DIY Fabric Flower Wedding Bouquet Tutorial: Part II

...Or, alternatively, how I made all my wedding bouquets for less than $60 (though, clearly, I did not pay myself for my time - that becomes a less economical proposition).  This tutorial builds a lovely wedding bouquet (shown below) with the fabric flowers constructed in this post.  I opted for fabric flowers for a lot of reasons (cost, keepsake value, lack of seersucker in nature, etc.), and I'm pretty thrilled with how all my bouquets turned out.

Bouquet

Tutorial: DIY Fabric Flower Wedding Bouquet

Start by gathering your materials.  You need: 

  • Floral Wire (like this, from Hobby Lobby, and frequently 50% off)
  • Whatever fabric you want to cover the floral wire (in this case, seersucker)
  • A bouquet collar (like this - it will be covered, so I opted for the cheapest possible)
  • A glue gun/glue sticks
  • Fabric Flowers (~18 for a bridesmaid bouquet; I used 38 or so in my bridal bouquet)
Materials

Step one is to attach the stems to the flowers.  This can be done by tightly wrapping the wire around the "tail" of each flower.  Most of mine are wrapped three-ish times - just be careful not to stab yourself with the end of the wire!

Stems

Once you've attached wire to all of your flowers, it's time to do a rough assembly of the bouquet.  Start with a few flowers that will be in the center of the bouquet, and build outward.  As you do, hold the stems all together ~4" from the base of the flowers.  This means that some of the wires will need to be bent, so that they can all stay together and form a dome shape.  The pictures below show approximately what I did for my "toss" bouquet - seven flowers, no collar, with the wires trimmed to a shorter length.

Toss

Keep building outward for a bridesmaid bouquet.  As I said, most of my bridesmaid bouquets used 18 flowers. 

Bridesmaid

And keep building out for the bridal bouquet.  Just worry about getting flowers in roughly the right place.  Once the collar is on and the stems and gathered better, you have a better opportunity to be fussy with how close the flowers are to each other and whatnot.

The shape isn't exactly what I want it to be yet, but the flowers are pretty evenly distributed.

The shape isn't exactly what I want it to be yet, but the flowers are pretty evenly distributed.

Once you're happy with the general size and flower distribution, insert the stems into a bouquet collar, and move the collar to the place that you had been holding the stems (approximately 4" down from the middle flowers).  

Collar

Use another piece of floral wire to secure the stems under the collar.

Wire

Now is your opportunity to shape the bouquet - wires should still slide relatively easily through the collar/securing wire, so you should be able to shape the dome, adjust how close the flowers are to one another, etc.

After you've done that, it's time to cover the collar, which happens in three steps.  As a pre-step, if they're not already, trim or fold your floral wire stems to be all roughly the same length.  Once that's done, cut the following shapes out of your fabric:

  • A ~270 degree circle that is the same diameter as the cone-shaped plastic part of the floral collar (not the lacy or flat parts)
  • A 1.5" strip, ~24" long
  • A 4" strip, ~24" long
Shapes

As you can see, seersucker, being a loosely woven fabric, frays like crazy.  My measurements take that into account, and leave a little room to trim once everything is together.  Start with the 1.5" strip.  Fold one end long-ways over the tips of the stems, and wrap the stems to the base of the collar.  I found that I didn't need to use glue until I got to the base. Glue the fabric to the plastic, and trim any excess.

Wrapped Stems

Next, take your mostly-circle, and wrap that around the cone, covering the end of the fabric you used over the stems.  Glue that in place.  Don't worry if this isn't too precise - it gets covered up too.

Cone Cover

Finally, take your 4" strip and glue it to the base of the cone.  You'll work your way around the circle and pleat as you go, which will cause the fabric to curve upward and provide a nice base for your flowers.  Trim any excess at the end (I also trimmed the outermost edges at the end, because of the fraying - this meant that the actual strip I used was only around 3.5").

Base Finished

And you're more or less done!  I took this opportunity to tie on a "something blue" charm, and I know that some people like bows/ribbons attached here too.

And, because I'm not a professional photographer (what? shocking, I know), here are a few pictures of the bouquets in action :)

Bridesmaid

And that's it for now!  I also made corsages with the flowers, which is considerably less time consuming (in that it requires far fewer flowers), so at some point I'll do a tutorial for that as well.   Hope this is helpful to all my fellow DIY brides out there!

Bow Tie Cat Collar Tutorial

 ... This is Owen's "moody model" face.

