Now that you have gathered together the tools and purchased the necessary materials that you will need for your first project, it’s time to run through the various techniques used in silk flowermaking. After selecting the flower you want to make, you will trace and cut the patterns, starch your fabric (if the directions call for it), dye the fabric (unless you have purchased commercially dyed fabric), attach wire to leaves and petals, shape the parts of the flower, make flower centers and buds, and assemble your flower or group of flowers. You may also want to try some of the special effects discussed at the end of this chapter.
Cutting your patterns
After choosing the flower you plan to make, look at the patterns for it. All of the patterns are drawn to actual size. Now examine the fabric you have selected and determine the direction of the grain (the way the fabric tears most easily). You will be cutting all of your fabric on the bias (diagonal to the grain), so the diagonal length of the pattern (shown on each pattern with an arrow) must be placed parallel to the grain of the material.
The arrow must be parallel to the grain of the fabric.
There are several ways to transfer the full-size pattern from the page to your fabric. If your fabric is sheer (as most silk is), place it directly over the pattern and trace with a blunt pencil directly on the fabric. A second way to transfer a pattern is to place your fabric underneath the pattern, with dressmaker’s carbon in between. Then move a pencil along the printed pattern; a carbon copy will appear on your fabric. If you are mass-producing one flower type, make templates —cardboard or construction- paper patterns—from the original pattern. Once fashioned, these templates (one for each part of the flower) can be used to trace many flower parts rapidly and will not wear out. Once you become proficient at silk flowermaking, you will undoubtedly want to make flowers for which there are no available patterns. This should not be a problem, since you can, with little effort, create your own patterns. To make your own patterns from scratch, you might try just taking a very close look at the real thing—the flower you wish to duplicate—and copying the parts you see. Looking at a good photograph or botanical illustration will sometimes work, but there may be pitfalls in trying to determine sizes and shapes of parts that are not visible. In any case, examine the various flower parts, looking for similarities between this flower and flowers that you already know how to make. Next, trace the actual flower parts onto a piece of paper. Remember to make any minor adjustments in the pattern to ensure that you will be able to assemble it with floral tape and glue. Another method of making your own patterns is to examine a commercially made silk flower and notice how it is formed. Take notes on color and number of petals and other flower parts. Then take it apart and adapt it to paper patterns that you can use. Some ready-made silk flowers have plastic parts, and you will have to duplicate them with fabric or floral tape to guarantee the quality of your flower. An inexpensive way to test your new pattern is to create a prototype in crepe paper instead of silk. This will allow you to make adjustments to the pattern and refine your finished flower to your liking. Once you have your pattern traced, whether an original or one taken from this book, the next step is to cut it out. This is a straightforward procedure, but be careful to cut ever so slightly inside your pencil marks on the fabric so that they will not show up on your finished flower. And remember to check, before cutting, that the arrow on the pattern is aligned with the grain on the fabric.
Ok! lets do your first flower.
Here is Pattern and Tutorial for “Bud Rose” fabric flower. Before we will start to create flower download A4 pattern Click on this icon for large picture. Print it.
Cotton (Crepe) white hard 25×25cm
Artsilk “New Gold Satin” white hard 23×25cm
Artsilk “Usukinu” white hard 23×25cm
#20 Braided floral wire green
#24 Braided floral wire green
PVC Tube 3mm
Flower foam egg-shaped core 28х35mm
#11 Green powdered dye (F series)
#2 Magenta powdered dye (F series)
Use of material:
Part of flower
Face – Cotton “Crepe”
Ball 30mmSmooth spoon 5mm
Face – Artsilk “New Gold Satin”
Back – Artsilk “Usukinu”
Knife to make veins
Face – Artsilk “New Gold Satin”
Smooth spoon 5mm
PVC Tube 3mm
Flower foam egg-shaped core 28х35mm
Explanation of the pattern:
P – petals L – leaves C – calyx Number specifies a quantity of the flowers parts. B – Back fabrics for lining. Must be duplicated on lining cloth (Usukinu)
Diagram of placing the petals on Cotton Crepe fabric with dimensions of 46x25cm. The rest of the fabric can be used for additional petals, at your own discretion:
Diagram of placing the leaves on Artsilk “New Gold Satin” fabric with dimensions of 23х12.5cm:
! Remember, you do not need to cut out the lining cloth “Usukinu” separately by templates, since it is cut out in place after gluing with the face fabric. See the following paragraphs.
Stage of work:
1) Cut out the flower pieces from the provided cardboard pattern.
2) Place the cardboard blank on the fabric and circle it with a pencil. Below is a diagram of applying a pattern on the fabric, which can help you to save on cuts.
3) Proceed to dyeing. Prepare brushes, little bowls for mixing, palette and lukewarm water. By using a pipette, pour a little water into each bowl as shown in the photo. Gradually add concentrated dye in small amounts, of about two or three match heads.
Place the petals cut out from the fabric on the newspaper or special blotting paper according to their dimensions, not to get confused later during hot-pressing and assembling. Lubricate the petals with water by a brush – this will let the dye to be evenly applied to the dyeing surface. By using the palette, mix a small amount of the diluted dye #2 with water. Apply this tint on the petals.
Proceed to dyeing the edges of the petal. I recommend using a thinner brush, for example #2. In the same way, proceed to dyeing the leaves and the lining cloth – use the dye #11. You can also use the dye #2 on the lower parts of the leaf to give a more expressive hue. Try to experiment!
4) Hot-pressing. To iron the petals, I use a soft sponge and a 30mm hemisphere nozzle. Preheat the soldering iron to a temperature just above average. Take care that the fabric does not burn and does not stick to the surface of the nozzle.
Give each petal a convex shape. Next, use a 5mm Smooth Spoon nozzle and a middle sponge to iron the edges of the petal. Please iron small inner petals from the inside, while the outer petals – from the outside.
5) After all the petals are ironed, proceed to gluing the leaves. Before you start gluing, arrange a suitable composition from the leaves and wire. Cut the excess wire by wire cutter. Stick the wire #24 (green) to the leaf with hard glue. Note: the glue to be applied on the wire, not on the leaf.
Now apply soft glue on the entire surface of the leaf. In order to spread the glue evenly over the surface, I use a small piece of glass. First, apply the glue on the glass, then attach the leaf to it and thus transfer the adhesive layer on the leaf without excess glue. Glue all the green leaves to the lining cloth. Make sure that all parts are glued free of gaps.
Now cut out all the glued leaves and the calyx. Do not throw away remaining clippings of the lining cloth “Usukinu”, since you can use them for the winding of leaf stems. Cut them into strips.
6) Proceed to hot-pressing of the leaves’ veins. Use a knife or a Japanese hook, the knife makes more sharp veins. To work with the calyx, use a 5mm Smooth Spoon.
Make a branch of the leaves and glue the stems with the pre-cut strips from the remains of the “Usukinu” fabric. Use soft glue:
7) Assembling. Pass the wire #20 through the foam egg as shown in the photo. This will be our flower and stem core.
Begin to stick the petals to the egg, start with small petals, then medium and large at the end. If desired, you can add wool along the contour of the bud bottom, to give it a larger shape. Usually this method is used when there are a few of petals.
Spread glue on the wire and insert a PVC tube.
Make a hole in the tube in order to insert the stem with the leaves. Use a truncated awl.