have managed to capture the process.

Light the candle lighter and move the fabric shape and lighter towards each other until the fabric shrinks away from the flame.  You really just want to melt the outside edge of the petals to seal and shrink them so that the petals start to curl.  When you are singeing them, try to focus the heat on one side of the petal so that it forms a concave dish shape when all of the edge has been melted.

Thread your needle with about a metre of thread and secure it at one end of the lower arc by working three stitches on top of each other. Then work a running stitch along the bottom edge.

Gather the stitches a little so that the outside edge remains relatively flat...

... then roll up the arc to form the centre of the flower. Work several stitches through the fabric layers to secure it all together at the base.

Take the 3 smaller petal pieces and stitch them evenly around the base of the flower centre, making sure that they are positioned curling into the centre.

Now take 4 of the medium sized petals and sew them evenly around the flower centre, overlapping them so that they form a single circuit around the base. These 4 petals should also be positioned curling towards the centre.

Take the remaining 5 medium sized petals and sew them evenly around the base, overlapping them.  This time position the petals so that they are curling away from the centre.

Finally it's time to sew on the last 5 larger petals.  Again, these ones are positioned curling away from the flower centre and they should fill the gaps between the previous layer of petals.  Finish with 2 or 3 stitches on top of each other.

I'm really looking forward to putting together my garland of roses but I think that these would look equally beautiful as a hair accessory, brooch or even as an extra special gift decoration.

Copyright - I have provided the free pattern for personal use.  Make them for yourself or give them as gifts, sell them to raise funds for charity but please do not sell them for profit.  Thank you.


Please be sweet and share the love. Leave a comment, like my Facebook page for regular updates or follow me on Pinterest.
Follow me on PinterestLike me on FacebookFollow me on TwitterContact me

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Make the Quickest, Fluffiest Pom Poms Ever.

I'm going to share how to make the fastest, fluffiest, easiest poms you've ever seen.  I really don't think it can get any quicker than this! I wish I could take credit for the original idea, but I first saw this technique for making pom poms in bulk on Flax and Twine.  Basically she wrapped yarn around the legs of an upturned table and then knotted yarn around the long length at regular intervals to form many pom poms in one session.  

Although this did make the pom poms significantly faster to make, it would still have been very time consuming to wrap all of that yarn.

I thought it was such a genius, simple idea, but I realised that it could be made even quicker by using wool tops instead of yarn.

For non-spinners, wool top is often purchased by handspinners as it is a continuous length of wool staple fibres that have been combed after carding so that all of the fibres lie parallel.

Other than wool top, you really don't need any specialist equipment and you should find everything else you need to make  them around the house.

You will need:-

  • Wool tops - dyed or natural.  I buy my wool tops from World of Wool.
  • A clip or peg.
  • Yarn the same colour as your wool top.
  • Scissors.
  • A chair or table.

I used an upturned Ikea chair as the legs are straight and would allow the wool to be pulled off easily.  Any chair or table with smooth, straight legs would work.

Wrap the wool top around once and clip it in place somehow. I just used a plastic food clip.  It's really important to keep the length of wool as tight as possible as it reduces the amount of trimming you will need to do later.

Cut lots of 30cm lengths of yarn, one for every pom pom you plan on making. Tie the wool top tightly at both sides, close to the chair or table leg.

Now start loosely knotting your lengths of yarn at regular intervals along the length of your wool top. To tie your knots, cross the yarn over 3 times so that the knots will remain tight when you pull them. The distance between the knots will be the diameter of your pom poms so you might want to measure as you go.  My knots were all 5cm apart.

Once all of the knots are evenly spaced you can start securing the pom pom centres. Pull all of the knots tightly and then wrap the yarn around and knot the centres a couple more times, finishing with at least three knots.

With a sharp pair of scissors, cut the wool top between each of the knots, trying to cut smoothly through the perfect centre.

You should now have lots of little woolly haystacks with two uneven bundles on either end, one with a loop and one attached to the clip.  Cut the end of the loop off and trim the one attached to the clip so that they look more like the rest of the even haystacks.

Fluff out the wool fibres with your fingers so that they become little fluffy balls.  Roll them around in your hands to even out their shape a little.

If you've kept the wool top tight, and knotted and cut evenly, then the pom poms shouldn't need an awful lot of trimming to make them round.  This is all of the wool that I cut from my 11 pom poms.

Here they are in all their woolly glory!  Can you believe I managed to make 11 pom poms in less than half an hour? It would have taken even less time if I hadn't kept stopping to taking photos of each step.

As they are made from staple fibres rather than yarn they will shed a little so you might want to give them a shake and run your finger nail over them to encourage any loose fibres to fall out.  It does also mean that you wouldn't be able to make very large pom poms with this technique as you are limited by the staple length of the fibre, but this technique is perfect for making hundreds of little tiny pom poms relatively quickly.

I'm not sure that they would be durable enough for a hat or a cushion, but they would be perfect for a decorative item like a wreath or garland that wouldn't get too much handling.

Here's what I did with mine...

They made a perfect Red Nose Day accessory!  I attached hair clips to them all and clipped them into my daughter's hair in a Paloma Faith kind of way.  They looked fabulous decorating a French plait that travelled all the way around the back of her head.  She got so many compliments on them and they looked great all day!

If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy this:-


Please be sweet and share the love. Leave a comment, like my Facebook page for regular updates or follow me on Pinterest.
Follow me on PinterestLike me on FacebookFollow me on TwitterContact me