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Shirred Fabric Flowers {made from knit fabric scraps}


I have piles of fabric.  Some of it’s purchased with a specific project in mind, some is purchased because the fabric hollered at me to buy it, and the rest is old clothing that I have cut up to use for something else.  And sometimes I only needed one little chunk of that old piece of clothing… the rest of it goes into a pile.  Most of that clothing pile is knit fabric……so it’s hard for me to throw scrap pieces away because good knit is sometimes hard to find.  So I can’t get rid of any of it.


Well, yesterday morning, my kiddos found my knit scrap stash and dumped it all out on the floor while I finished tidying up my craft room.  (Okay, I was doing more than tidying.  I was digging through the absolute chaos that has piled up in there.  I should have taken a picture because you’ll never believe me when I say it looked like a garbage dump.  And took me about 3 hours to clean up the floor alone.  Not kidding.)  Stinker-Pants Chloe started it all by pulling a cut up shirt out of my pile and putting it over her head and then walked around with it half dragging behind her on the floor.  Connor and Elli thought that was so funny.  So they started piling anything and everything on their little bodies, giggling themselves silly.




While watching them, I realized I needed to use up some of that knit.  And what better way than to add more summer to my girls’ heads.  Yeah, they have a zillion hair clips and headbands……..but what harm is there in making just a few more?  None. :)




These little knit scrap flowers are simple.  Like 2 minutes simple.  Okay, maybe 4 minutes because you have to load your bobbin with elastic thread. Okay, realistically, maybe 10 minutes.  Haha!  But whatever it takes, they are easier than trying to manipulate the fabric yourself.  The shirring idea actually worked.  Yay!


Little Chloe will never ever, not in a million years keep a headband on.  So I turned her flowers into clips. (Using this tutorial for the no-slip grip.)




And whew, good thing she’ll keep clips in her hair.  Because that swoop of hair in the front is getting long.  And is always in her eyes.  And a little shirred flower sure adds a bit of pretty to her head!




And yes, we adore Chloe’s smile.  Sometimes we try and get her to laugh, just for fun…….so that we can get a glimpse of her little Madonna smile.  I’m sure she’ll disagree with me one day but I hope the gap stays.






These little shirred flowers really will save you time.  There’s no special twisting or folding (like these flowers).  The shirring does it all for you.  Pretty simple.  (Unless shirring scares you.  Go here to get un-scared.)




Now my girlies have a few more pops of color to add to their hair.   Man, I love summer!





Keep in mind, these flowers can be made in any size and can be used on anything; hair, bags, pillows, clothing, wall hangings, etc. 


You know you need a flower or two for something. :)




Want to make a few flowers too?


To get started, I used a variety of knit fabrics from my stash.  They were all a jersey knit type of fabric (cut from ladies shirts and one skirt) and were all relatively thin.  Whatever you use doesn’t really matter but just be sure it’s not too thick and make sure it’s knit… that it won’t fray.


Then start cutting your fabric into strips.  Your strip size will depend on how big you want your flower to be.  For my bigger flowers on the headband, the strips were about 2.5-3 inches wide and were about 20 inches long.  The smaller flowers on the clips were strips of fabric about 1.5 inches wide and maybe 15 inches long. 


Then, load up your bobbin with elastic thread and get ready to shirr (or smock) your strip of fabric.  (Need help with shirring?  Go here.)  Start at one corner and start making zig-zags all the way down your strip of fabric.  The seam should all be one continuous line.  You’ll have to use your fingers to keep it stretched out as you sew…….


………because once you let go, it will shrivel right up.


If your zig-zags are too narrow, your fabric will most likely just roll up.  But if you keep the zig-zags wider and more spread out, you will create a nice scallop along each side of the fabric (which is what you want).  Go on and practice a few times to get that scallop look.


Then, heat up your hot glue gun.  Start at one end and tuck your end under and glue it in place.


Then begin winding your fabric around that center tuck and glue as you go.


Keep winding around the center, making sure to not pull too tight.  The scallop of the shirring gives the flower shape and dimension.  So just go with it.


Once you get to the end (or you have a flower that is big enough), cut off any excess fabric, add a bit of glue to the end, and tuck it under to the bottom.


And then make a few more.


If you want a cluster of flowers, glue them to each other and add a few leaves (made from green knit scraps).


Then cut out a piece of felt that will cover most of the back and then glue it down.  This will anchor the flowers down a little better.


Then, you can hot glue a headband to the back.  If the headband and glue are bothersome, glue another piece of felt down to cover the headband.


Or if you’d rather, add clips to the back of your flowers.  (Don’t forget to cover your clips with ribbon.  Or the no-slip-grip on your clips.  Go here for more info.)


And that’s it.


Pretty and textured and ready to be worn.









