How to Make Textile Flowers fit for an English Country Garden – Heart UpCycling!

Join me to create some pretty textile flowers. Let's make some forget-me-nots and vintage roses ...

I’ve just finished making my 12th custom order Tilda doll.  She was such a pleasure to create.  My customer chose a beautiful cream and blue rose fabric just perfect for an early Summer Day in an English Country Garden.

As I worked on her, I found myself humming that old and much loved tune:

textile flowers fabric

“How many kinds of sweet flowers grow in an English Country Garden? 

I’ll tell you know of some the I know and those I miss I hope you’ll pardon.  

Daffodils, heart’s ease and phlox; meadowseet and lady smocks; gentian, lupin and tall hollyhocks.  

Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, forget-me-nots in an English Country Garden.”

How to Make Textile Flowers - Forget-me-Nots

This Tilda Doll was requested to be blonde, fair skinned and with an overall vintage look.  She offered me an opportunity to create some rather special little textile flowers to sit in her curly blonde hair and give her her own unique look.

The small check gingham fabric was a good one to choose to make forget-me-nots with.  It had just the right shade of blue and was a nice tight weave that doesn’t fray easily.  I was careful to save a few scraps left over from cutting the doll’s skirt and bloomers so that I could make some perfectly co-ordinating hair accessories..

Textile Flowers

Foreget-me-Nots - What You Will Need:

  1. Scraps of fabric – I used the left over blue gingham, but you can be creative with any blue fabric scraps you have accumulated from previous projects.
  2. Lightweight iron-on interfacing.  I hold onto even the smallest of pieces of this in a bag and keep them for small scale projects like flowers.
  3. An iron.
  4. An electric die cutting/embossing machine that will cut intricate metal dies.  I used a Gemini Go machine to make the forget-me-nots.  It is a smaller version of the larger Crafter’s Companion Gemini machine, but just as effective.  The plates are much cheaper and – in my experience – don’t bend as much as the full size plates.  An electric machine gives you much more power and precision than a manual machine.
  5. A selection of thin metal flower dies.
  6. Tiny beads – for the flower centres.  Heart Up-Cycling!
  7. Needle and thread.
Textile Flowers Gemini Go Die Cutting Machine
Gemini Go Die Cutting Machine
Textile Flowers Forget-me-Not Fabric Scraps
Textile Flowers - Forget-me-Not Fabric Scraps

Textile Flowers - Forget-me-Nots - Step by Step Instructions

  1. Stabilise your fabric scraps by ironing the lightweight interfacing onto the back.
  2. Trim them to fit your die cutting machine.
  3. Make your “sandwich”: clear plate; plastic shim; magnetic shim; flower dies (BLADE SIDE FACING UP!; fabric scraps (MATERIAL SIDE FACING DOWN!); metal cutting plate; clear cutting plate.
  4. Feed you sandwich through the Gemini machine and – voilà – your pretty little forget-me-not flowers will drop neatly out of their dies, all ready for embellishing!
  5. To make the flower centres, I threaded a needle and passed it up from underneath the flower through the flower centres up through the bead, back down through the flower centre to the underside of the flower and then tied the thread securely with a few knots on the back, leaving long thread ends that I could use later to attach the forget-me-not to the doll.
Textile Flowers - Die Cutting Sandwich
Textile Flowers - Die Cutting Sandwich
Textile Flowers - Pretty Forget-me-Nots
Textile Flowers - Pretty Forget-me-Nots Emerge!
Textile Flowers - Forget-me-Nots
Textile Flowers - Forget-me-Nots
Textile Flowers - Forget-me-Nots

Now - What Let's Make Some Vintage Roses ...

I like using textile roses on my Tilda dolls.  As I craft for the love of it and donate the funds I raise to charity, I don’t like buying ready-made embellishments.  Making them is thrifty – and so much more fun.

I was given (among some other very generous donations) a pile of antique doilies at the Harborne Village Fete last Autumn.  Doilies are very pretty – but the fact that they are round creates something of a challenge.  Hmmm. – how to incorporate them into a project …?

