- High quality felt - I use 100% wool felt from Holland - it is very uniform (no irregular bumps or plant matter mixed in with the wool) and has a nice smooth finish.
- Sharp scissors - I can't emphasize enough that they must be SHARP - I'm talking the kind of sharp where if you slip, you may need stitches. You won't be able to get clean edges on your petals without the right tools. I use Gingher, and they are wonderful.
- Embroidery floss - I use a lovely spring green, but you could use any color you fancy.
- Bar Pin or Hair Clip - However you want to wear your hydrangea, you'll need some kind of hardware to attach it.
- Pattern Pieces - I use a 2.5" circle (as you can tell from the photo, it gets used ALOT) and a flower shape that I made. You could also free-hand your petals for a more organic look.
Step by Step
After you have all your materials ready, you'll need to start cutting out your pieces. I trace my flower pattern onto my felt using a fine ball-point pen. I used 2 different colors to add interest to my hydrangea. You'll need about 20-30 flowers depending on the size of your pattern pieces and how dense you like your flower.
Tip: try to cut just inside your pen line so you won't have pen remnants on your flower petals!
When cutting the green circle for the backing, I use the circle as a guide, but then free-hand cut some leaves attached to the circle (then you don't have to stitch all the leaves on at the end).
Here are all the pieces completely cut out. You can see the green backing piece with the free-hand leaves attached. I've also cut 2 leaves from a contrasting green felt to add on later.
After the pieces are cut, it is time to start stitching! Using the round circle as a base, select your first flower. Separate your embroidery floss - I use 3 strands. Knot your thread and position your flower near the center of the base. Bring the needle up through the flower near the center, but not quite in the center because you want the middle of your X to be centered. You can also do additional stitches so that it looks more like an asterisk * instead of an X. I've done both.
Now select a second flower. I used the 2nd color this time. Interlock the petals so that there isn't green showing between them and the petals kind of tent giving a nice 3-D look. Stitch as with the first petal.
Continue to add petals, alternating colors as you like.
Once your base becomes full, look for any areas where there might be a lot of green showing through. You can add petals. I tend to add some around the edges to make it rounded and let the petals overflow the base circle.
Now my petals are done. You can see that you really cannot see the green base at all. I am ready to attach it to the leaves and pin or hair clip.
I've chosen to make this hydrangea as a pin. If you were going to make a hair clip, you would attach the hair clip here instead of the bar pin.
Again select 3 strands of embroidery floss and knot the end. Come up through the back and securely stitch your bar pin in place using the holes drilled in the bar. Do not tie it off or cut your thread. End your last stitch so that your needle goes through to the back. Flip your leaves over so you are looking at the stitching.
Now grab one of your loose leaves and position it next to an attached leaf. Make sure the base of the leaf will be contained within the body (as pictured). With your needle, make a stitch down through the leaf to anchor it in place. Make your stitch right along the circle edge. This will be your first stitch toward connecting your flower.
Now, position your flower over the leaf base so that the circles line up. The flower top may bunch a bit from all the flower stitches, but you'll be able to stretch it as you go. Push the needle through the flower circle - be careful not to grab any petals with your needle. You want the stitching to be hidden under the petals. I use a running stitch, but you could also use a whip stitch.
Continue around the circle until you come to the other leaves. Grab your last loose leaf and insert it between the attached leaves. Make sure the base of the leaf is well within the circle so that your stitches will securely anchor it. Hold it firmly as you continue your stitches, going through all layers to enclose the new leaf.
Once you are about 1.5 inches from completing the circle, you can choose to stuff your flower if you like. Stuffing the flower will make the flowers appear more rounded, like a real hydrangea. I chose to stuff this one with wool. You could use batting or even fabric scraps.
Evenly stuff the flower so there aren't any lumps or empty spaces. Don't over-stuff - it will be difficult to stitch closed if there is wool hanging out!
Continue your stitches until you have completed the circle. Your last stitch should come up under the petals. Securely knot your thread on the top-side, hidden under the petals. Knot it really well! You don't want all your hard work to unravel! Snip the thread ends.
The petals can get matted down while sewing, so I like to fluff the petals back up when I'm done. Pull up on the ends of the petals to make them stand up nicely. You can even arrange them to a certain extent, interlocking the petals together.
Time to find the perfect sweater to pin it on! Questions? Comments? Please let me know if this tutorial was helpful or needing further explanation in the comments section. Happy crafting!
Gingher Scissors Scissors Sharpening