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  1. Summer says:

    I am new to sewing, will this work with regular thread?

  2. Summer says:

    Love this! I am new to sewing, would regular thread work?

  3. Asha says:

    wow ! what a creative idea, i love your beautiful flower. thanks for sharing….

  4. Andrea says:

    those are so elegant! i’m a teenager and these look pretty easy to make and wear on my clothes/purses, etc! thanks for making this easy to understand tutorial! :)

  5. danilia says:

    love your bows. i cant wait to try it out. I think it will make great accessories for lots of my sewing projects. thanks for sharing.

  6. pastelka says:

    oh, this is so pretty

  7. Erin at IOGoods says:

    thanks for sharing this super cute, and simple idea! No longer will my bin of fabric scraps sit lonely, un-used and rejected!

  8. traveler says:

    wow such a gr8 idea!!!

  9. Nueyer says:

    That’s soooooo adorable!! The colours are so bright and cheery too =)

  10. Leah - Chickabug says:

    These are adorable!! I always feel bad wasting left over fabric! This is a great way to take care of that! So cute! Thank you!!

  11. Nicole C says:

    Hi, I came across your fabric flowers through pinterest, and I have to say they are awesome. I enjoy making my daughters hairbows, and I make them for the girls in my family at Christmas. I have seen tutorals on how to make fabric flowers but the instructions say to sew the fabric together in a circle motion. I have tried this but can not get the groove of how to do it. I am new to sewing so that make a big difference for me.
    You instructions make more sense to me. As a beginner sewer I have seen the shirring but the JoAnns where I lived at no one could help me with it. Honestly, they did not know what I was even talking about, but you instructions make it so simple for me to understand.
    Now, though, you have explained it so well that I know what type of thread, fabric, and to get me started on my machine that I am looking forward to doing shirring and these fabric flowers. I AM SO EXCITED!
    Thank you, and now I am going to search you site for more ideas!

  12. Vicki says:

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I had to play around a bit with my Brother machine’s bobbin tension, but it eventually worked. I used some out-grown school spirit shirts to make hair accessories for my daughter. Now even her headbands will be matching her school uniform! Thanks again for this amazing site and all your great tutorials!

    1. Julie says:

      What exactly did you end up doing with your tension? I teach this shirring to a lot of my sewing students and they love it – but I have one with a machine that WILL NOT COOPERATE! Nothing we try will let that elastic in the bobbin do it’s thing! She is very discouraged about her machine not letting her shirr, so I just let her use mine! But what can I do to her tension to make it work? Vicki? Ashley? Please anyone – help!? :)

  13. lidya valenz says:

    hi, im new in sewing, can u explain how do you do the zig zag part ? i mean hw you move the fabric piece ?? thx love yuor site ;)

  14. Valerie Nelson says:

    YOU ARE A GENIUS!!!! I just made 4! Thanks! :)

  15. miri says:

    beautiful!!!! thanks’ great tutorial!

  16. Laurie Folino says:

    When getting ready to use these on a dress – Do you actually sew to the dress as you wrap it around. Or handstitch together and then handstitch to dress since glue gun is not an option. Looking for the easiest way.

    Thanks a ton! Love this tutorial!

    1. Anonymous says:

      I would make the flower first (with a needle and thread instead of hot glue) and then attach it to the dress with a needle and thread. Or you could just pin it onto the dress each time you wear it, if you don’t want it to go through the wash.

      Hope that helps!

  17. Susan M Jensen says:

    Two Cute for words, MODELS are adorable. Love flowers and these are so darling. I have lots of poeces of fabric, knit etc.

  18. Rob says:

    What lovely little flowers! Oh, yeah the fabric stuff is cute, too! ;)

  19. Robin @ says:

    Ooooo…I love these. Shirring does scare me but I’ll have to try it out.

  20. Andrea says:

    Hi Ashley,
    I love this post, and am totally going to make some of these flowers for my little girl! Just brilliant.
    And, re the gap…I think you’re right…I have one and pretty much hate it :-/
    Your kids are just adorable.

  21. Rachel says:

    What a fabulous post! Can’t wait to try this!!!

  22. Brandi says:

    I am new to sewing…can you tell me if elastic thread is used in the bobbin and the top thread? Also, I only found white and black elastic thread at my local craft store. Do they make colored elastic thread as well? Thanks for all you do! Love your stuff!

    1. Brandi says:

      Never mind….just read your shirring tutorial more closely….you are great at writing detailed instructions! Thanks!

  23. Veronika says:

    Wow, these are just lovely!

  24. Anonymous says:

    When the frenulum is torn, babies loose the gap in the front teeth. It is normal to get it torn especially when they are first walking and they cry a lot.

