More on flower shaping aka millinery tools

More on flower shaping aka millinery tools

Flower shaping or otherwise known as millinery tools… We use millinery tools to shape fabric 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.

In our previous articles we have discussed how one could shape petals and leaves without the use of tools ( Shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools ). Yes it is possible, but really rather limiting. Owning a set of tools gives you many more possibilities when it comes to flower making, in particular if you are interested in our yearly SUBSCRIPTION programme (learn more and register your interest for 2018 here). To make the most of the tutorial Subscription one must have a set of flower shaping tools.

Today I will try and answer 5 hottest questions about flower shaping tools that I hear most often.
❀ 1 ❀ Which is a better set: the one on separate handles or the one that comes with an electric iron?
This could possibly be down to personal preferences but I 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 at the same time. Sets on separate handles come from the times when there was no electricity, 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).
❀ 2 ❀ Do I have to have a whole set? How many tools will I really need?

millinery tools

 

There are a lot of different flower shaping tools. Some are used very often and are a part of any basic set, others are more rare and specialist. So how many of them will
one flower maker need?
Each tool has been designed for a particular purpose whether it scoring a line, creating a concave or curling up fabric. Some tools are interchangeable and differ only by the design, but are really meant to do the same job. I would say if you are thinking about making flowers seriously, it is good to have a starter or basic set which consists of a number of round tips of different diameters from about 3 mm to 30 mm, two knives to score lines, two chrysanthemum tools to create softer lines, a tube making attachment and a hook. Later you can add  such tools as lily-of-the-valley attachment or forget-me-not tool, or 35mm and 40mm round tools as optional extras.
The main thing to understand is that the more tools you have the more options there are at your disposal to shape fabric. Start with a basic one and build up your set by adding other invaluable tips to it ad you go along. In love with flower making? Then do not hesitate, get the whole lot straightaway and start creating.
If you own a set of tools but you believe you could do with some additional tools, consider our special offer on 2 extra narrow millinery tools which are indispensable for shaping leaves as well as petals. They are used in most of our tutorials.
❀ 3 ❀ What metal should the tools be made of?
Some tools are made of brass, hence the yellow-golden colour. This metal heats up well and does not rust which makes it a good choice for flower shaping tips. On the other hand, steel tools are available for sale as well.  Steel takes a bit longer to heat up but otherwise is an excellent choice too. Some Japanese tools are made of brass, mainly round tips (because it heats quicker), and others are made of steel (knives, chrysanthemum tools etc), there are some that are even made of a combination of both (a forget-me-not tip).In any case let not the metal stop you when choosing millinery tools, you should be alright using a set made of either brass or steel.
❀ 4 ❀ Where to buy a good set of millinery tools?
Suppose you have not got any, where do you go to get one?
Flower shaping tool set is a highly specialised item that can not be picked up at your local craft shop and only sold by very few. The easiest way is of course to buy online and have the set shipped to where you live. Places to check out is ebay and Etsy. You can also pick up some antique flower making tools at your local antiques shop or again online. Another option is to buy a set of tools of your flower teacher.At the moment you can place an order for a flower shaping tool sets here. These are the exact same sets I have used myself for the last 6 years for making flowers, teaching and filming my tutorials.
❀ 5 ❀ Why are millinery tools so expensive? Can I find them anywhere cheap?
Are the millinery tools expensive? I guess they are. And they are not. No more than hat blocks or other tools that we use for creating our handmade masterpieces. Regard the purchase of a set of flower shaping tools as an investment in yourself and in your ability to create countless gorgeous flowers with their help. I would steer clear of very cheap sets as the quality might not be there and you will end up throwing money to the wind. Better start with a smaller good quality reliable set and then just add more tools to it as you go along.
flower making tools full set

I am pleased to offer  the exact same full 22 piece set of flower shaping tools that I use for making all of my designs, film my tutorials and teach,

These sets of flower shaping millinery tools can be ordered HERE.
So if you are considering subscribing to our monthly flower making tutorials in 2018 make sure you have all the necessary tools to work with during the learning process.
Why buy flower making kits?

