millinery tools

Flower making tools, part 1: Extra narrow flower shaping tools

For 2019 I have planned a series of short videos demonstrating how to works with different types of flower tools.
I believe this will help you understand your tools better and use them to their full potential achieving great shapes and lines on your petals and leaves.
For this week I have prepared the first one of these videos. For the first video I have chosen one of my favourite tools and probably one of the most used ones, the EXTRA NARROW  FLOWER SHAPING TOOLS.

Here are a couple of points I’d like to draw your attention to before you watch the video:

❀ The extra narrow tools are very versatile and can be used on either leaves, petals or other parts of flowers
❀ Using extra narrow tools you can shape most leaves for your unique designs in the fabrics, the colours and sizes you require
❀ These tools have been used in a number of our tutorials, both leather as well as fabric, Leather Butterfly TutorialSilk Orchid TutorialVelvet Lily Tutorial and Silk Iris Tutorial to name a few.
❀ You can use these tools to give your silk butterfly wings a crisp edge (see Silk and Lace Butterfly Tutorial)
❀ When working with these tools use the medium pad and check the temperature often as they get overheated easily due to the small size.
❀ When ordering the extra narrow tools online make sure you have chosen properly made really extra narrow tools that can perform difficult tasks when doing shaping. A lot of tools sold online are of mediocre quality and will not deliver the results I am showing in the video.
❀ Check below the video (on YouTube) for the links to different supplies and tutorials mentioned or shown in the video.
❀ Enjoy using your tools, experiment as much as you can and watch other videos on my channel that demonstrate alternative uses of these and other tools
To watch the video click on the photo below.

extra narrow flower shaping tools video

Below are the links to the extra narrow tools available from my website (limited quantity in stock).
millinery tools
Pantone Spring Summer 2019

Pantone colours Spring Summer 2019

Each season the team at the Pantone Color Institute creates the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report; a colour overview highlighting the top colours fashion designers showing at London Fashion Week will be featuring in their collections for the upcoming season. With colour on the catwalk a key indicator of the colour stories we can expect to see showing up across all areas of design, the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report is your easily accessible guide to the season’s most important colour trends.

Let’s have a look what the Pantone Team has prepared for us this coming season, shall we?

 

pantone colours spring summer 2019

soldering flower iron

How to choose a flower iron?

Which tools to choose?

To make the most of the flower making tutorials I and other tutors offer one must have a set of flower shaping tools.
Flower shaping or otherwise known as millinery tools… We use millinery tools to shape fabric or leather in order to create realistic or artistic petals and leaves which we then assemble into

flower pieces. They are essential for the craft (and ART) and yet they cause more questions than any other aspect of flower making. flower shaping millinery tools

Traditionally millinery tools have always been on separeate handles and required heating over an open flame or using other sources of heat.  The famous Atelier Legeron which supply Parisian fashion houses with silk flowers still use traditional tools like these.
However there is another option available to us, flower artists, now. I am talking about an electric iron and millinery tools that are inserted inside it to be heated.
To use a traditional set or a more modern electric flower iron may be down to personal preferences. But I do believe that the electric iron set allows to work quicker. It is advisable to have 2 or 3 flower irons so that when shaping a flower you could have 2-3 tools that are required for shaping it, heated and ready to be used at the same time.
Sets on separate handles come from the times when there was no electricity. So why not use the achievements of the civilization to our advantage? If you have inherited a set of tools on separate handles or you have already got one of those, you can of course continue using it. For those of you who are thinking about purchasing a new set I would recommend to go for an electric flower iron with a set of interchangeable tips (see the photo of the tips above).

Which flower iron to choose?

I am often asked by students about what flower iron to use.

Whilst I offer flower tools on my website, I do not sell flower irons. This happens for several reasons. First of all, soldering irons are not a particularly specialist piece of kit and can be easily obtained (although you will need to know which one to buy!).

