Summery Batik Flowers

Favorite batik
Having recently being given a large number of ripped batik fabric strips (don’t ask!), I was compelled to find a craft to utilize these beautiful materials.

My first idea was fabric bangles and friendship bracelets (post to follow later). They were cute, but mostly for the younger set. Then, after perusing Pinterest for a while, I decided on casual flowers that could be worn as pins or hair clips.

The process is fairly simple: gather, roll and stitch. The trick is finding just the right width of fabric and just the right amount of gathering.

The strips I was given were between 1 1/2″ and 2″. So for the first ones I made, I used the entire width. In order to save time, I used the ruffler attachment on my sewing machine, set to the greatest amount of gathering, and using the shortest stitch. The results were pretty attractive, if you are a person who likes large pins on your garments.

The fabric had different amounts of stiffness, so the ruffling results were also different. Sometimes the results were just fine, although the layers were kind of scarcely spaced.

Other times, the maximum ruffling was still not enough. The outer edges tended to curl upward, not laying flat, and looking quite unnatural. So I curled under the middle “petals” to enhance the overall appearance.

Large gold batik

I was more interested in creating a more modest size flower, easily worn as a pin or hair clip. So I ripped the given strips in half lengthwise. This resulted in widths that ranged from 3/4″ to 1″. I think these made the prettiest, fullest flowers.

I had seen on Pinterest that some people prefer to use hot glue. I wasn’t thrilled with these; they laid down too flat, and seemed to call for a button or something in the middle. (Note that I didn’t even bother sewing this one down, because it just doesn’t float my boat.)

Glued btik

One of my strips didn’t get ripped quite down the exact middle, but the one wider layer on the bottom seemed to work alright.

Green 2-layer batik

In my new stash, there were also some cut, not ripped, strips of fabric. I thought they might look okay with some stray threads along the straight edges, but didn’t care for that at all. So I used pinking shears to rough up the edges. It’s alright, but not the style I’ll use to make more.

Pinked edge batik

In summary, if you like the summery look of these fabric flowers, all you’ll need is a strip of fabric, about 45″ long. If you like the shabby-chic edges, you’ll need to rip, not cut, the fabric. I’ve found that 1″ was the perfect width for me. (The ripping is done crosswise, or across the width of your purchased fabric.) It’s also preferable to made from a fabric that is dyed all the way through, like a batik. If the fabric is printed from one side, you’ll get a white-ish bottom side to the ruffled layers. I used a ruffling attachment, but you can also hand gather the fabric or use a long straight stitch on your machine, loosening the tension of your top thread. I tried the latter method, thinking I could get it fuller, but I wasn’t as pleased with those results and made the final hand-stitching more difficult.

To finish the back, just glue a circle of felt to the gathered center, and then glue on the brooch pin or alligator hair clip. The flowers can also be sewn onto a headband elastic, either singly or in threes.

Comments? Questions?