Why buy flower making kits?

If you have follower our recent tutorial releases you have probably noticed that with every new tutorial we try and offer you to buy flower making kits as well.

leather poppy kit BROOCH
Leather Poppy Brooch KIT

Now, you might prefer to source your own materials, if you know well what you are looking for. However, if you have not had much experience in flower making as we offer it, hunting down the right materials can be more complicated than it seems. That’s why when making your first silk or leather flowers you might want to try one of our flower making kits.
Although having a kit is just a part of success, you will get a very good understanding of what materials I use myself when I make my flower pieces as well as develop tutorials for you Friend. Next time when you source your own materials you will know exactly what you need. Say, leather for leather flowers has to be rather thin, soft and pliable, with as little sealant or coating as possible, to give the required result. If you make a leather poppy from our latest tutorial using a kit, you will get the feel of the suitable leather you want to source for your future projects.

Silk Dandelion kit
Silk Dandelion Clock KIT

 

Some flowers may require specialist fabrics because of their nature. One of such flowers is the Silk Dandelion Clock made with finest pure silk organza.
Luckily, the silk dandelion clock can be made without the use of flower shaping tools. All you need is one of our Silk Dandelion Clock kits, some silk dyes, good quality thick PVA glue and lots of patience to create this jaw dropping design.

Due to popular demand, we are now developing flower making kits for of our older tutorials, like this one on the Wild Leather Rose Corsage. That’s another great flower that can be made without the use of flower shaping/ millinery tools. All the parts of this open leather rose design are hand shaped, the petals being finished with a pair of tweezers. A limited quantity of the Wild Leather Rose Corsage kits is now available on our website.

 

 

Remember that our kits are flat packed and therefore can not contain any dyes, glue or tools.
If you have a question regarding any of these, please get in touch with us via enquiries@presentperfectcreations.com to receive a recommendation or advice on what sort of dyes, tools or glue are the best to use and where to obtain them.
A lot of basic information of this kind can be found in my introductory ebooks on Silk and Leather flower making, designed specifically for beginners, as well as at the beginning of each tutorial.

 

Backing of handmade flower petals and leaves

Backing of handmade flower petals and leaves

silk camelliasTo back or not to back [ handmade flower petals and leaves with fabric ]? If you have not yet decided on this one, I hope this article will help you make up your mind.
So let’s see why, how and with what we back flower petals and leaves. If you have been following PresentPerfect Creations for a while and had a chance to see our tutorials you might have noticed that I always back foliage with a layer of fabric and quite often (depending on the project though) I do the same with flower petals.

On one hand, flower petals should look thin and delicate, but on the othcamellia japonica comp screen JPEGer hand since we make wearable flower pieces they need to be durable and robust enough to withstand wear, pressure and possible damage to some extent at least. Reinforcing handmade flower petals and leaves with another layer of fabric really helps achieve certain durability. Have a look at the camellia flowers above. Would you be able to guess that they are actually cardboard hard? They certainly do not look it and that’s the trick: whilst backing petals with another layer of fabric to give them a look of delicacy and fragility that we see in fresh flowers at the same time.

There are different ways of achieving this look and make your stiff durable flowers appear full of life. The techniqueoversized flower headpieces will vary from flower to flower but as a rule we use a flower iron and a pair of tweezers to shape parts. My SILK CAMELLIA JAPONICA CORSAGE video tutorial explains the process in detail.
If you happen to attend one of my workshops on an OVERSIZED ROSE HEADPIECE, you have experienced petal backing to full extent. Indeed this oversized rose is made of large satin petals that are all backed with a layer of thin silk. This job requires precision, speed, dexterity and neatness. The good news is, practice makes perfect. If you wish to join me for a workshop on this oversized silk rose please send your enquiry to enquiries@presentperfectcreations.comlace orchid headband 2

