Friday, October 05, 2012

Making Silk Flowers - The Camellia

What you will need
·          About 15cm of fabric – natural fabrics such silk, cotton work best
·          French Flower tools – if you don’t have them, be creative – look in the kitchen drawers or the tool box
·          Burner to heat tools - stove top, gas camp stove, spirit burner
·          Foam block and cotton cloth to cover – foam should be about 10-12cm thick
·          Florist wire (about 22 gauge)
·          Florist tape
·          Stamens
·          Clear craft glue
·          Fabric Stiffener
·          Scissors
·          Pliers
·          Dressmaker’s pins

Stiffen the fabric

You can use straw stiffener (flammable and really smelly). 

You can use the recipe from my previous post. 

If you want a really simple and effective stiffener you can use PVA glue and water solution.  Mix 1/3 PVA to 2/3 water in a bucket or large bowl. PVA is a woodworking glue that you can buy from the hardware store.

Scrunch the fabric up and dunk into the solution and make sure the fabric is really soaked.  Wring out the fabric really tightly and then hang on the line to dry.  Use pegs or weights on the bottom on the fabric in the corners to stop the fabric gluing together. 

Hint – if you are doing a lot of stiffening of fabrics for flower making do your light colours first and then darker colours.  Dye can sometimes run from darker fabrics.

Cut out your fabric using your paper patterns

Draw from this diagram and enlarge patterns to size,  Use tape measure as a guide.

Petal 1            Cut 4
Petal 2            Cut 3
Leaf                Cut 3 (cut on bias of fabric)

Cut out all the petals and leaves.   When pinning the pattern to fabric make sure pins are in the centre of the petal – the hole from the pin does not disappear so have the pin hole in a spot where it will not be obvious when finished.

Hint: Always cut out 1 or 2 more petals and leaves than you need – sometimes the tool may be too hot and burn so in this way you have some spare. Sometimes you will want a fuller flower depending on the thickness of the fabric chosen.

 If you don’t use them in this flower keep with other spares you will collect. It will be surprising how you can construct a hybrid flower from all your leftovers. The combination of the colours and textures of fabrics can be really interesting.

The leaves

Glue the florist wire onto the backs of the leaves so glue can dry while you are tooling the petals and constructing the flower.  Place the wire in the centre of the leaf. Make sure the wire is glued to almost the top of the leaf.

Heat the knife tool.  (If you don’t have one raid the kitchen drawer and look for a butter knife – ie one that is smooth and doesn’t have serrated surfaces.)

Once glue has dried place leaf wrong side down on flat hard surface (ie don’t use foam pad or sand bag).  Run knife along the wire on each side of the wire.  Make veins in the leaf – run knife from centre to the edge of the leaf.

Wire the leaves together by first overlapping two of the wired leaves and twisting the wire until there is no movement.  Cut off extra wire from one wired leaf. 

Repeat with third leaf.

Neaten this wire bunch by winding florist tape from the base of all leaves to the end.

Pressing the petals

Using foam pad (or sand bag if you prefer) place Petal 1 – right side down.  Tool all petals on the wrong side of the fabric.

Place ball tool into centre of each petal, by holding the petal in the centre with the left hand, push down with tool in right hand lift up at the same time.  All four of Petal 1 are pressed the same.

Place one of the circles of petals on the foam pad and press the heated knob into each petal. 

Press heavily into the foam pad so that the petals are pressed into deep cups. 

The three larger sets of Petal 2 are pressed in much the same way but instead of one deep scoop in the centre of each petal, make two indentations in each petal.  Press the remainder of Petal 2 the same.

Into the centre of each circle of petals press firmly using the round tool:
Press 2 of Petal 1 on wrong side
Press 2 of Petal 1 on right side – the reason for this will become clearer later
Press all of Petal 2 on right side

Assembling the camellia

Take a piece of florist wire and fold in half.  Put the folded wire in to the centre of the stamens.  Fold stamens up and pinch the florist wire at the base using some pliers.  Twist the two pieces of wire together.  Wrap the base with florist tape and tease out the stamens so they sit evenly.
Cut a small X in the middle of each circle of petals.  This little X allows the circle of petals to slide over the wire.

Put a small amount of glue at the base of the stamens. Take Petal 1 (the one that was tooled in the middle of the wrong side) and slide onto the wire.  Place the petals around the centre stamens so the petals overlap evenly. The petals should fold around the stamens forming a little centre bud. Hold gently until the glue has held the petals around the centre stamen bunch.

Place a small amount of glue around the base of the first petal.  Slide the second Petal 1 (the petal with tooled centre of wrong side) onto the stamen base.

Place a small amount of glue around the base of the previous petal.  Slide the third Petal 1 onto the flower bud.  This third petal will sit out from the stamen base rather than around the centre. Repeat for the remaining Petal 1. Place around so the petals go in between previous petals.
Now slip the three large circles of petals on (ie Petal 2); placing them so that the petals curl out. Place a little glue between each slip-on petal circle. Place Petal 2 so that petals go in between previous petals.  Repeat this process with the remaining petals.
When the glue on the flower is dry, attach the leaves.  Place leaves so that about half of the leaf shows beyond the flower and secure the leaf bunch by winding in the wire stem of the leaves around the main stem of the flower.  Position leaves onto camellia making sure they are close to the back of the flower - this helps to have the flower sit a little flatter at the back when you are attaching to hats or when using as a brooch.  Cut off extra wire.

