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tutorial: flower collar

so, i had a birthday yesterday. in honor of this new year and decade of my life (which i think should be pretty good), i give you the gift of a previously promised and overdue tutorial. i'm generous now that i'm in my thirties. 

here we go. how to make this collar (or something like it):


you need: lightweight fabric (i used shot cotton on the easter dresses and will be using it, in a different color, for the tutorial today), scissors, needle, thread, thimble. that's it. 

:: with fabric folded, cut a strip. the size varies depending on the size of flowers you want in the end, here i cut a 3" strip. keeping fabric folded, cut strip into squares. (you do not need to be exact with any of this).


:: trim the corners off the squares, making a flowery square. these "squares", with two layers each, will be used to make one flower.


:: making the individual flowers. pinch and gather first layer of "square" in the middle so it looks (wow, you're going to get tired of this word) flowery.


:: while holding the middle of the first layer secure, bring second layer to it, gather around the pinched part. move and gather fabric until it looks good.


:: stitch the flower through the pinched stem to hold it all in place. i usually run the needle and thread through four times or so, just enough that all the gathering/ruffling is secured. knot and cut thread.


::repeat many many times. you'll need a lot of these flowers.


:: attach flowers to fabric (shirt, dress or whatever you're making flowery) one at a time. if you have children who, like mine, are really good at pulling on things, you'll want to secure each flower very well with several stitches before moving to stitch on the next. this is where the thimble comes in handy. pushing that needle through again and again gets rough on the fingers. 


:: depending on the look you want, you can either pack them really tight (i did this for the easter dresses) or you can keep it a little bit looser and let each individual flower show a bit more. here i have 15 flowers. the first picture shows them tight, the second a bit looser. great either way. 

that's it! just stitch them on in the shape you want and you're done. so easy, right? just plan on spending a little time on it. it's one of those great projects to do while listening to this american life. especially act one of this episode. break-ups, phil collins and starlee kine. so good. 


also, there were some questions about the specifics of the easter dresses. unfortunately, other than the flowers (kaffee fassett shot cotton in blush) i don't know what the fabrics are, exactly. ruthie's light blue is either kona or p+b color spectrum while eve's yellow dress is a lovely cotton twill from my stash. 

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Reader Comments (102)

Happy Birthday! That is very exciting. I have truely loved my thirties (I'm already 5 years in)... even more than my twenties, believe it or not! This is when you get it together and know yourself, and live it up!

April 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

I love that bobby told you that he didn't know what this american life was- since we have listened to it together in the car... But I've given up trying to find a logical pattern to what sticks in his brain and what he is going to have no recollection of in a future conversation!

April 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Simple and beautiful - truly amazing -
Thank you for sharing~

oh, and Happy Birthday!

April 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusannah @ Art Nest

speaking of starlee kine, did you see the live broadcast last week, or was it the week before? I've been dying to see what she looks like because I had such a hard time picturing her through her voice. It was really fun to watch the show if for no other reason than to find out what starlee kind looks like, I felt like I got my $20 worth right there. And I do love that breakup episode, by the way.

Love the flowers Katie, if I could only get myself a girl to sew them for! (for whom to sew them?)

April 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdc riches

Oh thank you, thank you for posting this. A time-consuming project but with great rewards. Adorable as usual!

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdana

Happiest happy birthday, my dear friend. I love that episode of this american life. and i love this tutorial..maybe i'll even use it someday. :) love you!

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjen

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! As you said so very simple, but to look at the Easter dresses on the computer your left thinking, huh? Now the mystery is unveiled and to work i shall go. I can't wait to try some "flowery" flowers.

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbarbara brown

happy birthday too. i hope it was a lovely one. enjoy your thirties, i am in my last year of them.

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbarbara brown

happy birthday katie!! and thanks for the tutorial! i hope for your birthday you truly didn't just do that for us though - did you do anything for yourself?

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPam

this is stunning! thanks so much for a wonderful tutorial! i am constantly amazed by all of your gorgeous creations. i had to write a post about you on my blog www.luvinthemommyhood.com to help spread the luv. it will be up tomorrow.
happy birthday and thanks so much for sharing :)

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

you're so awesome. i can totally see this also working with crepe or tissue paper as a long party garland. well, possibly. might give it a try - daughter's first birthday coming up. and speaking of birthdays happy happy birthday to you. im 32 this month and i'd be happy to stay around this age forever - not one scary thing about having a 3 in front of your age as some had us believing growing up!

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbelinda

Happy Birthday! Thank you so much for the gift. My daughter will go nuts over this!

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpaula

thank you so much for this tutorial. your sewing is so inspirational - I love your shapes + color combinations.

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjennie lynn

This is great!! Thank you!

Happy Birthday!

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

beautiful! can't wait to give it a go.

happy birthday!!!

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErin

thank you so much, katie! can't wait to give it a try.

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

Thank You for the tutorial! I loved that "flowery" look, now for the actually doing it myself part! We'll see!!

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Gorgeous, gorgeous...I'm going to flower some old t-shirts for myself! And so fun that you, too, enjoy This American Life. I just told my husband last weekend that I think it's one of my top five favorite things in my whole life (besides people). Oh, and HaPpY BiRThDaY! Mine was Monday....aren't birthday weeks fun?

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJillian

I recently found your blog, and have to say I love this! Thanks for the little how-to, I'm feeling inspired.

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Yay! thank-you so much...I have been looking forward to trying this!

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKate

THANK you so much for sharing this. I was DYING when I saw those dresses and stared at the photo for about ten minuets trying to figure it out so I could put it on a cardigan I have. THANKS, I love your stuff, its BEE-A-U-TIFUL!

May 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjessica

Those collars are just amazing. They remind me of frosting, and well, you can't get any better than that.

May 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

what a fantastic tutorial!...+ happy birthday too!

May 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather S

Thank you! Happy Birthday, and thank you for the present to us.

May 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTonya

Wow, awesome doesn't have to be impossible! That doesn't look as hard as I thought. It would be great to hear how and when you started sewing and what your favorite patterns are!!! Just one more thing, I hope you had a great birthday! Being thirty is awesome especially when you have little versions of yourself!

May 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdriana

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