Everybody's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed cat!

Everybody's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed cat!

We have four cats.  Which is a lot.  And one of the things common to all of our cats is that they can remove themselves from a breakaway cat collar in record time.  They're all indoor cats, with very little interest in the outside world, so this wasn't a huge deal, but having four naked cats running around wasn't really ideal either.

Enter my mother in law, who is an awesome art quilter.  Before our wedding, she made all of our cats seersucker bow tie collars, so that they would be appropriately festive and theme-appropriate for our big day.  Since then, we've gone through a number of collar iterations, which the cats seem more or less indifferent to, and thus take them off much, much less frequently.  Here's the skinny.

Bow Tie Cat Collar Tutorial

This is a pretty straightforward process.  Start by measuring your cat's neck (or a previous collar), and gathering your materials.

Polka dots are super in this summer.  At least, they are for our cats.

Polka dots are super in this summer.  At least, they are for our cats.

In terms of materials, I use two different patterned cottons and 1/2 inch wide elastic.  Tags can be attached via a D-ring or a key ring type attachment, depending on preference.  You're also going to want to have a safety pin handy.

Start with the elastic.  Owen's neck measures around 10.5 inches (I say "around" because he's not really a "keep calm and be measured" kinda fellow), so I cut my elastic at 9.5 inches.  You want it to be tight enough that they won't be able to hook it on something and pull it off.

Take the fabric that you want for the collar itself (I used the green and white), and cut a 1.75" sleeve, if you're using 1/2 inch elastic.  If you're using a different size elastic, double the width of the elastic you're using, and add 3/4 inches to the width.  The length of the strip should be twice as long as your elastic, plus about an inch.  So, my green strip was 20 inches long.

Fold the strip in half lengthwise, right sides facing inward, and sew the two raw edges together, using a 1/4" stitch.  This should form a long tube.

Stitching

Once you've done that, turn the tube right side out by pinning a safety pin to one end, and using that to guide that end through the tube.  Once it's fully right side out, cut five inches off the end of the tube (so I had two tubes, one 15 inches and one 5 inches).  Use the safety pin again to guide the elastic through the longer tube, making sure to leave an elastic tail outside of the cotton fabric.

Tube.jpg

If you're planning to attach tags using a D-ring, thread the D-ring on to the tube here.  If you forget (as I do, pretty much every time I make one of these), I have opted for the key ring attachment with great success in the past.

To ensure that the elastics don't separate, sew the two ends together.  I usually use a zig zag stitch here.  Once they're sewn, it's a good opportunity to try the collar on your cat, and make sure that the sizing is correct.  If it seems a little loose, just trim the elastic and sew the two ends back together.

stitching

At this point, you should have plenty of scrunched up cotton on the elastic.  Take one end of the cotton, and feed it inside the other, leaving a continuous collar with only one raw edge.  Stitch the raw edge down (again, I used a zig zag stitch).

Collar

Now for the bow tie.  Take your second fabric, and cut a 9 inch strip, at the same width as your first strip (so mine was 9 inches by 1.75 inches).  Follow the same process used above to create a fabric tube.  Once you have that, cut a two inch piece off.  These are the tubes that you'll need to create the bow.

Using the two longer pieces, form rings by inserting one end of the tube into the other.  Place the shorter ring on top of the longer ring, and wrap the shortest piece of fabric around both of them (as seen below).

Bow

If you have one, now is a good time to switch your regular sewing machine foot out for a walking foot.  If you don't have a walking foot, either go really slowly, because it's a lot of fabric for the machine to work through, or consider attaching these by hand.

Sew the bow tie together.  I used a straight stitch, and stitched a box and an "X" over the center orange fabric.  This catches all layers, while still allowing the "bows" to be fluffed for some depth.

The last step is to attach the bow tie to the collar.  Try to line it up so that one of the ends of the bow covers the collar stitching that you've already done, but don't center the bow on the existing stitching, as this just adds additional layers for the needle to get through.  Use the walking foot, or sew the two pieces together by hand.

I traced the box and the "X" when attaching the two pieces.

I traced the box and the "X" when attaching the two pieces.

And there we have a pretty handsome collar!  Overall, this project took me approximately one episode of CSI: New York (currently my go-to sewing show).

And, because everyone needs this, here are some other pictures of Owen, who is also very handsome.

I'm not going to say that he's my favorite.  But we both know.

I'm not going to say that he's my favorite.  But we both know.

That's it!  Anyone have any other cat collar alternatives?