How to make a fabric ranunculus
July 15, 2009
As promised, here's a little how-to on the fabric ranunculus.
First, cut your fabric into strips on the bias. The width and length of your strips depends on how big you want your finished flower to be. For this small flower, the strips are about 3/4" wide and around 10 to 15 inches long. I used four strips here, but you made need a few more or maybe one less so cut as you go. For a bigger flower, make the strips wider and longer.
Next, using a small zig zag stitch (about 1.5 mm x 1.5 mm), sew along one long edge of your strip. The idea here is for one side of the stitch to catch the fabric - you really have to be on the absolute edge. Going slowly will make it easier.
Along the other long edge, sew a gathering stitch (straight stitch, long in length). Leave the thread tails long and gently pull one thread to gather.
Starting on the outside of the flower, pin the gathered edge into the shape of a circle. Stop pinning when you complete a full circle.
Using a zig zag stitch, sew along the gathered edge of the circle. When you come to the curves, leave the needle in the down position, lift the presser foot and rotate the fabric. Continue until you finish sewing the pinned circle. Back stitch and cut the threads.
Continue gathering and pinning the strip in a circle, slightly overlapping the ends in a soft spiral. You can fold the end of the strip under if you want. Sew it in place. Back stitch and cut the threads.
Keep adding strips to your flower in this manner. I varied the start and stop points of my strips and the direction to add interest - some go clockwise and some go counterclockwise.
When you get to the center of the flower, zig zag back and forth at different angles to ensure that all edges are sewn.
Before you stitch on a pillow or a skirt or a t-shirt, get out some scraps and try a practice flower. It'll be worth the few extra minutes because you will get a good feel for how much you need to gather and how big to make the flower. If you do this on a t-shirt, make sure you don't sew the back to the front. Ahem. Go slow, use lots of pins and have fun.
I'll answer any questions in the comment section.
oh my, did you sew the back to the front? I can only imagine the realization of that...And the swearing.
Posted by: Tracy | July 15, 2009 at 08:43 AM
erin, thanks so much for spelling this out for us!
Posted by: melissa | July 15, 2009 at 08:53 AM
I only caught the t-shirt in 2 stitches, but, yes, indeed I did have to take the stitch ripper to it.
Posted by: erin | July 15, 2009 at 09:04 AM
I hate it when I do something like that - sew the back to the front. So do you think a rolled hem on the outside edge would look alright? I'm just thinking that would be easier/quicker since I have a serger.
Posted by: Mama Urchin | July 15, 2009 at 09:15 AM
i love it! I am so glad everyone else uses their seem ripper as often as I do!!!
Posted by: Sarah | July 15, 2009 at 09:23 AM
thank you thank you thank you. I love this and with a few girls birthdays coming up over the next couple of weeks, I am now sorted.
Posted by: suzie sews | July 15, 2009 at 09:48 AM
Posted by: Nichole | July 15, 2009 at 09:58 AM
I had a j crew shirt made out of that same fabric back in the late 80's. I loved it and wore it often with my cut off guess jean shorts and white bucks. Thanks for bringing back the memories.
Posted by: L | July 15, 2009 at 09:59 AM
These would be sweet on a hat or bag. Thanks for the instructions.
Posted by: Maribeth | July 15, 2009 at 10:00 AM
Just what I was looking for, Thank you!
Posted by: Lisa | July 15, 2009 at 11:00 AM
Oh, Erin, awesome! Thanks for this! I'm totally going to flower it up around here.
Posted by: Grace | July 15, 2009 at 11:17 AM
Thank you thank you thank you - what a great way to spice up a plain tee for my little sweetie!
Posted by: Julie | July 15, 2009 at 11:26 AM
Such a nice tutorial. I think I will try to make a couple of samples on stitch and tear for practice. ~Kelly
Posted by: Kelly | July 15, 2009 at 11:45 AM
Jennifer - as to the rolled hem, give it a try on a scrap and see. I would think it would be fine although depending on what thread you use in the serger it might be too heavy. Let me know if it works.
Posted by: erin | house on hill road | July 15, 2009 at 11:48 AM
It's so cute!!! I think I might try it on a tee for my niece since her birthday's next mth :) Thanks!!!
Posted by: Audrie | July 15, 2009 at 01:09 PM
that is so cute, I love the way you did the edges.
Posted by: Account Deleted | July 15, 2009 at 07:38 PM
Wow, Erin. You are always so generous with your time... posting such great tutorials! Thanks a bunch. I can't wait to try this some time. Hope that you're having a wonderful summer. It's flying by, isn't it?
Posted by: heather at brown robin | July 15, 2009 at 07:38 PM
thanks so much for the tutorial! i love the manner in which you finish the edge.
Posted by: larissa | July 15, 2009 at 10:16 PM
this is so cute erin! thanks for the tutorial!
Posted by: amisha | July 15, 2009 at 11:11 PM
That is so, so pretty! What a fabulous summer accent. I'll be linking to this.
