How to Make Scrappy Chrysanthemumscomments (11) September 23rd, 2008
Around this time of year, I start to miss all the flowers we take for granted in spring and summer. But this project will provide colorful cheeriness indoors, and they have so many uses you won't ever want to stop making them!
1. Gather some fabric scraps, and sort them into appealing combinations. I used a variety of fabrics to test how they'd all come out: (clockwise from upper left) cotton knits, wool jerseys, wool felt, a fine cotton/Lycra jersey, woven denim and calico, and cashmere sweater.
2. Cut the scraps into circles. They don't need to be very neat or perfect, so just go for it! Play around with different sizes, depending on how you plan to use them. I find a range from about 2 inches up to 6 inches works well. Cut a variety, ranging from small to big, and stack them with the biggest on the bottom and the smallest on top. Each flower can have anywhere from 4 up to 12 circles. The more you have, the fuller your finished flower will be.
3. Sew the centers. Depending on how many circles you've used, you might be able to use your sewing machine, but I really went wild and stacked 'em up, so I had to stitch by hand. Use a heavy thread and just make 3 or 4 stitches in the center to hold everything together. These won't show when you're done, so don't worry about making them pretty, just secure. I used some wool yarn on the lower right one as an experiment. Sometimes they look nice just like this (sort of like poppies), so feel free to call some of them finished at this point.
4. Cut the petals. This is my favorite part! Snip from the outer edges in toward the middle of the flower. You can cut each layer individually or several at once; just be careful not to make them too thin near the centers or they could fall off! On the bigger circles near the bottom, I usually only cut about halfway in toward the center. You can leave the petals chunkier, or make them really fine, depending on the type of material. They look pretty good at this stage too, so you might want to keep some of these just as they are.
5. Give them a bath. Fill a tub or sink with some hot water and a dash of detergent, and toss them in. Swish them around, squeeze, and agitate, especially any woolen ones! I like it when they felt up somewhat. But even the cotton and woven ones will curl and fray and fluff up in this process. Rinse a few times, squeeze out the excess water, and shake them out. Lay on a towel to dry. You could test out putting them in the dryer to see what happens, but I've never tried it.
And there's your autumn garden! I like to stitch a strip of jersey (you can do it at the same time as when you stitch the centers together) on the back, so I can tie them onto gifts, shirts, hats, my head, the dog, etc. You might also sew a pin onto the back and call it a brooch. I have no doubt you'll all come up with myriad uses for these little beauties, and I can't wait to hear about them!