  25. phelyza fuentes says:

    Genial!!!! gracias por compartir tus talentos….es excelente:)

  26. Sharon says:

    Thank you. I can hardly wait to try it!

  27. Alicia says:

    I love this. The other thing you could do with them is make small ones and just hand stitch them to the bottom of a flowy skirt or make really tiny ones around the collar of a kids/babies shirt or onesie.

    I made flowers similar to these for a dress adornment.
    All you have to do is take a piece about the same size and fold right sides together the long way and do a really loose basting stitch all the way along the cut edge about 1/4 inch in. Then while fabric is still attached to the thread and needle. hold needle straight up in the air and push the fabric down the thread. the material will spiral and you can twist it around to be a rose. super easy and makes great flowers for other projects. You can make them small or really huge depending on the width of your fabric. You can also do it with regular cotton or the polyester -velvety material.

  28. Anshu says:

    Very Cute tutorial! I’ll give it a try.

  29. Cécile says:

    That’s lovely, as usual !

    I really love your pictures, they are so bright (I am not sure that’s the right word… but…).
    What king of camera and lens do you use ?

    Waiting for your next creation !


  30. Anonymous says:

    Cutest fabric flowers I’ve seen! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Debbie C says:

    So cute! Oh how I WISH my one year old would keep clips in her hair! It’s like a fun game to her…locate the clip mommy put in my hair and take it out to show her! Aaargh…

  32. Kirstin says:

    Love these! Much cuter than the typical rolled flowers I think!

  33. Jen says:

    Great Idea!

  34. Fiona says:

    Love them, actually never commented before but love just about everything on your site. I about to start making your jewellery organiser this weekend. It has been on my to do list for too long : ).

  35. Kimberly @ The Brown Eyes Have It says:

    That is so, so cute!! And I was just about to load my bobbin to follow your shirring a large shirt into a banded shirt. Now I’ll make a few flowers when I’m done, too! Thanks for another great use for the elastic thread.

  36. Christine says:

    So cute! I tried the shirring for the first time recently and made little dresses for all the girls at my little one’s birthday party. Now, I’ve been wanting to use more elastic thread!

    About the teeth, the dental hygienist told me it is good for babies to have the front gap, it means there will be room for their big teeth to come in correctly.

  37. Taylor says:

    Wow! So simple…yet so pretty! Thanks for the tutorial! I love your blog! :) Blessings!

  38. Lynette says:

    Oh this is a great project that I could do. These would probably look awesome on some flip flops too! I will have to make some for me, since I’m the only girly at home.

  39. Anonymous says:

    These are ADORABLE!!! and so are your kids!

  40. Lauren says:

    These are genius! Now, I’m going to read your post so that I can get ‘unscared’ of elastic thread!

  41. Brandi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! They are super cute!

  42. love this says:

    how do you think of this, its amazing, seriously!

  43. Olivia says:

    You are awesome. That’s just it. A W E S O M E! Thanks!

  44. Lolita says:

    My ASG Neighborhood Group is making hats for cancer patients for a local hospital. This will make a lovely accent to the hats and the colors will be a perfect match. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Katie says:

    Super cute tutorial! I laughed pretty hard when you said you were tidying your craft room. Uhhh, like when does that job ever get done? My boys love to climb in my fabric piles as well. Also, I can’t bear to throw scraps away, there are too many little jobs and projects that use fabric scraps!

  46. Danielle says:

    These are so cute! I need to get glue sticks for my glue gun and then I will be making these en masse!

  47. Reichy says:

    I just discovered your site a few weeks ago and there’s already so much I want to make. I can hardly wait to make these I just need some elastic thread. Will have to see if I can steal some off my mom…

    1. Jill says:

      If you don’t have elastic thread, you can just increase your stitch length, sew the zigzags, then pull the bottom threads to gather it like you would for regular ruffles. You can control the size of the scallops that way too.

  48. jackie says:

    How adorable.

  49. Jaci says:

    these are so cut and will come in handy for my firends little girls……as I was looking through the post my 3 yr old Keegan is sitting beside me and when he saw he pic of your lil connor playing he said” look it’s keegan!” i said no thats another lil boy named connor…he refused to believe me…..and actually at the angle your lil guys head is at I see why he got confused. LOL had to share…

  50. Katie O says:

    Awesome, you amaze & inspire me! Btw, your children are SO precious! I love these pics of them just being them. Reminds me of my silly lil gals :)

  51. Jennifer says:

    These are adorable! I’m ready to race home and make some. Thank you for the tutorial!

  52. Rachel says:

    Love these! I think that I am going to have to try to make some of these for my girls! Thanks for sharing!

  53. Patty says:

    This is genius!!! Thanks for sharing and will for sure be making some of these for my little girl

  54. katie s says:

    Super cute! And it seems easy enough not to scare me off…time to get my sewing machine out!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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