Posted by: Rachel | July 15, 2009 at 11:23 PM
So pretty! Thanks for sharing this. I would love one of these on a handbag.
Posted by: Amy | July 16, 2009 at 01:53 AM
That is a brilliant idea! I love how it looks. And yes, I think that it is a good idea to practice before trying it on a precious item, : )
Posted by: Nicky | July 16, 2009 at 03:58 AM
oh I can't wait to try this!! thank you!
Posted by: Jenni | July 16, 2009 at 06:39 AM
you make everything look easy.....
mine would be a tangled mess!
Posted by: leslie | July 16, 2009 at 08:39 AM
came over from Whip Up - love this!
Posted by: Joanne | July 16, 2009 at 10:23 AM
I just made a skirt last night and have been thinking of ways to use the extras to embelish a t-shirt to go with it and vola here you are. I came over from craftzine, and glad I did. Thanks for the tutorial!
Posted by: Athena | July 16, 2009 at 11:11 AM
funky little flower, might be just the thing to cover the little hole on one of Emm's vests...
Posted by: Péitseoga | July 16, 2009 at 11:12 AM
how do yall keep the shirt from getting stretched out with all the movement? do i need some sort of backing...
Posted by: christie dehoff | July 16, 2009 at 08:07 PM
Christie - I have never had a problem stitching a woven to a knit, but you can use a light weight tear-away stabilizer on the inside of the t-shirt if you want.
Posted by: erin | house on hill road | July 16, 2009 at 09:50 PM
Perfect! I just bought some plain long sleeve t's to get a head start on school shopping and now I'm going to doll them up a bit! Love it.
Posted by: Micha B | July 17, 2009 at 02:05 AM
You oughta look at Meg's things at "Whatever" - she is on my blog roll, she put a ton of things in her etsy shop and I think they may be all gone - but she had some fun things like these....
Posted by: pve | July 17, 2009 at 07:46 AM
Just when I think I wouldn't EVER try something like this, your tutorial spells it all out so clearly. Still want to make the twirly skirt first, but maybe this will decorate a matching t?
Posted by: Kathleen | July 17, 2009 at 08:10 AM
Thanks so much for taking the time to make the tutorial. I'm definitely bookmarking this one!
Posted by: SparklyGreenKnickers | July 17, 2009 at 08:15 AM
What an amazing tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to share it.
Posted by: Heather | July 17, 2009 at 01:55 PM
That would be so cute with little cluster of beads in the center! Love it :)
Posted by: Jennifer Juniper | July 17, 2009 at 02:30 PM
I love the little zig-zag edge!
Posted by: Morgan | July 18, 2009 at 02:34 AM
Yes! Been waiting anxiously for this- thank you!
Posted by: Amber | July 18, 2009 at 03:10 AM
I love yours! I had to share that I made a ranunculus myself once... ranunculus is fun to say.
Posted by: jessica | July 21, 2009 at 04:32 PM
great tutorial, thanks! Can't wait to attempt.
Posted by: urban craft | July 22, 2009 at 10:16 AM
oh the little flower looks adorable.
Posted by: Hena Tayeb | July 23, 2009 at 07:19 PM
This is really cute and I can't wait to try it. Thanks for showing some tips and tricks.
Posted by: Julia Ferre | July 26, 2009 at 09:32 PM
Posted by: Gina D | July 28, 2009 at 09:41 AM
This is so cute - I think I am going to give this a try and make one for my DD...thank you :)
Posted by: Renee' | August 01, 2009 at 10:30 AM
Hurray! I already envision these on my Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, purses, sweaters, even on the dog collar! A BIG thank you to you, from ME!
Posted by: Mrs. | August 31, 2009 at 07:44 PM
The flower is adorable. I have to try it on a pillow or a jumper for my granddaughters. You are so very talented and creative.
I love the camera strap Amanda has.
Thanks so much for inspiring me!
Posted by: Kathy Norrenbrock | October 25, 2009 at 07:15 PM
Sorry to be the slow one, but on step 2, "The idea here is for one side of the stitch to catch the fabric - you really have to be on the absolute edge." I don't understand fully, won't the entire zigzag be on the fabric? Any explanation will be so helpful! Thanks! I love this blog.
Posted by: Jessica | November 01, 2009 at 07:58 PM
A small button in the center would cover the back and forth zig-zagging and, in a contrasting color, would be a nice accent.
Posted by: robin walenceus | December 29, 2009 at 07:32 AM
Awesome! I am in a fabric flower type of mood, and this is very cool, thanks so much!
Barbara, owner, designer, Stevie Nicks style clothing, jewelry and accessories.
Posted by: Barbara | January 16, 2010 at 03:16 PM
sew simple and cute!!
Posted by: Steph | February 25, 2010 at 10:00 AM
I love it! Could you tell us where you got the fabric, or the name of it? I like that as well... :)
Posted by: Katie | March 25, 2010 at 04:08 PM