A Few Stitches Can Turn A Scrap Of Fabric Into...
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 14th April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
A crafter but not a stitcher? Please, read on. This little gadget could work in your tool box too.
With the impact of a handmade garment, or quilt, or curtains, or toy, all containing hundreds, if not thousands, of stitches, it’s easy to forget that just a few stitches can turn a scrap of fabric into an item too.
I’ve been lucky enough to review this Clover Kanzashi Flower Maker
for Minerva. It is a template form of a traditional Japanese craft of fabric folding to create petals and flowers to adorn kanzashi hair decorations.
There are several petal shapes, which all come in several sizes; extra small, small, and large.
I have the extra small round petal maker. It is a plastic hinged template, with numbered holes and slits. It looks complicated, but isn’t at all. I’ve shown my 5 year old how to use it, and he is thrilled with the flower he made.
Each template requires a certain size and number of fabric squares; the extra small round petal needs six squares 2.5”. Yes, perfect for that jelly roll strip you’re not sure what to do with!
The instructions give fabric guidelines, and types to avoid. Most of my scraps are cotton, but I wanted to try some different fabrics too, so treated myself to a Scrap Bag of Fabric
What a bargain! Look at all this fabric!
Obviously each bag has a different selection in, but this should give you a rough idea of the amount of fabric you get. There were some great pieces in this bag to use for petals.
I like the variety of ‘yellow/orange’, and the range of buttons.
The template is only embossed on the outer side. It is marked with a little graphic of the end flower, the end size, numbers, and start and finish.
One of the things I like about the template is how portable it is. I wanted to test this, so cut a selection of squares, and took them, the template, the bag of buttons, and my sewing tin, on holiday.
My sewing tin used to contain biscuits, and I thought it was a cute hinged tin, so it now holds my most used hand sewing tools. I didn’t need all of them on holiday, so there was plenty of room for everything to fit in my tin, so thumbs up for compactness.
I love being outside, so this holiday, instead of my book, or my tech, I sat out and sewed. Luckily it wasn’t too windy; that would have changed plans! This was my workspace.
The first fabric I used was this cheerful checked cotton.
I used white cotton, but it doesn’t matter what colour you use, as the stitching isn’t visible from the front. The same thread is used for all six petals, and the suggested 75 cm is ample for the petals, and the button too. You might want to use a colour to match or contrast with the button, as you can use the same thread all the way through. I used a double thread to add a bit of extra strength.
Place the template wrong side down on the right side of the fabric. It should sit on the diagonal, so when you close the template with the fabric trapped inside, it makes a triangle. You could also pre-fold the fabric and slide it into the part open template. I tried both ways, and it works either way, as long as the fabric sits right into the hinge of the template.
Holding the template securely, trim the excess fabric away. I had forgotten to take my small fabric scissors, so used the embroidery scissors from my sewing tin. They were great for a small area.
Once trimmed, make sure the ‘start’ side of the upright template is facing you.
The easiest way to think about this is as a dot to dot. The needle goes in through ‘start’, so the knot is on that side. On the other side, the needle should pass through hole number 2, and come out back on the ‘start’ side. Continue like this until ‘finish’, but don’t tie a knot or cut the thread; this is the first petal, and the same thread will link it to the second petal, and so on.
Open up the template and remove the petal.
Gently pull on the thread to gather the fabric, and a petal will appear. Don’t trim the thread!
Petal two is formed exactly the same way, but you use the same thread as petal one, so they’re immediately connected. Once the template is opened, slide the petal up to petal one, and gather the fabric for petal two.
Continue this way until you’ve made sufficient petals; this template is a six petal flower, but depending on fabric, you can add a few more to change the look.
Using the thread, I secured the petals together, selected a button, and stitched that to the front. Then I secured the thread at the back, and cut it.
There is a quick and attractive flower. The whole process, including choosing a button, took less than 30 minutes.
I made flowers with a range of fabrics to see how easy they were to use, and what, if any, difference it would make to the flower.
My least favourite was the white organza type fabric. It was a bit fiddly to use, and the sheerness of the fabric didn’t really show. I think this would benefit from a larger template, and it’s something I will try, because I thought it would be a lovely delicate flower.
This is cotton with glitter decoration, and it’s stiffer than quilting cotton, so I wasn’t sure how easily it would form into petals, but the slight rigidity actually made the petals look more defined.
The glitter hasn’t photographed very well, but works well on the petals, and the flower looks quite celebratory.
This is a stretchy velvet, and I love the flower it became.
It’s such a rich, eye catching flower, and you can see how the different buttons give it a different look.
It’s worth trying different buttons, because they really do change the look of the end product. Be mindful of the size of the flower when choosing a button; too big will look odd, and too small won’t cover the centre join.
I hope I’ve not made this sound complicated, because it isn’t.
It’s a simple and quick activity that’s a great way of utilising odds and ends of fabric, and stray buttons. You could even use beads in place of buttons. You don’t even need to add the buttons at the time of making; secure the flower threads, and store it until you’re button ready.
It’s an activity that can travel with you, with a bit of forward planning. It’s sewing that can be done in front of the television, in your lunch hour, on the bus...
The flowers were originally made to decorate hair, and they would look really cute as clips, on hair bands, on buns, or even pigtails.
They could be used to decorate hats, clothes, bags, cushions, serviette rings... I’m sure you can think of a few more! A brooch to match your dress? A necklace?
If you’re a scrapbooker or card maker, these would make lovely 3D adornments.
Instead of using a shirt to make a memory cushion cover, the buttons and fabric could make flowers which could decorate a picture frame, or even become a picture themselves.
And don’t forget seasonal decorations! Daffodils, poinsettia; there’s a range of sizes and petal shapes, so you could easily become a fabric florist.
Thank you to Minerva Crafts for the opportunity to review this great template.