When Friday feels like Monday

How to make a fabric ranunculus

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.


erin, thanks so much for spelling this out for us!


I only caught the t-shirt in 2 stitches, but, yes, indeed I did have to take the stitch ripper to it.

Mama Urchin

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.


i love it! I am so glad everyone else uses their seem ripper as often as I do!!!

suzie sews

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.


cute! :)


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.


These would be sweet on a hat or bag. Thanks for the instructions.


Just what I was looking for, Thank you!


Oh, Erin, awesome! Thanks for this! I'm totally going to flower it up around here.


Thank you thank you thank you - what a great way to spice up a plain tee for my little sweetie!


Such a nice tutorial. I think I will try to make a couple of samples on stitch and tear for practice. ~Kelly

unDeniably Domestic

erin | house on hill road

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.


It's so cute!!! I think I might try it on a tee for my niece since her birthday's next mth :) Thanks!!!

Account Deleted

that is so cute, I love the way you did the edges.

heather at brown robin

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?


thanks so much for the tutorial! i love the manner in which you finish the edge.


this is so cute erin! thanks for the tutorial!


That is so, so pretty! What a fabulous summer accent. I'll be linking to this.


So pretty! Thanks for sharing this. I would love one of these on a handbag.


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, : )


oh I can't wait to try this!! thank you!


you make everything look easy.....
mine would be a tangled mess!


came over from Whip Up - love this!


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!


funky little flower, might be just the thing to cover the little hole on one of Emm's vests...

christie dehoff

how do yall keep the shirt from getting stretched out with all the movement? do i need some sort of backing...

erin | house on hill road

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.

Micha B

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.


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....


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?


Thanks so much for taking the time to make the tutorial. I'm definitely bookmarking this one!


What an amazing tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to share it.

Jennifer Juniper

That would be so cute with little cluster of beads in the center! Love it :)


I love the little zig-zag edge!


Yes! Been waiting anxiously for this- thank you!


I love yours! I had to share that I made a ranunculus myself once... ranunculus is fun to say.

urban craft

great tutorial, thanks! Can't wait to attempt.

Hena Tayeb

oh the little flower looks adorable.

Julia Ferre

This is really cute and I can't wait to try it. Thanks for showing some tips and tricks.

Gina D

Great tutorial!!


This is so cute - I think I am going to give this a try and make one for my DD...thank you :)


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!

Kathy Norrenbrock


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!


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.

robin walenceus

A small button in the center would cover the back and forth zig-zagging and, in a contrasting color, would be a nice accent.


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.



sew simple and cute!!


I love it! Could you tell us where you got the fabric, or the name of it? I like that as well... :)

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