Another thing soldering flower iron is that my students live all over the world, which means your sockets and plugs might be very different from mine.
Luckily I can recommend the flower iron I have been using myself for 5+ years. It  seems to be a popular global model and sells in different countries with the right socket that suits each country.
This flower iron is compatible with different tools I have seen, used and owned myself. However, in case if your tools are wider than 6 mm at the part which is inserted into an iron, this model is not for you.
You can easily pick up the right soldering iron on Amazon in your country. You need this Weller SP40N 40 Watt High Performance Soldering Iron (see the photo on the right).
For France and other European counties please use this link to find out more about the iron.
For the US and Canada please use this link to find out more about the iron.

japanese style flower shaping tools

flower making tools full setflower making tools

combination flower shaping tool

leather camellia brooch

JANUARY 2019 Flower of the Month: CAMELLIA

Welcome to 2019's new monthly section devoted to the Flower of the Month.
In here, taking into account the seasonality and other factors I will be presenting you with some of my best flower making tutorials and tutorial bundles at ... the best prices. silk camellia
For the month of January I have picked out for you the Camellia flower. And, since camellias come in different shapes and sizes TWO Camellia tutorials are awaiting you this month (the offer is valid till 31 January 2019)

If there are any seasonal fabric flowers, this metallic fabric backed velvet version must be one of them.

The detailed step-by-step tutorial reveals the secret behind smoothly shaped petals arranged in a near perfect geometric flower shape.

Rumors have it that Chanel's camellias have 26 petals. My version features 33 of them. It is a little stylised version of the camellia flower with its near perfect geometric shape and a flat back, which makes it ideal in many projects ranging from jewellery to millinery. You can make it oversized like I did with the black one in the photo collage below and turn it into a hairpiece. Small camellias will look great as shoe clips, small stick pins or corsages. This flower can be made with a wide number of fabrics (think heavy satin, denim, linen, cotton, tweed etc) as well as LEATHER . In the tutorial you will learn how to work with velvet, which can be challenging if you have not tackled it before.

 

As the flower of the month you can now purchase the tutorial and the tutorial+kit bundle with a discount (-15% and -20% respectively). All discounts have already been applied on the website. Please click on the images below to find out more and purchase.

Velvet Camellia Tutorial + DIY kit

Velvet Camellia Tutorial

fabric camellia tutorial
In case if you are after a more realistic delicate looking camellia flower, my detailed VIDEO tutorial on camellia japonica might be what you need

silk camellias

Camellia flowers are beautiful but very short lived. Now you can create your own camellia corsage, hairpiece or a hat trim with these striking blooms in the colour of your choice to enjoy throughout the year.
For realistic colour combinations visit a garden with flowering camellias, go online or browse through a gardening book.
The video tutorial will guide you through the process of dyeing the fabrics, shaping all the parts with millinery tools and assembling your flowers together.
To make your delicate camellia japonica flowers use silk or rayon satin with its smooth slightly shiny surface that so much resembles the real camellia petals.
As the flower of the month you can now purchase the VIDEO tutorial and the tutorial+kit bundle with a discount (-15% and -20% respectively). All discounts have already been applied on the website. Please use the buttons below to find out more and purchase.

Fabric Camellia VIDEO tutorial + DIY kit

Fabric Camellia VIDEO Tutorial

I hope you will enjoy making your fabric (and leather!) camellias this January!

How to attach silk flowers to a headband

 

There are different ways of attaching your couture silk or leather flowers to a headband.

 

 

Here's one of them that I like using in my work. This way your flower (s) is not permanently attached to a headband, therefore can be taken off at attached to a hat or used in another way.

 

 

 

First, cover the headband with a strip of velvet in the chosen colour (hand dyed or otherwise).

 

Prepare a strip of velvet about twice as wide as the headband (my headband is 7mm wide, my strip of fabric is 15 mm wide) and long enough to cover the headband + about 3 cm ends allowance.

 

Start by covering the headband with a layer of glue and glue the strip onto the headband (the headband is right in the middle of the strip).

 

 

Using a matching thread or an invisible one sew the edges of the velvet strip all along the underneath of the headband. Make sure the velvet strip covers the headband very snugly (see the photos).

 

Neatly sew in the edges, try to make the seams in this area as flat as possible.

 

 

To make them even flatter, apply a small dot of glue onto the seams and then rub it in either with your fingers or better still against the worksurface by pressing hard on the headband.

 

Next, to hide the seam and finish the headband prepare a nice ribbon in the appropriate width. I am using a golden lame ribbon here.

 

Apply thick HARD glue onto the ribbon and glue it to the underside of the headband all along its length (see the photos).

 

Leave the finished headband to dry completely.

 

Next, you need to make the 2-3 velvet covered wires that will be used to attach the flowers to the headband.

