scrap fabric project : flower garland

scrap flower tutorial

*Many of you have asked about the wood thread winders – they are awesome! And you can find them at French General.

These garlands are an experiment in color, working with fabric scraps in green, lots of berry shades and  a little bit of very hot pink. I love the combination of the cooler organic shades with this one super bright (almost neon) shade. This is a project I brought to a workshop this past spring, you know, one million years ago. The idea was to provide an invitation to play and some constraints – in this case time (it was the end of the workshop) and color.

Buttons and wood beads add interest and a little weight so it hangs nicely and you’ll nee a little  stuffing for an extra special touch – more on that in a minute.

You could use ribbon, string, twill tape etc. for the base or make a fabric strip yourself. There are directions for that below but let’s make the scrap flowers first.

make a flower garland from scraps
You will need

  • fabric scraps
  • buttons
  • embroidery thread
  • wood or glass beads
  • stuffing
  • basic sewing kit
  • sewing machine – for making the strip

making the flowers

easy scrap flower tutorial

1. Start by cutting a bunch of shapes from your scraps. Don’t think too much or edit yourself at this point, just give yourself a bunch of shapes to play with – a variety of circles and leaves. Part of the value in this exercise for me is that I end up putting things together that I might not have if I made a plan first. Note – the shapes do not need to be perfect.

 scrap flower garland DIY

2. Layer the leaf and flower shapes and stitch them together with embroidery thread. I cut some circles into pinwheel shapes. Some are just layered and stitched, some edges are frayed. Try stuff. Make more flowers than you need, choices are good.

The puffy flowers in the necklace at the top of the post were added by one of the awesome workshops students – Michele Muska. They are a fantastic addition. She also added some charms and little fabric tails. I love the necklace.

3. The puffy flowers are super easy to make. Stitch around the edge of a circle – this one is about 3 inches across. Leave the needle and thread attached.

4. Gather until it’s almost closed. Add a little stuffing.

5. Pull tight and knot.

6. Bring the needle up through the center.

7. Loop around the edge and insert the needle in the bottom center. Bring the needle through the top center and pull tight.

8. Repeat this stitch around, evenly spaced, as many times as you like and then knot on the bottom. Add a button to the center if you like.

scrap flower pincushion tutorial

These flowers also make a sweet mini pin cushion. I liked it so much I interrupted my flower making to make a little needle book to add it to.

9. For another flower stitch around the edge of a circle and gather tight without stuffing. You may recognize this as a Yoyo (I think you call it something else in the UK?).

10. Add a smaller circle to the center. You could do all sorts of layered variations with any of these ideas. Experiment.

making the band

1. The strap length needs to be about 5 feet. You can piece scraps together to make it long enough. Begin by cutting  2 and ½ inch strips of light weight cotton. I’m using a couple colors. Place the strips as shown with the right sides of the fabric together (the right side being the side you want on the outside when you’re done). Pin and sew from corner to corner.

2.Trim the access, leaving a ¼ inch seam allowance.

3.  Press that open.

4. Fold the strip in half, pin and sew – right sides together –  with a ¼ inch seam allowance – the entire length. Leave both ends open.

5. Attach a large safety pin to one layer close to one end.

6. Begin inserting it into the strip.

7. Scrunch the fabric over the pin.

8. And pull from the end covering the pin.

9. Keep scrunching fabric over the pin, advancing it through the tube.

10. When the pin emerges form the other end keep pulling it slowly through while unbunching the fabric in the other direction

11. A long strip will take a while to unbunch – keep working it down the strip.

12. Press your turned strip.

assemble the garland

scrap fabric garland diy

Before we start assembling, if you plan to wear the garland as a necklace (I do) tie the bow and try it on. You’ll get an idea of where your flowers etc. should be placed.

scrap fabric garland diy

1. Starting about 16 inches from one end (to allow for my bow) I’m adding some knots and beads to make the strap interesting and give it some weight.

2.  Insert a glass or wood bead and push it down to a knot (I used a 1/2 inch wood bead).

3. Make another knot and slide it down against the bead as you tighten it.

scrap flower garland diy

We’ll add the flowers using embroidery thread – I divide the thread and just use a couple strands. You’ll also need some pins to place the flowers and buttons for the back.

scrap garland tutorial

4.  Pin your flowers and leaves in place.

5.  Stitch through the layers to attach the flower and/or leaves.

6. Add a button for a little weight. It also looks finished and pretty on the back.

7. Trim the tails at and angle, fold in the edges and stitch closed. I used a visible stitch with embroidery thread.

scrap flower garland tutorial

scrap flower garland tutorial

So sweet! wear it or hang it – I have a couple hanging from a door knob. If you make one I’d love to see – use #annwoodpattern on instagram or email photos to info at ann wood handmade dot com.

the somewhat weekly newsletter

Do you get my free weekly-ish newsletter? There are tips and tricks, ideas, stuff to try, all the latest news and blogposts and extra stuff, just for subscribers, delivered mostly on Friday. Pretty much.

scrap garland diy

28 Comments

  1. Benice Kok

    Loveliness and so sweet. Thanks for inspiring me to grab my fabric scraps.

  2. annabelle

    Christmas garland! Wouldn’t it be pretty on the tree or above the fireplace. I see it!
    Thank you, Ann.

  3. Susan Artusa

    I love Annabelle’s idea of Christmas garland! So pretty Ann- thanks for the tutorial

  4. They look lovely. I will definitely have to have a play. And you’re right, we call yoyos Suffolk puffs in the UK. No idea why : )

  5. Christina Polans

    I love this so much! Especially the needle book/pincushion. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Love it! I’m thinking about a Halloween garland with cute ghosts attached, to hang as a decoration. Or hearts for Valentine’s Day : )

    Thanks so much!

  7. Perfect for a colourful pick me up in the season of winter lockdown in southern Australia ❤️ shall be making today, thank you

  8. So sweet….the embellishments u could add are endless. Thanku very much. Just so lovely

  9. A friend from Scotland (formerly from the US) sent me your blog. I was glad to see Michele Muska mentioned, as she is a good friend and inspiration. And I am lucky enough that she lives close enough to stop over for a visit or glass of wine. (Not since the virus, though. Boo Hoo)
    Nancy Masters

  10. shawna tatom

    Wonderful! Where can we find the wood embroidery floss bobbins? I have plastic ones but I love these wood ones!

  11. What an Inspiration! So grateful my sister turned me on to you, Ann. I so look forward to your e-mails. Thanks for being so generous and clever.

  12. Denise Miller

    Love the garland. i will have one pretty soon.
    Where did you get/or make the items that your embroidery floss holders? Love it.

  13. Yen Hanes

    Thanks so much for your generosity.
    What do you think about using pinking shears for another type of edge?

  14. Rosemary B

    I have been so busy keeping every one happy.. I am so glad to give a comment here on this beautiful flower garland. I love it.
    I could make these with my brilliant 5 year old grand girl
    Thank you Ann for all of your creativity.
    I hope you are safe and happy in your new nest.

  15. lynn legge

    i love everything about this garland, thank you for sharing…soon as i can use my right hand i will attempt to make one (had a small stroke thank goodness) at least i can read and peck with my good hand
    stay well sending love and gentle thoughts in this troubling world
    always wonderful to create
    xox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *