how finish handmade flowers

How to finish your handmade flowers

Variety is the spice of life.

I am sure you’ve heard this expression before. Luckily, there are so many different flowers in the world, there’s no problem with the variety here.

But what when it comes to finishes of our handmade flowers? What can they be turned into to become wearable accessories? Do we have a variety here? Let’s have a closer look.

Brooch is the first one that comes to mind probably. Indeed, brooches are very popular. So are flower corsages as well as buttonholes.
Over the years I have released a number of tutorials which cover this type of finish. Some of the popular ones are listed below:
silk iris tutorial leather grape tutorial cover leather corsage tutorial
Hair accessories with flowers are ever so popular. They include but are not limited to headbands, hair clips, hair combs and flower circlets (see below).
Moreover, most, if not all handmade flowers can be used for hat and fascinator trims.

 

lace flower tutorial

Making silk and leather flowers into necklaces and chokers is another great idea. Depending on your choice of flowers, colours and material you can get anything from a delicate bridal necklace to a bold statement leather piece.

Flower shoe clips is yet another, possibly less obvious but nonetheless very effective way of using handmade flowers (see the tutorials below):
silk orchid tutorial silk marie antoinette rose tutorial leather shoe clips tutorial

 

Leather Anemone Collage

 

In my tutorials I have also covered a flower bracelet.

 

However, handmade flower applications are not limited to the ones mentioned above.
You can also try making flower earrings, flower bow tie brooches (for shirts and blouses), hair wreaths, flower sashes, flower rings and flower stick pins, as well as other wearable flower pieces (I bet I have not listed them all).
Feel free to experiment and share the results of your trials. I am sure there are still a lot of new ideas to be discovered and tested in flower making.

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Flower shaping tools, part 5: rat tail tool

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.

This is the fifth video in the series, for which I have chosen an old and rather common tool that can be found in most sets, traditional or more modern: the so called rat tail tool aka the hook.

flower making tools full set

I am demonstrating how to work with the rat tail tool in the video where I am shaping a variety of petals, small and large. As a rule the rat tail tool is used together with other tools when shaping flower parts to achieve best possible results.
It can be used for shaping both leather as well as fabric flowers, you will see it in the video.

Normally the rat tail tool is used with medium pads as shown in the video.
In skillful hands this simple traditional tool can produce a range of different effects, a number of which I am showing in today’s video, where I am shaping a fine cotton rose petal, a leather lily-of-the-valley flower and a leather dahlia petal circle.

The more different flowers you learn to make, the better you become at using your rat tail tool. You will find it particularly useful if you do not own any of the Japanese style cat paw type tools as it can be a kind of a substitute for them in some cases.

Currently the rat tail tool can be purchased as part of the 14 pc European set of tools or the more extensive 22 pc set of tools (check out the flower making tool section here).

Meanwhile watch the video I have prepared for you today (see the button below) where I am demonstrating several ways of using this traditional tool and (hopefully) discover something new for yourself.

leather gerbera flower shoe clips

Making leather flower shoe clips

Britain is (finally!) enjoying a bit of sunshine and warmth, which can be a perfect time to sport your summer style … and flowers ☺
Whilst leather flowers might not be necessarily associated with summer, one of their applications is particularly great for summer. I am talking about leather flower shoe clips, a firm favourite of mine.

Leather flower shoe clips are ideal for decorating plain court shoes or peep-toes, or in fact any pair of your favourite shoes that could benefit from jazzing up.
Although not all types of leather flowers can be successfully used for shoe clips from the technical side, there are a lot of them that make stunning leather shoe clips. Think sunflowersdahliasdaisiesgerberascornflowerscertain roseschrysanthemumscamellias and many others. In other words the suitable flowers have to have a relatively flat underside to stand a chance to be successfully transformed into shoe clips.
To make your first pair of leather flower shoe clips follow our detailed step-by-step tutorial on leather gardenia shoe clips. Not only do you learn how to make leather gardenias, the tutorial will reveal the mystery behind turning flowers into wearable shoe clips once and for all.
Once you’ve mastered the leather gardenia shoe clips, you can start making other flower shoe clips, like Leather Dahlia, Leather Chrysanthemum, Leather Sunflower, Leather Gerbera or Camellia to name a few.
Press the button below to add the leather gardenia shoe clips tutorial to your library of flower making tutorials and start creating your very own leather flower shoe clips. For more  ideas on suitable flower tutorials for shoe clips see the pictures below.

Although we’ve been talking about leather flowers for shoe clips, it’s worth mentioning that silk flowers are perfectly suitable for this too, same rules about the choice of flowers applied.
Velvet camellias, silk sunflowers, satin daisies and gerberas – the sky is the limit Friend. Think about embroidering the centres of your flowers like daisies with beads for a more elegant and sophisticated look.

 

HAVE FUN CREATING!
silk rose video course

Advanced Silk Rose Course: start from 25 March 2019

If you follow me on social media, you already know that I am about to launch a long-awaited Advanced Silk Rose Video Course.

Why I think you should join this course? Advanced Silk Rose Course part I

I can see many reasons, some of which I am listing below:
  • it is a video course, which will allow me to explain the complex rose making process in a greater detail for you
  • all the rose designs are new, never previously offered in other tutorials OR at my workshops
  • roses are made from a variety of fabrics ranging from fine see-through organze to soft plush cotton velvet
  • these new roses will enhance your SS’19 collection or designs before anybody else learns to make them
  • it is the best way to learn advance level silk flower making when you can not attend live hands-on workshops
This list can go on…
The course includes 4 roses:
❀ Midsummer Dream, 
❀ Cottage Garden,
❀ Morning Mist,
❀ Velvet Elegance.
silk rose choker necklace
The video tutorials on these roses are NOT going to be sold individually. The Advanced Silk Rose video course is specifically designed to cover most aspects of advanced silk rose flower making for you and works best as a whole.
Also, if you join the course till midnight 17th March 2019, you will receive a photo tutorial on the 5th rose, ❀ Marie-Antoinette as a BONUS.

