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Yay! Another super easy, super quick, and super cute project makes the Nikki, In Stitches Top 10 Countdown!  I did have to give you a better picture than the ones in the original post.  (Santa, thank you again for bringing me a new camera.  How did I ever think those pictures were acceptable??)  This little flower can go anywhere…on a card, atop a wrapped package, in the corner of a picture frame, maybe even on a pinback.

Enjoy…again!

Nikki, In Stitches

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Ruched Ribbon Flower

September 12th, 2009

Ruched Flower (Step 11)Last week at my monthly quilting class, we were taught how to make ruched flowers.  They will eventually find their way onto yet another Christmas quilt that I have started (pictures coming soon…I hope!).  We made them with a strip of fabric, and because of possible fraying, had to do a few folds to hide any raw edges.  The whole time I was thinking I could definitely come up with a better, easier way to make these.  And of course, I was also sitting there wondering what else I could use them for.  It hit me last night.  Why not use ribbon?  No folding necessary since there are no raw edges to hide!  I played around with some pink and green ribbon, my two favorite colors, Greeting Card with Ruched Flower Embellishmentand that led me to the very large stash of pink and green papers that I have accumulated, and before I knew it, I had a cute card with a ruched ribbon flower embellishment.  (Don’t you love when you find a completely different purpose for your newly found favorite technique?)  Below you will find a tutorial on how to make the flowers.  Feel free to ask any questions, and if you can think of any other uses for these goodies, please share!

Enjoy,

Nikki, In Stitches

 

Materials:

36″ of 5/8″ wide ribbon

Needle

Coordinating embroidery floss (1 strand) or any heavy thread that will not break when pulling to ruche ribbon

*Note:  I used black embroidery floss in the pictures below so it would stand out.

 

Directions:

Ruched Flower (Step 1)1.  Mark the wrong side of your ribbon, moving from right to left.  Along the bottom edge, mark every inch.  Along the top, first mark 1/2″ in, then mark every inch the rest of the way across.  If you’ve done this correctly, your marks should be evenly staggered the entire length of your ribbon, as shown in the picture provided.

Ruched Flower (Step 2b)2.  With a long piece of thread (approximately 36″), hand baste from mark to mark, creating a zigzag pattern, stopping occasionally to gather (“ruche”) the ribbon.  Stopping every eight to ten inches to gather your ribbon is recommended.  Any longer and you risk breaking your thread.  Also, put a hefty knot at the start of your thread so that as you pull to gather it doesn’t pull through your ribbon.

Ruched Flower (Step 2a)*The trick to the hand basting is to be consistent in your stitches.  If you look at the picture provided, I always do three stitches along each diagonal, and I was always sure to start by inserting the needle from underneath the ribbon and to end with the needle coming out the top.  I found this method made it easiest to gather the ribbon.
 
 
3.  Adjust your gathers so that your finished piece of ribbon is now ruched to about 17″.  Leave the long tail of thread in case any adjustments need to be made while assembling your flower.
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Ruched Flower (Step 4)
4.  With a new piece of thread, baste across (from side to side) the first six “petals” of your flower.  Again, put a hefty knot at the start of your thread so you don’t pull it through when gathering.

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Ruched Flower (Step 5)
5.  Pull the thread tight to form a circle of petals.  Knot the thread, but do not cut it, to hold the center loop of petals in place.
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6.  Move gathered tail from the front of the flower to the back.  Use the before and after pictures provided below as a reference.
Ruched Flower (Step 5)Ruched Flower (Step 6)
7.  Insert needle through the center of the flower to move the working thread from the front to the back.
Ruched Flower (Step 7a)Ruched Flower (Step 7b)
8.  Spiral your gathered tail around and around, creating the layers of your flower.  Tack the flower together to keep the tail in place by coming up in the crease of each petal and back down in the same crease, being sure to catch the layer underneath.  The folds, or creases, in your petals will hide your stitches.
Ruched Flower (Step 8a)Ruched Flower (Step 8b)
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Ruched Flower (Step 9)9.  Continue until you have tacked the entire tail in place.  Take a few extra stitches on the back of your flower to hold your ribbon end in place.  Knot and cut the working thread.

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Ruched Flower (Step 10)10.  Knot and cut the gathering thread.
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Ruched Flower Greeting Card11.  Embellish center with a button!

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I was going for “vintage” and ended up a little too “victorian,” but I’m still in love with the idea of embroidering on paper.