To make vintage style roses, I carefully trimmed the outer edge of the dolly off using a small pair of very sharp scissors.  Once extracted, the narrow lacey strip can then be wound into a rose shape, securing the petals as you go using a tiny needle and matching thread.  The rest of the doily is kept for future projects, of course.

Textile Flowers - Vintage Roses
Textile Flowers - Vintage Roses
Textile Flowers - Vintage Roses for a Tilda Doll
Vintage Roses - for a Tilda Doll

Tips and Tricks

I always like to include a few tips and tricks in each post so that a library of what I hope will be useful resources for crafters will gradually build up.  

For this project, my tips are:

  1. Always turn your die cutting plates around between each pass through the machine to avoid them bending.
  2. When your textile flowers are formed, lay them out on your ironing board, cover them with a sheet of baking paper (to protect your iron) and give them all another really good iron on the back, to make sure that the interfacing is fully adhered.
  3. I find a little beading mat is a really helpful addition to my craft kit.  When you are working with tiny beads, it is so easy to drop them or let them roll off the work surface and have to waste valuable time down on your knees playing “hunt the bead”.  It isn’t my favourite game!  This little mat holds the beads securely so you can poke your needle through.  When you are done, you can simply brush them all neatly back into storage with your fingers – simples!
Textile Flowers - Beading Mat
Textile Flowers - Beading Mat

Heart UpCycling!

Heart Upcycling Logo

For this Tilda Doll, I was pleased to be able to up-cycle a selection of pretty things to create something unique:

 

Her bodice trim and necklace were made from a small piece of vintage trim given to me by my good neighbour and friend Marion.  I cut the beads from the trim and used them to make the forget-me-not flower centres, helping to achieve an overall co-ordinated look.

Textile Flowers - Vintage Trim
Vintage Trim - Thanks Marion!

Apart from the textile flowers, I also used some satin roses saved from top quality lingerie to decorate the front and back of her the doll’s dress.

The blue cotton lace trim was also a kind donation.

Textile Flowers - Blue Antique Lace Trim
Blue Antique Lace Trim - a Kind Donation

Visit Birmingham’s Scrapstore

My doll’s fine blonde hair was created from a ball of wool obtained from the Scrapstore.

The Scrapstore is a great concept.  They collect surplus/waste materials from local businesses and individuals and re-use it in childcare establishments all across Birmingham to support creativity and play.  Individuals can also visit the Scrapstore and buy any surplus stock at very reasonable prices, which also helps to support their charitable aims.  it is a real win win concept and I am very happy to be able to make good use of it.

Textile Flowers - Tilda Doll Scrapstore Hair
Tilda Holl Hair - Courtesy of the Birmingham Scrapstore

Off she goes to Northamptonshire

Textile Flowers Tilda Doll
Off she goes - to Nuala in Northamptonshire

My doll is now safely on her way to her new home with Nuala in Northamptonshire.

She is lucky to be travelling with a friend on this journey – Dawnie, the chef is joining her.  Her hair was also made from wool obtained from the Scrapstore.  and her chef’s apron was made from a pair of discarded white linen trousers rescued from the rag bag at the Charity Shop.

They will be good company for one another – and I wish them well on their travels.

Dawnie the Chef Tilda Doll
Dawnie the Chef Tilda Doll
Dawnie the Chef Tilda Doll - Hair courtesy of the Scrapstore
Dawnie the Chef Tilda Doll Feet
Dawnie the Chef Tilda Doll UpCycled White Linen Trousers
Before: New Life for an old pair of White Linen Trousers from the Rag Bag
Dawnie the Chef Tilda Doll
After - Dawnie the Chef gets a smart new apron!

You Might Also Like

If Die Cutting excites you, you might also enjoy working with paper rather than fabric?  Take a look at my previous post – One Tessellated Die, So Many Ways Exciting Ways to Use It.

Would you like a Doll made especially for you?

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