What’s so different about this course?

For starters, unlike my regular flower making tutorials, this is a video course that will be running from a certain date (25th March 2019 in this case) for 4 weeks.

In case if you are wondering, I am NOT shutting it down after 4 weeks, so you will be able to finish all your roses at your own pace.

However if you decide you are very busy now and are unable to join this group, the next opportunity will probably arise in September or October 2019.

I would like to remind you the 3 types of packages I am offering for this new Course. Please see below for details:
silk rose video course

If you are determined to take your rose making skills to the next level this spring PresentPerfect Creations Studio, please do not miss this opportunity and book your spot*** now at the lowest price.

 

*** The number of spots for each package is limited. This way I will be able to give feedback and help each student.

 

silk dandelion headpiece

My Tethered Butterfly Crown for the 2019 Hatalk hat making competition

I created this spring green crown with the silk dandleion for the 2019 Hatalk hat making competition, where the theme was Equilibrium.silk dandelion headpiece

My Tethered Butterfly Crown for a millinery competition: the why

“The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly.”

― Ponce Denis Écouchard Le Brun

Nature is an endless source of inspiration for me. Its colours, shapes and textures seem to be in a constant contradiction yet represent a peaceful harmony of its parts.

For my headpiece trim I have chosen two very fragile representatives of the natural world: a delicate dandelion clock and a couple of dainty airy butterflies – and arranged them in a perfect balance. The complementary colours of the butterflies – yellow and purple – ofter occur in nature where they work well and make strong compositions. This is another example of how opposites attract and create a perfect equilibrium.

silk dandelion headpieceMy Tethered Butterfly Crown for a millinery competition: the how

To make the silk dandelion headpiece I blocked the crown in 2 parts using buckram. Then I covered both parts with green cotton velvet (which I’ve found very fiddly)
As the dandelion is very fragile, I had to sew in the handdyed fabric covered stem folded into a bow at this stage, before joining the parts of the crown together.

Once that was done I joined the 2 parts of the crown together adding the millinery elasctic at the same time.

The next stage was to make the dandelion clock itself and add the butterflies.  The dandleion on the crown is about 6 cm in

silk dandelion clock tutorial

diameter and has about 200 organza parachutes which were all needed to be made separately. The 2 little btterflies were made using handdyed silk satin in contrasting yellow and purple colours.

Counterintuitively assembling the dandelion clock with the silk butterflies had to be the last stage of the headpiece making. If you have been  inspired by the pieces of textile art and would like to create your own silk dandelions for jewellery, millinery and other craft projects, you are welcome to get my step-by-step tutorial on Silk Dandelion Clock available here.

My Tethered Butterfly Crown for a millinery competition: the result

And there we have it, a silk dandelion clock with dainty butterflies that seem to have just landed onto it in a whimsical dance as a perfectly balanced headpiece ready to be worn and enjoyed.

WATCH THIS SPACE: still waiting for the results of the competition… If you would like, you could vote for my silk dandelion headpiece here

Leather Anemone Collage

FEBRUARY 2019 Flower of the Month: ANEMONE

lilac leather anemone broochFirst time leather anemones were featured in my #FlowerBreeze collection back in SS2016. A firm garden favourite, they deserved a detailed tutorial of their own which I am happy to present you with.
 
One of the earliest spring flowers, anemones are a bright uplifting sight after the dark days of winter – pure, simply pretty and cheerful.
Now with the help of this tutorial you can learn how to create your own anemone bracelet, corsage, buttonhole or another floral accessory with these vibrant blooms in the sizes and colours of your choice.
BONUS leather anemone corsage ad (600x534)
For this tutorial I have changed the template and the methods to come up with an improved flower that is charming but not too difficult to make.
As most of my flowers, leather anemone flower can easily be turned into a variety of wearable accessories and trims. The tutorial shows how to make a leather anemone wrap around bracelet. You can turn your leather anemone into a hat trim, a groom’s buttonhole, a headband or a corsage (see the information on the BONUS below) and more.
Straightforward and detailed enough even for a leather flower newbie, this tutorial contains tips that experienced flower artists will find interesting as well. 

The striking centre and the serrated foliage of the leather anemone look really attractive and can be achieved with minimum tools although some patience and practice are required.
But I could not just stop at the anemone bracelet tutorial. So I have prepared a bonus anemone tutorial in addition to the main one. It costs nothing but your review on the main Leather Anemone Tutorial.

Using the explanations provided in the BONUS tutorial you will be able to assemble a larger anemone corsage arrangement with a large, a medium flower and a bud (see the photo to the left). You will learn how to attach leaves in a different way and see how suede works in leather designs . It contains tips on how to make a double anemone for a more compact flower brooch or a buttonhole. 
So, if you’d like to learn how to make these bright spring blooms and create a variety of accessories with them use this opprtunity to purchase  the tutorial now whilst it is being offered at a special tutorial-of-the-month price (the offer is valid till 28 February 2019)
❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ 
As the flower of the month you can now purchase the leather anemone tutorial + BONUS as well as the DIY kit with a discount (15% OFF). All discounts have already been applied on the website until 28 February 2019. Please click on the photos below to find out more and purchase.
In case if you are lucky enough to already own this tutorial but somehow you have not come round to actually making the anemonies now is the time! 
leather anemone kit
Leather Anemone DIY Kit
Leather Anemone Tutorial + BONUS
millinery tools

Flower shaping 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.

 

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

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
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