Although not all flower petals get backed, a certain range of materials would benefit from being backed on every occasion. Amongst those are lace, velvet, denimetc.
LACE ORCHID HAIR CIRCLET video tutorial teaches you how to work with lace and turn it into delicate ethereal flowers that are also robust. White lace flowers are perfect for bridal pieces but if you take coloured lace or dye white lace yourself you can make evening wear floral pieces and much more.
Another video course on a DENIM ROSE BUD shows how to work with denim.
So, leather rose spray corsagewhat fabric(s) to choose for backing?
The choice is more than you might think. For petals some thin fabrics like pongee or organza are used in most cases. But if your petals are made of heavier fabric (velvet, denim or similar), you can go for thin or thick satins, or decorative fabrics with metallic threads.
When backing leaves you can choose from an array of different fabrics ranging from very thin (think pongee, organza) to satins to decorative metallic fabrics to velvet should you blue silk hydrangeawish. There is no hard and fast rule about which fabric to use. Depending on your main fabric try to choose a backing fabric that will complement your design and give it a beautiful finish.

I personally love the durability and definition of backed flower parts be it petals, leaves or butterfly wings, that is why I use this method on a regular basis in my works. To learn more about how you can create handmade flower petals and leaves by backing them with a layer of fabric please have a look at some of the photo tutorials by PresentPerfect Creations studio below:

leather-baccara-tutorial-bonus-sq

A detailed BONUS photo tutorial on Leather Rose Brooch. Yes, you got it right, you can back leather petals and leaves with fabric too! And this bonus tutorial that comes as a freebie together with LEATHER ROSE BROOCH photo tutorial will teach you exactly how you can do that.

learn-more-button

 

fabric leaves tutorial

A step-by-step photo tutorial on how to create MILLINERY LEAVES that are just right for your project. Still looking for suitable leaves online and in shops? Look no further. A flower iron and this tutorial is everything you need to create any fabric leaves your project calls for.

learn-more-button

 

 

lace butterfly tutorial

A step-by-step photo tutorial on how to create our SIGNATURE SILK AND LACE BUTTERFLY ON A HEADBAND. As a bonus you will also get FREE tutorial on how to shape a velvet butterfly with a flower iron (details inside the main tutorial once you’ve got it)

learn-more-button

 

Should you wish to try and use some decorative fabric with metallic threads in your work (think Christmas ☺) please check this beautiful semitransparent rayon fabric with golden metallic thread. It will look great at the back of leaves as well as petals. The fabric comes prestiffened and is ready to be used in flower making.

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Velvet for making flowers

Velvet for making flowers

velvet pansies2 (1280x939)As autumn draws nearer I want to talk about velvet for making flowers. Velvet flowers are great for autumn-winter season and make perfect trims for felt hats too.
Since velvet was introduced for the first time in the Middle East back in 9th century it has always been associated with luxury, nobility, royalty. And indeed it was so expensive in the past that only wealthy people could afford it.

So what is velvet?
Velvet is a kind of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are distributed in an even manner in a short dense pile thus giving a very soft and smooth feel. Traditionally velvet was made using silk. Nowadays velvet is made from cotton, linen, mohair and wool along with silk. Lately, synthetic velvets too are being produced.

velvet gladiolus flower 2In flower making we are only interested in velvets made using natural fibers like silk, viscose or cotton. These fabrics dye well with Procion and other silk dyes and can be shaped with millinery tools.
Velvet is perfect for making leaves (with the use of our Realistic Fabric leaves tutorial ), but whole flowers can be created out of it too. Think roses, pansies, gladioli, daffodils, orchids, camellias and many others.
Very often velvet is used for making flower centres or even for wrapping stems (as we did in CAMELLIA JAPONICA video tutorial)
Most of the techniques for working with velvet are very similar to other fabrics but there are some tricks and nuances that make velvet a little bit more delicate to deal with.
First is colouring. Because of its heavy weight, thickness and pile velvet absorbs a lot of water when being dyed. When left to dry on paper it will also lose a lot of water together with the dye. To achieve a brighter colour with velvet I always recommend drying flower parts on non porous surfaces like glass or plastic.
velvet fantasy flower 4Velvet is always dyed from the right side. Try to be gentle with your brush strokes not to mess up the pile too much.
As you can imagine velvet dries quite slowly too, especially on a non porous surface.
Another thing that can be tricky is shaping.
When shaping velvet take your time and do it slowly, letting the hot tool warm the thick fabric through and mould it into shape.
In most cases velvet flower parts are backed with a thin layer of fabric.
Because velvet has such a gorgeous sophisticated finish I like using lame fabrics for backing to add an extra touch.
Velvet can be backed with satin too.
Like all other fabrics velvet needs to be stiffened before it can be used for making flowers. A while ago I have already described one way velvet can be stiffened (please check out this post to find out how).