If you’re going to give it a try, I just have one huge piece of advice:

When you sew on fabric, you can bring your needle up through, and if you don’t like its placement, take it back out. The fabric will close on itself and the hole you made will disappear. (And if it doesn’t, give your fabric a little press with an iron!) With paper, that is not the case. The hole made by your needle will not close up on itself if you choose to move it. Be sure that where your needle comes up is where you really intended for that to happen! Other than that, sewing on paper is super easy and opens up a whole new world to your scrapbooking and card making arsenal of favorite techniques!

Here’s a quick wrap-up of how to make these Vintage Victorian Valentines!

Enjoy,

Nikki, In Stitches

Embroidery:

To get precise embroidery, I once again used my tissue paper transfer method, but with a twist. Did you know that tissue paper can act as carbon paper?? Here are the details:

I typed “LOVE” on my computer in American Typewriter font, size 100. (You can use whatever font and/or size you’d like.) I then held the tissue paper up to my monitor and traced “LOVE”. Flip your tissue paper over and trace “LOVE” again on the wrong side of the tissue paper. (This should give you a mirror image of “LOVE.”) Flip your tissue paper back over to the right side. Lay it on top of your scrapbook paper exactly where you’d like it placed and trace one more time. (You may have to go over it a few times.) Lift your tissue paper up, and “LOVE” will be written right there! I then embroidered right over top of each of the letters using either a back stitch or stem stitch. (Tutorials for both of these stitches can be found in my post Embroidery 101: 2 Basic Stitches You Need To Know

“LOVE” Frame

This is simply a Spellbinders die, Labels Four, that I cut, then embossed.

Flowers

The flowers are also a die, Build a Lilac by Sizzix, but you could use any die or punch you have in your stash. After cutting them, I chalked them. The embellishment in the center is a a Crystazzi Crystal 4mm bicone black bead, that is hand sewn to the flower.

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Doesn’t everyone have a trick-or-treater or two that lives too far away to knock on your door?
Send them one of these adorable Halloween cards…along with some yummy goodies!
They’ll be back for more!!

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PS…I’ll let you in on a huge secret I’ve been keeping!
I can’t draw!!
So when I pictured these cards in my head, my biggest concern was how was I going to get the “BOO!” just right.

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Enter: The How Does She Gals!

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Not only does How Does She? give great craft projects, recipes, decorating tips…pretty much everything I’m interested in…but if you sign up for their email updates, they surprise you every few weeks with freebies like printables. Take a look at what’s available as freebies here.  More specifically, check out these adorable Halloween freebies. See anything familiar??

Enjoy my spooky tutorial below!!

Nikki, In Stitches

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Materials:

Blank Notecards

Black chalk

Fabric of your choice (This is a great project to use up your scraps!)

Interfacing (Scraps will work here, too!)

Tissue Paper

Decorative paper

Coordinating embroidery floss

Embroidery Needle

Embroidery Hoop

Adhesive of your choice

Die Cutting System

Frame Die (I used a Spellbinders Nestabilities set called “Labels Four”)

Pencil

Iron

Scissors

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Directions:

1. After signing up for the How Does She? email updates, save their Halloween printables to your computer and adjust the size so that “BOO!” fits into your frame accordingly. Print it out.

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2. Trace this onto tissue paper. (I just grab an old crumpled up piece left over from the holidays and it works just fine!)

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3.  Place both the tissue paper and fabric into your embroidery hoop.  Using your pencil lines as a guide, stem stitch “BOO!” right through the tissue paper.

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4.  Tear away the tissue, and you now have a perfectly embroidered “BOO!”

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5.  Press your fabric.  Then press the interfacing to the back of your embroidered piece.

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6.  Using your die cut system, cut out (and emboss if you’d like) the frame from your decorative paper.

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7.  Adhere the frame to your fabric. (I just use an adhesive roller.  In my opinion, glue is a little too messy for this project.)

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8.  Trim away the excess fabric from around your frame. (Depending on what kind of die you use, you can sometimes fit the frame back into the die and run the whole piece through your machine again. This saves some time!)

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9.  Chalk your card.

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10. Adhere your “BOO!” to your chalked card.

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(Note: I wasn’t given anything for free or asked to mention any of this for promotional purposes…just passing on my crafty finds!)

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Other Possible Related Posts from Nikki, In Stitches:

How To Make A Cork Wreath

Have You Seen This Quilt? My latest applique adventure – a Halloween Baltimore Style beauty!

The Christmas Countdown Has Begun Did you notice the lit pumpkins in the backgrounds of my pics? Get the how-to from Martha Stewart!

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What happens when a quilt goes terribly wrong?

You end up with really great notecards!!

If you love these as much as I do, but don’t want to go through the hastle of miscutting fabric for a quilt and struggling with it for days before giving up and starting all over again from scratch, you can find them on my website, here: www.NikkiInStitches.com.

They are available in pinks, blues, a “gender neutral” yellow, and of course, these adorable 30’s style fabrics.

