Felted Finery – Natural Blooms (Part Two)

With four felted circles completed, I was now ready to begin embroidering the flower outline that I had previously digitized for this project. The flowers measured 90mm and the stabilizer was already part of the felting process, so all I had to do was hoop each circle and push the start button.

Embroidery Outline

After the outlines completed stitching, I took by little pair of Fiskars clippers and began carefully cutting out each flower just inside the stitching line. This is easy to do and results in tidy shapes every time. Also, all those little pieces that fall away as I cut can be gathered up for another project, such as a little felted flower embellishment. This process could also be accomplished with a template and a fabric marking pen, so an embroidery machine isn’t an essential part of the method.

Cut Flowers

Once the flowers were completely cut out, I flipped them to their reverse sides, which now became their front sides. Felting produces a two-sided fabric; one side will be more textured than the other. Usually the reverse side has a smoother appearance, and this was the look I desired for my flowers.

Next, I picked out a medium weight chenille yarn that was wrapped in rayon thread. Rather than couching or machine felting the yarn, which would have changed its appearance, I chose to attach it to the edges of my flowers with a light touch of permanent fabric glue (easily accomplished with a thin bamboo stick).

Edge Embellishment

For the base fabric, I chose natural 100% wool yardage that had been previously felted in the washing machine. This piece will eventually become a handbag, so I backed it with Decor Bond, a heavy fusible stabilizer.

I auditioned several yarns for the couched vines, but finally decided upon an Italian cable twist wool, liking its round quality. I then attached a braiding foot and a braiding guide to my sewing machine and threaded it with a natural color rayon thread. The braiding guide is optional but it sure helps. I used the following machine settings:

Stitch – Blanket Stitch
Stitch Length – 4.5mm
Stitch Width – 4.0mm
Upper Tension – 2.6

Braiding Foot and Guide

I could have sketched a winding pattern to follow on the base fabric, but instead I just took my time and formed winding curves as I stitched. The beginning and ending stitches were deliberately placed so that a flower would cover them. After completing the couching, I gently brushed the yarn towards the stitching so that the one-sided straight stitches were covered.

Couched Wooll Cable

I placed the first two flowers over the beginning and ending stitches, measured their edges from the side of the fabric to make sure there was plenty of seam room (about a 2 inch allowance), and then placed the remaining two flowers here and there until I found positions that visually pleased me. Again, I didn’t want to change their appearance in any way by machine felting them, so I attached them with fabric glue.

In part three, my natural blooms will receive some additional embellishments.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

N. Rene West
Time Treasured

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