As part of my product development research for my Etsy shop, I decided to take out my mother’s vintage Japanese floral iron to practice my fabric flower making skills. I had already made some fabric flowers for my wedding which included my own millinery head piece, but I decided to use various cotton patterned fabric that were cutoffs of old projects this time. The result? I made a bunch of flowers that turned into a fun bunch and a couple that were turned into wrist corsages for my friend’s young daughters. Please forgive my horrible pictures. Vancouver winters don’t really provide that much natural light and I was too lazy to properly light my process, but I think you’ll get the idea.
Here’s what you’ll need…
STEP 1: Take your fabric, place in your waterproof container, and then soak it in fabric stiffener. I like to squeeze the liquid so that it penetrates throughout the fabric. I like to use the full strength of the stiffener, but you can water it down if you’d like a less rigid flower.
STEP 2: Lay out your soaked fabric on wax paper or any waterproof surface to dry. I like to air dry my fabric overnight. When the fabric is dry, you’ll find that the fabric will be flat and rigid like paper.
STEP 3: Cut your fabric into flower shapes using scissors made for fabric. I freehand the shape of my flowers, but you can find many templates online if you don’t know where to start.
STEP 4: Place your fabric flower pieces onto a piece of foam covered in cotton fabric and press the tip of the floral iron onto the middle of each petal. Stack your ironed pieces to see if you want to iron them some more.
My floral iron set used to be my mom’s so I’m not sure where she got all her supplies. The fabric covering the foam seems to be like a gauzy handkerchief material, but any loose weave soft cotton fabric would work. Do not use a synthetic on this foam or it will melt. The whole purpose of using the foam support is to allow the fabric you are ironing to fit into the curvature of the foam when it is pressed down. The deeper the press, the larger the curl. The size of the tips also determine how your petal will shape when heat is applied. A small petal requires a small tip and a large petal needs a large tip. My floral iron only seems to have two temperature levels, so I sometimes turn my iron off and use the heat while it’s cooling down. If you have it on too high, it can scorch your fabric. In fact, you can see in the third picture above that I burned the petal… I was focussed too much on taking the photo I guess!
**OK… I had to resort to drawing out the rest of my instructions at this point. Hope it’s not too confusing!
STEP 5: Prep your pips or stamens to be used in the center of your flowers.
Tie this little sweet corsage around a wrist or add it as garnish to some gift wrapping. If you sew on a longer ribbon, it can be used as a hair band or floral belt.
*Do you want more tutorials like this? Leave a comment!