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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One wedding, three creations

Last week we went to a wedding, my husband’s niece was getting married.
To prove the well-known proverb “The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot” wrong, I decided to create a cocktail hat for myself (for once! :-D) to wear at the wedding. It gave me a chance to try my new hat block, a mini beret. I covered the base with a beautiful quilted dupioni silk and decorated with a spray of rumbling roses in purple. 

Floral cocktail hat

The flowers have as always been painted shaped and assembled by hand. That’s me wearing it at the wedding ☺

For Alex I have created a calla lily boutonniere in matching colours of lemony lime yellow. I used the template which I obtained from calla lillies growing in my garden. I like their sleek and elegant look!
Here is my husband wearing the calla lily buttonhole created using specialised Japanese fabrics.

I have thought long and hard about what I should create for my little girl and decided that a pair of edelweiss hair clips would be perfect. Made of specialist Japanese fabrics and lined and wired they proved to be rather hardwearing even in the paws of curious 11 month old                                                                                  

I can sense a whole line of accessories for little ones shaping up in my brain. Keep your eyes peeled to my blog and Facebook page!

And that’s mummy and daughter in the church

Wedding corsages&buttonholes

Albeit a bit late, I would like to share some pictures of the roses buttonholes&corsages I have made for me and Alex to wear on the wedding day of our relatives last Sunday. The small rose buds are made in the Japanese technique and hand painted to match our outfits for the day
So the pinky-browny-cafe one was for me and the more conventional pink-and-green was for Alex. Here they are with our outfits (and us)

And I think they looked lovely))