cotton velvet

 

The type of velvet I commonly use in my works is made of cotton and has a very short pile.

It dyes well and is easy to work with.
I have a limited quantity of fat quarters of this velvet currently available in my shop, so if you’d like to try it in your designs, make sure you get one now.
Ah, and the best bit is that this velvet comes prestiffened. It means it is ready to be used either for leaves, petals or a complete flower. To buy a velvet fat quarter please use the button below
Stiffen lace to get prepared for the new tutorial

Stiffen lace to get prepared for the new tutorial

lace orchid headband 2At the moment I am working on a new video tutorial on Silk and Lace Orchid flowers where I will show you and explain how to make an open hair circlet with lace and silk orchids decorated with freshwater pearls.

All the fabrics that are used for making flowers using a flower iron have to be stiffened and lace is no exception here. Please read through a mini-tutorial below to learn how you can prepare your velvet and lace for making flowers.

I often use lace and velvet fabrics for making leaves to enhance my fantasy flowers.

Whilst it is possible to obtain industrially treated delicate fabrics tutorial 1velvet ready for making flowers, I have never seen any ready to use lace fabric. So what to do if you have that nice piece of vintage lace or gorgeously coloured square of velvet you would like to incorporate into your design? Use gelatine? I can tell you from my experience these attempts have not been very successful as the gelatine tends to form a film on the structure of the lace and makes the velvet pile all stuck together. So how to prepare these delicate fabrics for using in flower making?

1. What I discovered is that I can use the starch spray for this job. Not only does it give a better result but it is also easier and quicker to use.

I use the spray starch which is normally used for shirts.
delicate fabrics tutorial 2
2. For the lace just follow the instructions on the can, that is spray the piece of lace with the spray starch and iron it. In minutes your lace is stiffened and ready to use.
delicate fabrics tutorial 3
3. As for the velvet I pin it to some vertical surface (an ironing board in my case), and spray the wrong side of the velvet fabric with the starch spray. After that I leave it to dry naturally. You can try and iron it but I have noticed that it makes it too stiff and affects the pile, especially of silk and viscose velvets. After the velvet has dried it is ready to use.The spray starch might give less body to the fabrics than the gelatine that is why it is strongly recommended to back both lace and velvet with another layer of fabric. You can use decorative metallic thread fabrics like this specialist Lame Backing Fabric here, or thin natural silk or rayon pongee fabric.
For more information on how to back petals and leaves check out our other tutorials
I hope you found this information useful and will now be using some beautiful fabrics with more confidence in your designs.
Stiffened lace or velvet as the case may be are ideal for creating delicate butterfly wings. To learn how please check out this .pdf tutorial on a lace butterfly headband
lace butterfly tutorial
 You might also like these articles

3 ways to dye silk petals to achieve the intensity of colour

Colouring stamens for flowers

Choosing the right glue for making flowers

How I tame leather. Mini-tutorial on stiffening leather skins

How I tame leather. Mini-tutorial on stiffening leather skins

Stiffening leather tutorial

Those of you who have tried working with genuine leather know how temperamental it can be. Leather is a natural product and as a result may have imperfections such as holes or scars, the thickness and stretch can vary too. And it is completely unpredictable when it comes to shaping it with hot flower iron.
For my floral pieces I stiffen leather is several ways. Today I am going to share one of this ways with you. The result is a flat stiff piece of leather that can be shaped with a flower iron. I use flat stiff leather to make a range of flowers including my camellias, gerberas etc.So here is how I do it. But first of all the kit:

1. Measuring jug
2. A piece of genuine leather for stiffening
3. Bowl
4. White (PVA) glue
5. Measuring spoon
and a piece of plastic or a glass board as seen in the picture.
I use a rather thiсk PVA glue intended for craft purposes. The ratio of glue to water can be from 1 to 5  to 1 to 10 depending on how thick your leather or glue are and how stiff you want the leather to be. You might need to experiment with the quantities, but the general guidelines are: the thicker the leather the weaker the solution (less glue). The ready to use solution should look like milk.

