I fell in love with these gorgeous little fabric flowers, "Tsumami Kanzashi", when I was living in Japan. Traditionally, they are delicate little pieces made from a fine silk crepe and formed together to create the amazing Geisha hairpieces. Not being an elegant geisha myself, I've made these brooches bigger and bolder and with antique kimono silks as a nod to their heritage.
They are quite simple to make and after you've done a few you could find yourself quite addicted...
What you'll need;
- A small piece of fabric, about 5 x 25cm is a good place to start. It's good to use a fabric with a bit of substance to it, but not too thick. I used interfaced kimono silks but a starched cotton also works really well.
- Hand sewing needle, thread, scissors.
- Five pegs (just from the washing line)
- Bead and bead caps (optional)
- Small piece of felt
- Craft glue
- Brooch back
Got your bits and bobs? Let's get started shall we?
1. Take the piece of fabric and cut it so that you have five squares the same size. About 5cm is a good place to start. Your final flower will be about the same size as one of those squares.
2. Take one of your squares and fold it in half to create a triangle with the right side facing out. Give the fold a bit of a finger press. Fold that in half again, so that the triangle is half the size. At one corner, the fabric will have two loose points.
3. Take one of these points and fold it backwards so that you keep the raw edges together.
4. Take the other loose corner and fold it back on the other side so that it looks like the picture below. You've folded your first petal. Put a peg on it to hold it in place.
5. Repeat this until you have five petals.
6. At the corner where you have the three points meet, very carefully trim a couple of millimetres. This is going to be the centre of your flower and the trimming helps them sit a little neater.
7. Take one petal and stay stitch in close to the corner. A little thread sitting on the raw edge will also help keep everything together.
8. Making sure that it is facing the same way up, thread the next petal onto the cotton and stay stitch the second petal. You won't be stitching the petals together just yet, but it's a bit like stringing beads onto a line.
9. Continue until you have all five petals on the thread. Line them up.
10. From the line, take the outside edges of the first and last petal and hold them together. Flip the flower over so that your raw edges are facing upwards. This is where you want all your stitches to go.
11. Stay stitch the two together very close to their corners.
12. Then again about 2/3 of the way up. You could do neat little stitches all of the way, but as this will be covered by felt later, I don't bother.
13. Then, with your first and last petals joined, grab the next two folds - what will be outer folds of the first and second. Scroll down to a couple of photos down and you should get what I mean.
14. Stay stitch in the centre again, and then 2/3 of the way up. Don't worry that the stitching may be a little messy at this stage, it will be covered up later.
15. Continue until all five petals are joined. In the photo below you can get an idea of what the stitching will look like.
16. This is my favourite bit... flip the flower over. At this stage the petals will all be a bit pointy. Take a finger or thumb and push the petal into a rounded shape. It will take a little fiddling and squishing until the fabric wants to sit the way you want it to. I go around the flower a few times pushing and squishing.
17. You should now have a lovely little Japanese plum flower.
18. Bead the centre of the flower how you wish. I like to put a bead cap or two in and then a bead that will highlight one of the colours in the flower.
19. Flip the beaded flower over and put some craft glue on the raw edges. Adhere it to some felt. Once the glue has dried, stitch the edge of the flower onto the felt to reinforce it. Trim the felt.
20. Finally, sew a brooch back on and it's ready to wear with pride.
Before you know it you'll be looking around at little bits of fabric you have around the place and your garden will begin to grow.