How to stiffen lace and velvet 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
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NATURALS – summer collection by PresentPerfect Creations

As a huge fan of natural fibers, I am drawn to unusual natural fabrics with which I like to experiment. Flowers made of silk are gorgeous, stunning, luxurious, but in most cases are meant for special occasions, weddings and similar events. But what if I want to wear a fabric flower brooch or a hair accessory on an ordinary day with my normal clothes and not an evening gown? I think the importance of casual accessories made of fabric using millinery tools is underestimated. I know for a fact that casual corsages are very popular in Japan. Made of all sorts of fabric they are meant to spice up everyday outfits. Here are some pictures of such corsages by Noriko Endo, the Japanese artist

The idea of casual floral accessories combined with unusual natural materials (unusual in the traditional silk flower making that is ) has resulted in my capsule summer collection which I called NATURALS.

Linen and wild silk rose brooch

The main concept is simple and straightforward: I use undyed textural  fabrics of natural origin to make interesting pieces ideal for everyday wear that would perfectly complement a summer wardrobe.

Linen poppy corsage

Together with linens, wild tussah silks, cottons etc. I used genuine leather in natural tones to make several rose brooches.

Open leather and suede rose
Small rose pin

Apart form brooches and corsages the collection has a number of  floral hair accessories in it too, like this wild tussah silk orchid hair comb

Eco fashion wild silk orchid hair comb

At the moment this capsule collection comprises of a small number of pieces which are selling fast but I am planning to add more to it as the warm summer days are still with us.