In the first variation, luscious berry tones were used in a variety of textured silk and viscose fabrics.

A more homely version of the layered corsage can be made with five layers of dotted fabric and a Scottie dog central button. This piece would be perfect for a young girl to wear.


■ Cardstock, ruler, and pencil

■ Paper scissors

■ Small, sharp embroidery scissors

■ Hand-sewing needle

■ Plastic washer (for the tassel)

■ Sewing machine (for the tassel)

■ Small paintbrush (for the tassel)


■ 20 approximately 5 in. (13 cm) square pieces of fine silk and organza in your chosen colors

■ Polyester sewing thread in a toning color

■ Embroidery flosses (for the tassel)

■ Plastic jewel (for the tassel) or button

■ Strong fabric glue (for the tassel)

■ Brooch back finding

1 Using the ruler and pencil, draw a 5 in. (13 cm) square on the cardstock and cut it out with the paper scissors. Use this as a template to cut out 20 pieces from your fabric selection with the embroidery scissors. Your cutting need not be entirely accurate, as you will trim the fabric pieces further at a later stage.

2 Arrange the fabric squares on top of each other, spreading colors and textures evenly throughout the pile. Using the hand-sewing needle and doubled polyester sewing thread, make several stitches through the center of the pile to hold all the layers firmly together.

3 Using embroidery scissors trim each square into a circle. Start at the top, cutting the first layer back to a tiny circle. As you move down the pile, cut each layer back to make larger and larger circles. (Save the trimmings to make other projects, such as the Rag Flower Corsage on page 72.)

4 Continue trimming until all the layers are revealed and you have a round flower shape.

5 Using the hand-sewing needle and polyester sewing thread, work through the layers of the flower a few at a time, tucking and stitching them on the back to create a full flower shape.

6 If you would like to have a round tassel in the center of the corsage, make one out of embroidery floss, as shown on page 77.

7 Apply glue to the back of the round tassel and stick it to the center of the corsage. Apply glue to the back of the jewel and stick that in the center of the round tassel. Allow to dry thoroughly. Alternatively, omit the tassel and sew a button into the center.

8 Hand-sew the brooch back finding to the back of the corsage, just above the center.

this is adapted from a 1950s

■v r \ f a r ^ f^K ! magazine cutting saved by my mother J \ j f J \J ^ j for many years. Its vintage charm has

V V I been given a kitsch look with the addition of diamanté stamens. I have made a large and a small rose and placed them together to wear as a corsage, but there is no reason why you shouldn't make several roses as a posy for a hat, or even a whole bunch for a wedding bouquet.

Upcycled Clothing Projects
rose and diamante corsage


■ Two 14 in. (35 cm) lengths of paper-coated wire

■ Ready-made, wired diamanté stamens

■ 16x4 in. (40 x 10 cm) and 23/4 x 4 in. (60 x 10 cm) bias strips of pink dupioni silk

■ 16 x 4 in. (40 x 10 cm) and 23'/ x 4 in. (60 x 10 cm) bias strips of silk chiffon in a similar color

■ Polyester sewing threads in green and pink

■ Two approximately 6 in. (15 cm) square pieces of green silk organza

■ % in. (1 cm) x 12 in. (30 cm) strip of green silk organza

■ Fabric glue that dries clear

■ Brooch back finding


■ Hand-sewing needle

■ Template on page 125

■ Cardstock and pencil

■ Paper scissors

■ Fabric scissors

■ Small paintbrush

■ Small container for mixing glue

1 Fold the lengths of wire in half. Wrap the stamen wires firmly around the loop made in the wires.

2 Fold and pin each strip of dupioni silk in half along its length. Using the hand-sewing needle and doubled pink polyester sewing thread, make a double row of running stitch down the short sides and along the bottom edge, curving the lines when sewing around the corners. Cut off the spare fabric around the curved corners.

Repeat this process with the strips of organza.

3 Pull on the threads to gather up each strip to about two-thirds of its original length. To make sure the larger rose is lovely and full, gather the 23/4 in. (60 cm) strips up a little more tightly than the 16 in. (40 cm) strips.

4 Place the larger chiffon strip over the larger dupioni strip, adjusting the gathering if necessary to make sure they are the same length. Wind both the strips around the wire at the foot of the stamens.