I use a measuring spoon to measure the amount of glue.

In the picture 10 ml of glue are being mixed with 100 ml of water.

Dissolve the glue in water to get a solution resembling milk. If you have sensitive skin consider wearing gloves.

Immerse the piece of leather (about A4 size or so) into the solution and make sure it is well soaked in it.

When the whole piece has been soaked, twist it to get rid of extra solution. The leather should be almost dry.

Then stretch it to make it even and thin it a bit more. I tend to use leathers with a thickness of 0.6-0.8 mm or so the sellers say but it is still rather thick for the flower making. Stretching the wet piece of leather in some cases makes it thinner but it all depends on the properties of the particular leather you are using.

I stretch in all directions: horizontally, vertically and diagonally.

With your both hands flatten the stretch piece of leather on the smooth flat surface (like this glass board).

Leave the flattened and smoothed piece of leather to dry completely before cutting and tooling it. It might take up to 24 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

stiffening leather

 

Coloured leather skins are rather delicate and may require more gentle handling than the black leather shown in the photos  above.

Consider using a large kitchen tray where you can place your leather in one layer. Place the piece of leather into the tray (either side up) and pour the warm stiffening solution over it. Let it soak for several minutes. Most probably you will need to help the leather get well saturated by gently rubbing the solution into the leather with your fingertips. Try to do it carefully to avoid making any marks or damage the surface of the leather.

stiffening leather

 

 

Once the leather has gone evenly darker all over its surface, lift it and gently squeeze any extra solution out of it by running it between your fingers. Then you can spread it onto a work surface or a glass table evenly as shown above and leave to dry completely.

 

 

 

 

leather dahlia brooch tutorial
 For more detailed instructions on how to stiffen coloured (especially pale) leather skins refer to our detailed LEATHER DAHLIA TUTORIAL.

 

Good luck with your stiffening!

 

 

Leather rose

Leather rose

I am continuing my experiments with genuine leather, this rich and pliable material, great for making floral accessories.
As a part of my new capsule collection I have created 2 leather roses, different in size and shape.
The new collection called NATURALS will comprise of a range of accessories made using natural materials in natural colours and hues.
So the new roses (both corsages) are created using beige leather  and tan suede. They make an essential wardrobe addition for any girl who prefers natural fabrics such as linen, cotton, raw silk, as well as straw and genuine leather and suede in light colours.

The small closed rose is about 5 cm in diameter. It is finished with a brooch pin.

Small leather rose

The large open rose is complemented with tan-coloured leaves made of genuine suede.

Open leather rose corsage

It is finished with a brooch pin as well as the small one.

These unique leather corsages will make a lovely gift for your Mum, sister or a girlfriend. They are available from my Etsy shop.

If you are interested in learning how to make leather flowers or in purchasing a .pdf tutorial on leather flowers, please feel free to contact me via this blog, my Etsy store or e-mail me at svetlana.faulkner@gmail.com.

Summer: sun, fun and flowers

Summer: sun, fun and flowers

What do you associate summer with?

 Warm weather, bright sun, blue-blue sky. Summer storms. Walks in the woods. Or, perhaps, in the meadows where amongst the sea of bright flowers you definitely spot a clover. Usually it comes in purple pink colour

Pink clover brooch

but sometimes you come across a white, slightly lime green variety. This summer flower, so tiny and humble, is one of the symbols of summer to me.

White clover oval brooch

 Designer white clover brooch is an intricate accessory for those who appreciate unusual understated one of a kind hand made pieces. It will look equally good pinned to a white office shirt (as in the picture) or to a summer linen jacket, light cotton dress or, perhaps, a hat.

