Shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools: the cold method
I am well aware of the fact that not everyone has got a set of traditional millinery tools to shape flower petals and leaves. Although this does cause certain restrictions with regards to the techniques that can be used and the final results, there are methods that can be successfully applied without the use of tools.
Below I am explaining how you can shape petals using a so called cold shaping method.
To be able to use this method you will require some fabric petals (silk, rayon or thin cotton) and a piece of thin preferably silk fabric about 40cm*40 cm or slightly larger larger( I am using a silk-cotton mixed fabric here).
First, moisten the cloth either by spraying it with water from a spray bottle or wetting it under the tap. Next, wring the cloth very well so it is only just about moist, almost dry. If the fabric is too wet it can ruin the dyes on your petals. It will not shape them either.
Now, fold the square of fabric diagonally as shown in the picture.
Then take a petal and fold it in half lengthwise. In the photo I am using pairs of poppy petals, connected with a staple, so I am going to be shaping two petals at a time.This can work for thin fabrics. For the petals made of thicker fabrics it is advisable to shape them one by one for the best results.
Place the folded petal in between the two layers of diagonally folded moistened cloth as shown in the picture. The folded side of the petal touches the folded side of the cloth (this is important).
Now it’s high time we shaped the petal. Place the palm of your left hand over the whole of the petal (which is sitting between the layers) and press firmly onto it, especially the very bottom (the base) of the petal. With your right hand pull the right corner of the the cloth away from the left hand that is pressing down the petal.
Pressing the petal firmly (particularly at the very base) with your left palm pull the cloth with an effort with your right hand clockwise following the black arrows. Having done a semi-circle with the right hand ease off and let the cloth gradually go.
The cloth should form a network of very fine wrinkles under your palm and in turn it will wrinkle the petal that has been placed between the layers of the cloth. The finer the lines of the shaping the better the result.
You might want to practice on a spare petal first to get an idea of how to shape petals using this method. If you are not happy with the result you can return the same petal back into the cloth and shape again. But try not to do this too many times as it will make the petal creased more than shaped.
This cold method of shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools works particularly well with such flowers like peonies, irises and poppies. The top edge or the petal can be curled with a pair of heated tweezers or by hand, which does make this method totally millnery tool free ☺
I hope you find this information useful and applicable to the flowers you make. If you wish to attend a flower making workshop
to practice this method, please consider taking part in SILK POPPY HAIRPIECE WORKSHOP (click on the photo below for more information).