5 Using the hand-sewing needle, a thimble, and the pink polyester sewing thread, secure the wound strips with several firm stitches, passing the needle and thread right through the base of the rose. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 with the shorter lengths of fabric and remaining wire stamen.

6 Transfer the template onto cardstock and cut it out with the paper scissors. Lay the squares of green organza on top of one another. Pin the cardstock template to the fabric and cut out two sets of leaves with the fabric scissors.

7 Push the wire stem of the rose through the middle of one leaf and slide the leaf up to just under the rose. Using the green polyester sewing thread, sew the leaf in position, pushing the needle right through the base of the rose. Attach the other leaf to the smaller rose in the same way.

8 Using the wire cutters, trim the stem of the large rose to 4 in. (10 cm) from the base of the rose. Bend the smaller rose at a right angle just below its base. Tuck the smaller rose just under the larger and cut the stem so that it aligns with that of the larger rose.

9 Put 1 teaspoon of glue into a container. Add an equal quantity of water and mix together. Paint the diluted glue sparingly onto one organza strip and start to wind it around the stem of the large rose, starting just underneath the base.

10 Place the smaller rose next to the larger one and continue to wind the organza strip tightly around both rose stems. When you get to the bottom of the stems, continue winding back up until the entire strip of fabric is used up. Add more undiluted glue if necessary to hold the strip in place. Allow to dry.

11 Using the hand-sewing needle and green polyester sewing thread, sew the brooch back to the stem.


■ Selection of fine silky fabrics, such as dupioni, chiffon and organza, in a variety of colors and textures

■ Machine embroidery threads in toning colors, including thicker threads if you wish

■ Toning polyester sewing thread

■ Strong glue suitable for fabrics and jewels

■ Plastic jewel or button

■ Brooch back finding rag flower


■ Small, sharp embroidery scissors

■ Rotary cutter and mat (optional)

■ Sewing machine

■ One 3% in (9 cm) and one 1 yA in (4 cm) diameter plastic washer

■ Hand-sewing needle

these flowers are made by winding strips of stitched fabric around a plastic washer and then stitching the center to hold the strips together. (Plastic washers are available from hardware stores and plumbing suppliers.) When the fabric strips are cut, a pretty flower is formed that can be further decorated with threads, buttons, and jewels. Develop a habit of collecting both new and vintage materials for projects like this one that call for a range of fine, silky fabrics. Vintage prints are included in this corsage and in the hair accessory variations page 77.

1 Using the scissors or rotary cutter, cut the fabrics into strips about % in. (1 cm) wide, and between 5 and

6 in. (12.5 and 15 cm) long. You will need about 25 strips to make a corsage.

2 Thread the sewing machine, using a fine rayon thread as the top thread. Wind a thick embroidery thread onto the bobbin (see Using Thick Threads on the Bobbin, page 14) or use the same thread as the top. Set the machine to a long stitch length. Sew down the center of the first strip until you are % in. (1 cm) from the end. Stop the machine and lift the presser foot. Overlap the next strip and continue to sew, joining the strips together. Continue in this way, varying colors and textures, until all the strips are used up.

3 Wind the long strip you have made around the large plastic washer. You need just enough fabric to cover the plastic washer completely, so if the wad in the middle is getting too thick for your machine to cope with, stop winding.

4 Attach a free machine embroidery foot to the sewing machine and drop the feed dog (see Free Machine Embroidery, page 14). Being very careful of your fingers, embroider several circles in the center of the washer, taking care not to sew into the plastic. Alternatively, hand-sew circles into the center of the flower. Either way, make sure all the strips are sewn together.

5 Use the embroidery scissors to cut around the edge of the flower, cutting through all the strips. Remove the plastic washer and tidy up the ends of fabric using the scissors. Choose the best side to use as the front of your flower.

6 Repeat Steps 3-5 using two strands of differently colored thick embroidery thread on the smaller washer. (If you do not have

rag flower corsage

a free machine function on your sewing machine, you could make a pom-pom from embroidery floss for the center of the flower. (See Cherry Blossom Earrings, page 96.)

7 Assemble the corsage by gluing the smaller thread flower (or round tassel) into the center of the fabric flower. Finally, glue a plastic jewel or button into the center.

8 When the glue is dry, turn over the corsage and sew on a brooch back finding or hair elastic, using the hand-sewing needle and polyester sewing thread. To attach a barrette finding, glue a circle of fabric over the back of the barrette and onto the back of the flower.

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