To neaten the back cut a small circle from the fabric. Cut a small X in the centre of the circle – glue and then slide the circle over the wires. 

Neaten all wires using florist tape.

Use the pliers and pinch the back of the camellia (at the base) on the wire and fold the stem over.  Cut off excess wire using pliers. 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Millinery Workshop with Master Milliner Neil Grigg

Earlier this year I was really fortunate to attend a millinery workshop on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.  The very talented Sandy Aslett (Hats by Sandy A) hosted a workshop conducted by Master Australian Milliner Neil Grigg.  As you can see from the clip there were some amazing pieces that were created during the 4 day workshop.

It is always so inspiring to attend these workshops to learn from one of the best milliners in Australia and to network with colleagues from all over Queensland and New South Wales.  Milliners travelled from Rockhampton (Qld), Clunes (NSW), Brisbane (Qld) and some milliners from the Sunshine Coast (Qld).

It is nearing the end of winter here in Queensland and that means that Spring, bright colours  and Fashions in the Field is just around the corner. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Workshop with Master Milliner, Neil Grigg

Attended an amazing 4-day workshop recently.  The workshop was hosted by wonderful Milliner at Buderim, Queensland (Hats by Sandy A).

Hat makers came from all over Queensland to learn from Master Milliner - Neil Grigg.  Neil commented that it was wonderful to see such colour for winter (yes winter here in Australia).  Yes Queensland girls like a bit of colour - note you don't see much black in amongst all this lot.

Not all the photos below are mine - just a sample of the variety of work we completed in the workshop.  Just bliss to think only about hats for four whole days!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Making Fabric Flowers for Fascinator for St Patrick's Race Day

Just got a little sidetracked from my previous post about making silk roses for a bride.  I made these on the weekend for a headpiece for a georgous girl going to the St Patrick's Race Day. 

These are dog roses and are dead easy to make.  I really like these flowers as they sit quite flat - sometime you need a flatter flower.

Just to make sure you understand - both these will not be on the same hat.  The green silk flowers are for the fascinator and the other one is made from cotton.  I always think it is so amazing that changing the fabric can change the whole look.

I have sold  these dog roses with a little attachment at the back so you can thread it through a headband, use as a brooch or use on a thin belt or ribbon around the waist.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Flower Headpieces - Couture Fashion Week

Wow - you can see why I love flower making - so many possibilities.  This would be amazing for Spring Carnival Racing in September in Australia.  Us Queensland girls love  big statement headwear with lots of colour and nothing too sublte!

They were part of a presentation held at the Shangri-La hotel as part of Couture Fashion Week.

The link below is great to follow and have a good look at what else was presented.

Read more:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

How to Make Silk Flowers - The first bit - stiffening the fabric...

I am currently making roses for a wedding headpiece for a lovely bride.  Step one in the process is to choose the fabric and stiffen the fabric.

Fabric Stiffening Recipe for Silk Flowers
This recipe was given to me during a millinery workshop conducted by fabulous Australian milliner Neil Grigg. Thanks Neil this recipe is a cracker!

1. 420ml water– bring to boil in a saucepan
2. Mix together 20ml of cornstarch/cornflour with 20ml of water – it will make a thin paste
3. Pour cornstarch paste into the boiling water
4. Keep stirring until the mixture boils and thickens
5. Add 40ml of PVA glue – hold high and trickle in while continuing to stir until all is combined
6. Pour into a glass bottle and cool before use
7. This will keep about 7 -10 days.

Use a paintbrush to apply to fabric. Peg onto line and wait until fabric is dry and becomes stiff.

 Here are some petals cut out from stiffened fabric.  The brass tools are used in the next step.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Celebrating Australia Day - Millinery Ingenuity

Aussies today are celebrating Australia Day .  It is a public holiday so have just spent a  morning with friends and thinking about what makes Australia such a great place to live, having a laugh and not taking ourselves too seriously at all. 

I found this clip on the Film Australia site.  It shows  how it is possible to have one hat but 3 different looks.  The designer obviously takes his work very seriously.

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fashions on the Field at Melbourne Cup 2011

I just love the diversity of hats and colours.  Queensland girls always go for a big hat and plenty of colour.  Sigh! Why can't we wear a hat every day.

Have a look at some of the amazing hats snapped at last year's  Melbourne Cup.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A pretty little hat at Ascot?

Royal Ascot hats

I was trawling about the internet and came across this amazing photo of a groovy lady at  the Ascot Races in England last year.    I absolutely adore her pink gloves.

I wonder if a hat can ever be considered too big? The photo does not show her handbag - I wonder if she went with something equally as subtle.

Perhaps I am underestimating the versatility of this headpiece  - it could double as a bed swag or a picnic blanket.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Crazy Inspiration for Millinery from the Kitchen

Such fun! Just goes to show don't think inside the box... Click on the link below and look at the salad bowl in your kitchen completely differently.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Clever thinking for Caulfield Cup 2011

Made this vintage inspired little rockabilly number for lovely lady going to Rockhampton Caulfield Cup. She had an inspired idea for accessories. Handbags are just useless really....she used a red plastic wine cooler. Just so practical on so many levels. Cold drinks all day and a place to put your winnings.