 

 

To make these velvet covered wires prepare 3 cuts of wire #24 about 15-25 cm long and strips of velvet about 1.5 cm wide and as long as the wires.

 

Apply a layer of glue onto the wrong side of one of the strips of velvet. Then, place a wire right in the middle of the strip (see the photo on the

right).

 

Fold the strip and press the edges together to hide the wire well in the fold of the fabric.

 

Then, lay the wire on the work surface and using a sharp object (tweezers or awl) press its tips along the whole length of the wire slowly but steadily (see the photo on the right).

The wire should be snugly hidden inside the fold of the green velvet fabric.

 

Next, using the line that you have just pressed with the tweezers as your guide, cut off any excess fabric in one smooth cut (the left picture). BE CAREFUL here and do not cut too close to the wire to avoid exposing it. The right picture shows the 3 ready velvet covered wires. Leave to dry completely. 

 

 

To attach the flowers curve the lily stem slightly to sit well over the headband. Using your velvet covered wires attach this stem in 2-3 places by wrapping the wires around the stem and the headband as shown above.

 

You can curl up the ends of the wires with a pair of pliers to turn them into additional decorative elements as shown in the photos.

 

 

The photo below shows the finished velvet lily headpiece from the back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To economise or not on tools and supplies for making flowers? Part II

Not so long ago we started discussing whether a flower making artist can or can not economise on tools and supplies without compromising the quality of a finished piece.

Read To economise or not on tools and supplies for making flowers? Part I here.

millinery toolsAs we saw there was no definite “yes” or “no” answer. Rather, one has to approach and estimate every aspect separately in order to make a decision.
Thus, I recommended to try and choose a really good quality set when it comes to flower making TOOLS.
Low quality tools will not last you. They will be uncomfortable to use and will leave you dissatisfied with your work and a finished item. Why go through all of this when you can have a much easier and more productive life with a decent (but probably more expensive) set of tools?
Occasionally I offer basic sets of tools for sale. If you are interested in one please let me know so that I can put one aside for you Friend when they are next available.
 On the other hand when it comes to DYES and BRUSHES there is a choice here.
I do think that liquid dyes, like water based Javana silk paints  are easier to use, especially if you are a beginner. However, they are more expensive than powder dry dyes, like Dytek Procion Dye by ColourCraft, which I mostly use myself. Powder dyes are very economic and will last you a long time. If you wish you could get several plastic dropper bottles of Amazon and prepare some liquid dyes by simply diluting the powder dyes in water. These dyes should keep reasonably well. I often store the leftovers of my dyes in tiny jam jars and have never experienced any problem with them.
As for the brushes, normal flat synthetic ones in a variety of widths will do you fine. However, if you’d like to splash out, there are specially made fur brushes for painting on fabric. Made with deer or horse hair, they come in different sizes and can be rather pricey. If you have ever attended any of my workshops you might have had a chance to see them in the flesh  and use them.
leather poppy kit

The last but not the least thing I wanted to talk about is the KNOWLEDGE.

Yes, you get it right, the knowledge of the craft. Do not try and save here, at least not before you have acquired some solid foundations of flower making, tried a variety of techniques and approaches, made a number of flowers. Then you can go on and experiment yourself, develop your style and invent new techniques. That of course if you are serious about flower making and wish to master it, enjoy the process as well as the result.
The good news is, there are so many flowers in the world, we can not possibly get bored making them, do you agree with me? The bad news is, once you’ve mastered one flower, that’s it, you’ve mastered just one flower. The knowledge of how to make a rose will be pretty useless if you need to create a chrysanthemum or a sunflower. Flowers differ a lot and so do the techniques and patterns. Have a look at pictures of real roses, they are soooo different. To make them look as different when made of fabric or leather you will need to use different patterns and techniques too.
 Are you overwhelmed by this or excited to learn new things?
If the latter is the case, then hopefully you’ll be glad to know that we have worked hard and prepared an ever growing library of downloadable detailed step-by-step tutorials on a wide range of flowers so you can start enjoying flower making right now. Explore the current range of our flower making tutorials HERE
how to make flower stamens

How to make flower stamens

how to make flower stamens 1

 

Did you know you could make your own flower stamens to be used in fabric and leather flowers in case you do not have access to factory made or for some reason they are not suitable for your project?
Often tiny stamens for small and blooms can be difficult to obtain. That’s why today I am showing how to make very small stamens similar to those most roses have. You can also use them for cherry blossom, apple blossom and other small flowers.