The piece is created entirely by hand from scratch  using different types of pure silk fabrics (hand cut, hand painted, hand shaped and assembled). And I have not forgotten to include a lucky four leaf ☺

The brooch is finished with a brooch base.

Has this brooch made you think better of a simple clover flower? 🙂

New tutorial out! Lace butterfly: a stunning accessory you can make yourself without special tools.

New tutorial out! Lace butterfly: a stunning accessory you can make yourself without special tools.

I think I have not met anyone who did not like butterflies. They are fascinating and delicate creatures full of beauty. No wonder we want to capture it and embody in our designs to enjoy their perfection and elegance as and when we want it.
I love creating butterflies made of delicate lace and pure silk. Such designs look appropriate in wedding themes, they are perfect for special occasions, as little girls’ hair accessories, etc. They make a nice gift too.
I have developed this tutorial in a way that you can make your own stunning lace butterfly accessory without having to use any specialised tools.
By varying the size of the butterfly and uBysing coloured laces you can create an accessory to match any outfit. This lace butterfly can be attached to a headband, a hair clip, a brooch base or just sewn onto a garment, such as a wedding dress.  It can be used in millinery too to decorate hats and fasciantors. The applications are endless. Once you have mastered the art of making lace butterflies you can easily create different accessories in sizes and colours that are required.
You will learn how to
  • make beautifully light feather antennae
  • create a stunning body of seed beads
  • wire the wings so they hold their shape
  • attach the butterfly to a headband / hair clip
butterfly 49 new

WAIT! THAT’S NOT ALL


For those of you who have a set of millinery tools I have prepared a FREE bonus tutorial. The free tutorial explains how to shape the velvet butterfly wings using a set of millinery tools for silk flower making as shown in the picture below. For this butterfly I have used a different template which I have included as well! 
To be able to receive the bonus tutorial you will need to subscribe to my mailing list using the link in the Lace Butterfly Tutorial. 
At the moment the lace butterfly tutorial is available for instant download now from my tutorial shop here.
lace butterfly tutorial
Should you have any questions regarding materials or tools prior to purchasing the tutorial please feel free to contact me either via this blog (comments) or at enquiries@presentperfectcreations.com
Want to know how to create realistic looking silk rose leaves with a 3D effect? Here’s how I do it

Want to know how to create realistic looking silk rose leaves with a 3D effect? Here’s how I do it

 
A lot of you have commented on the 3D effect my silk millinery leaves have wondering how I manage to achieve it. Now you can do it too with my new updated and extended e-book tutorial, which is available for purchase from my tutorials store for just £6.
 

 

fabric leaves tutorial
https://presentperfectcreations.com/product/millinery-fabric-leaves-photo-tutorial-pdf-format/

Packed with tips and hints this 20 page .pdf ebook  will teach you how to create impressive fabric millinery leaves for you projects every time. I have included the patterns too.

You can use an array of different fabrics, such as silks, velvet, lace to make just the right leaves you require. No more fruitless searches online when you can make them in a matter of minutes.

Who is this tutorial for:

  • milliners
  • accessory designers
  • silk flower makers
  • those, who know how to work with a flower iron and would like to improve their results.


I would NOT recommend this tutorial for:

  • complete novices in silk flower making
  • those, who DO NOT have a flower iron


The tools and the flower iron tips that are required for making the leaves are shown in the pictures below. Please have a look and if you are not sure you have all the tools you need please contact me via this blog before buying the tutorial to clarify any questions you might have.


The flower iron tips I was using in the tutorial
The flower iron tips that can be used alternatively

red workshop schedule for June and July (500x500)

 

For some  fresh news and insparation from the exciting world of handmade fabric flowers as well as tips, discounts and much more please subscribe to our newsletter if you haven’t done this just yet. Should you wish to learn how to make silk flowers I am happy to share my know-how, knowledge and skills through individual and group hands on workshops in our studio in Stamford, Lincs. For the current schedule please visit our workshop page.

 

 
 
 
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