Enjoy,

Nikki, In Stitches

 

Added Later: These are out of stock, but if you’re interested in making your own, just ask!  I’ll give you the how-to!

Other Possibly Related Posts from Nikki, In Stitches

Lessons Learned

Fabric Scrap Note Cards

Always the Last to Know

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Pretty Paper Flowers

I love finding a great project, especially one where I can dig through my supplies and not have to buy anything to make it.  When I’m finished, I’m so proud of myself…Look what I made, and it was “free”!  It makes a great project somehow even greater!

I fell in love with these paper flowers from Such A Pretty Mess, not only because they fell into the category mentioned above, but look at them…they’re beautiful.  Gabrielle is so talented.  If you’re not familiar with her work or her blog, take a look around.  It is stunning.

Her tutorial for the flowers is so easy to follow.  Hers’ look so much better than mine.  In my pictures, you can’t really see all of the pink ink around the edges of the petals.  In person, it is much more prominent.  I didn’t have a flower punch for the center that I loved, so I just tore more paper and inked the edges.  I also put two layered glue dots behind my center.  I couldn’t really get it to stick to my flower, so the glue dots helped, plus they will keep it from caving in.

Thanks, Gabrielle, for sharing this great tutorial, and for all of the inspiration that can be found on your blog! 

Enjoy,

Nikki, In Stitches

Possibly Related Posts from Nikki, In Stitches:

Ruched Ribbon Flower

Fabric Scrap Note Cards

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These adorable little Valentines will be sent out to all of our loved ones this weekend, along with some yummy goodies.  They were super simple to make.  It was my first time  using a Spellbinders die, and I am in love.  Their designs are beautiful and also very practical. (I had only one little hiccup with this project.  All of the little pieces in the design that were to form the negative space kept sticking in the die.  It took forever to pick all of them out with a toothpick between each pass through my machine.  Any suggestions?) For the center heart, I just used a stamp, cut around it, and folded the heart in half to give it some dimension.  I attached it using DMC floss and a needle and thread.  I did punch two holes in both the heart and the background paper before sewing the two together so that the force of the needle through the paper didn’t rip or damage my design.  I printed the text on the inside out on my printer, minus the “V” in love.  To add some interest, the V is made using two fingerprints…a cute way to let my little guy “help” mommy.

Enjoy,

Nikki, In Stitches

Possibly Related Posts from Nikki, In Stitches:

Sweet Valentines

Valentine’s Day Butter Cookies with a Candy Cane Twist

Fabric Scrap Notecards

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I think I could be the last person in the crafting world to realize I could run fabric through my die cut machine.  I’m embarrassed to admit that this has never dawned on me before, but I am so excited to play around with this idea.  I don’t know why it suddenly hit me as I was walking through the isles of my craft store, but I thought to myself, “Why in the world have you never tried this before?”  I guess I thought you had to have a special machine or die, but no.  I have a Cuttlebug machine and I used a Sizzix Bigz die, and presto…perfectly cut shapes! 

 

Die Cut Holly LeafNow, what to do with all of these perfectly precise pieces?  Well, first, think of how much quicker machine applique now is.  I pressed Steam-A-Seam 2 to the back of my fabric, rolled the fused piece through the cutter, and it was ready to be ironed to my fabric.  No tracing, and no hand cutting, which when you’re doing a lot of applique, can really save you a lot of time. 

 

Holly Holiday Card made with Die Cut Machine and FabricOf course my next idea was to use these on cards.  As all of you know by now, I love fabric cards.  For this card, I used Steam-A-Seam 2 to adhere my background fabric to a piece of cardstock cut to the exact measurement of my card font.  I then used a decorative stitch around the edge.  Since these aren’t going to be going through the laundry and aren’t really going to be “manhandled” very much, I just fused the holly leaves (made of flannel I purchased at last weekend’s “yard” sale) to my background fabric, then added my beads and buttons as embellishments.  I adhered the card front to the card base using an adhesive roller.  I do this so that none of my machine or hand stitching can be seen on the inside of the card. 

 

Back of Card Front (Tape Knots Tip)(A quick tip:  I also tape my knots on the back of the card front.  Something about the paper and its rigidity compared to fabric doesn’t allow you to tie your knots quite as tight, especially when hand sewing, so I use tape to help keep my stitches in place.  Here’s a picture of what the back of my finished card front looked like before I adhered it to the card base.) 

 

So, if you have a die cut machine, try this!  Or maybe you already have one, and you’re thinking “Come on, Nikki…Keep up!”  Either way, I hope I’ve inspired you to try something new today!

 

Enjoy,

 

Nikki, In Stitches

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