 

What you’ll require  is some PVA glue (or other stiffener), thick cottonhow to make flower stamens 3

thread and  some acrylic paint in brown , yellow or other suitable colour.

 

 

First, the thread needs to be stiffened. That will give it some body and let the stamens hold the shape in a flower once assembled. You can starch it or use your preferred stiffener. I simply cover a length of thread with PVA. To do that apply a blob of glue on your index finger and run the thread between the index finger and thumb to coat with glue as shown.

 

how to make flower stamens

 

 

To make sure the stiffened thread dries straight I like using a weight and hang it to dry (I am using a large wooden star as a weight in the photo). Because you will need to make a considerable amount of small stamens for each flower, try hanging several long threads at a time and leave them to dry.

 

 

Once the threads are dry and stiff (if you use PVA it dries rather quickly), cut them

how to make flower stamens

up into individual stamens. The standard length of a double sided stamen strand is around 5 cm, but you can always adjust the length to suit your project and make them either shorter or longer.

 

 

 

Now squeeze out some acrylic paint onto a piece of card, fold a piece of thread in half and dip the  tips into the paint. To get  enough paint onto the tips try dipping a couple of times. The thicker the thread the more paint will stick to it and stay on the tips.

how to make flower stamens

 

 

 

I am using a very thin thread here so the drops of paint on the tips are quite small after one dip. For more impact please use a thicker thread (and / or more paint).

 

 

Now the freshly made stamens need to dry. I am using an improvised rack created by placing a couple of thick wires across ahow to make flower stamens box or a box lid (pictured). Simply hang the stamens in rows over the wires and leave them to dry completely. Make sure to space the stamens well apart to prevent them from sticking to each other when the paint is still wet. In a couple of hours  you have got your handmade stamens ready to be used.

 

 

 

Now you know how to make flower stamens. However, this by no means is the only way of making flower stamens. We might be exploring other options in our forthcoming  blog posts and tutorials.

how to make flower stamens 8

 

 

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below you will find some tutorials that cover the use of different stamens in flower making.

 

thistle jewellery

Thistle jewellery made of leather and fur

fur leather thistle corsage

Which thistle corsage do you prefer: s furry fantasy or a more realistic one? Some customers can’t decide and so they order both versions of our leather thistle corsage.

These pieces of leather thistle jewellery have been very popular lately so we decided to offer an in-person workshop on the leather and fur variation. Moreover, as a BONUS you will be given additional instructions on how to make and assemble a more realistic version with purple flowers.

What you’ll learn in this workshop:

❀ making the stiffening solution for leather flowers

❀ stiffening and shaping leaves by hand

❀ stiffening leather flat

❀ shaping parts of flowers with millinery tools

❀ assembling flowers in different sizes

❀ arranging foliage for the design

❀ assembling all the elements together into a wearable corsage

 

To book your space at the Leather and Fur Corsage Workshop please visit our Workshop page.

To order your leather thistle corsage in either variation please visit our online shop.

 

leather thistle jewellery

 

tools and supplies for making flowers

To economise or not on tools and supplies for making flowers? Part I

flower shaping millinery toolsWhether you are relatively new to flower making or you have been creating blooms for a while you know that tools and supplies for making flowers can get rather pricey. In case if you ever wondered whether there is something you could spend less on without compromising the quality of a finished item, this article would be of interest to you.

Let’s talk about bare necessities for a flower making artist and find out where it makes sense to save some money, and where it is advisable to invest in the best possible tools or supplies for making flowers.

There are certain things that you should not economise on. The first one is a set of millinery or flower shaping tools. Make sure you invest in a good quality basic set of tools, that you can expand later on as you develop your skills in flower making. A basic one must include a range of balls from tiny 2 mm to 30 mm or so, knives for scoring veins (with or without groves), tools for scoring softer lines, a hook and possibly some other tools depending on the manufacturer.
Pictured is  the extended set of tools I use for making my flowers and flower pieces..Rubber pads for millinery tools
Tools can be made of brass or other metals, this is not that important.
To heat up the tools you will require a soldering iron. I would not try and cut costs here. I tried working with a number of cheap soldering irons before and I all I can say that not only do they burn out really quickly, but they might be very dangerous for you, too. To be on the safe side get yourself one of the tried and tested ones from  Amazon or your local hardware shop. I am very pleased withthis Weller one available of Amazon.

 

To shape petals and leaves you’ll need some rubber and foam pads. Here you can get creative. As long as your pads deliver the right results you can use rubber or foam you have sourced yourself. I do offer professional flower shaping pads on my websiteif you do not have time to source your own. Should you want to make your own flower shaping pads, remember that the medium one is about 15 to 20 mm thick and is rather resistant. You can make one yourself out of old style mouse pads by cutting one in half, stacking 2 halves one on top of the other and covering them with a piece of plain thin cotton fabric. The soft one, however, is a much softer foam type pad about 30 mm thick and can be substituted by a suitable foam from a supermarket or a hardware shop. Do not forget to cover it with a piece of plain thin cotton fabric as well.

taster fabric packThen naturally you will need fabric (or leather) to make petals and leaves out of. This is a vast subject. But what ever you choose, be it natural silks that you stiffen yourself, some vintage re-purposed fabrics or professional factory made flower making materials go for the best quality you can.

There is nothing wrong in stiffening your own fabrics. Quite frankly sometimes it is the only choice, when for example you are asked to incorporate a customers fabric into their flower piece. Just make sure you use the best stiffener for the fabric in question, stiffen it flat to ensure no creases spoil the look of your petals and go for it.
However, if you wish to try something different or if you do not have time to stiffen your own fabrics, factory stiffened fabrics can be a great solution for you. Some professional flower making fabrics only exist in this prestiffened ready to use form and you won’t be able to find them anywhere at an ordinary haberdashery department. Some of these wonderful fabrics are currently for sale in my online shop. I am in love with the cotton velvet with its short pile and and the sparkly lame fabrics that are great for festive and fantasy designs.
Fabrics are offered by fat quarter but larger quantities (from 1m) can be available by request at a reduced price.
There’s more to the art of flower making that meets the eye. There are a lot of other tools and supplies for making flowers that are involved in the process of turning a flat white piece of material into a stunning colourful flower piece. To achieve a realistic or fantasy look for your flowers you will need to paint the fabric of your choice with some fabric dyes. Which ones? To stay tuned subscribe to our newsletter HERE
To read To economise or not on tools and supplies for making flowers? Part II click here
schedule full subscription 2018

Flower Making Tutorial SUBSCRIPTION 2018

For the second year running we are excited to be able to present you with our tutorial Subscription packages. Much like with a magazine subscription here you subscribe to a series of tutorials, and receive a new one into your inbox on the 1 day of every month (or on the 1 day of every alternate month in case of 6 month subscriptions)
As last year, there are three types of tutorial packages:
❀ a full 12 month subscription (includes 12 tutorials  on both leather and fabric flowers + a bonus)
❀ a 6 month fabric subscription (includes 6 fabric flower tutorials)
❀ a 6 month leather subscription (includes 6 leather flower tutorials)

Here are some of the benefits of our Subscription packages:

❀ 12 new and unique flower making tutorial designs
❀ Value for money
❀ Variety of flowers AND finishes
❀ NEW package options including both tutorials and DIY flower making kits (see below)
❀ Discounts on DIY flower making kits throughout the year
❀ Access to all the Bonus mini-tutorials automatically included in the packages
❀ Lowest price guaranteed when purchased at launch
❀ NEW dedicated Facebook group exclusively for the Subscription 2018 members
❀ NEW special offers for in-person workshops

❀ +1 more BONUS Flower Tutorial 

The schedule for the 12 month Subscription 2018 Fabric and Leather Art Flower Package is the following:

leather butterfly tutorial

 

❀ January – leather butterfly – BUY HERE 

 

Silk Apple Blossom tutorial

 

❀ February – fabric apple blossom – BUY HERE

 

 

 

fabric hydrangea tutorial

 

❀ April – fabric hydrangea – BUY HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

❀ August – fabric rose

❀ September – leather orchid

❀ October – fabric passion flower

❀ November – leather grapes

❀ December – fabric water lily

 

❀ + 1 BONUS tutorial on Fabric Iris

All the tutorials are developed and prepared by Svetlana Faulkner, the creative mind behind PresentPerfect Creations. They come in the form of detailed step-by-step photo tutorials and include short video insertions to demonstrate the most tricky points for you, too.

 

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