• Woven fabric scraps, at least 2 inches wide and 15 inches long • Assorted buttons • Sewing thread • Hand-sewing needle • Scissors • Straight pins • Tank top or t-shirt


eople have always paired fashion with fresh flowers. Hawaiians weave flowers into a necklace called a lei. Men who follow French tradition tuck a small bouquet of flowers into their jacket’s buttonhole called a boutonnière. On special occasions, women sometimes attach a small flower bouquet, or corsage, to their waist, shoulder, or wrist. But you don’t need fresh flowers to create this look. Just gather up a few fabric scraps, a needle, and thread and get started. Choose a tank top you’d like to embellish with fabric flowers, and select a few pieces of fabric in colors that complement the shirt. Using woven cotton fabric allows you to tear the fabric strips for a funky tattered look. Good fabrics for tearing include quilting scraps, thrift-shop men’s shirts, or lightweight pajamas. Once you have your fabric and tank picked out, follow these simple steps to create a look all your own:


By J a n i c e B r e w st e r

garden in bloom

Sew a bouquet of fabric flowers to decorate a ho-hum shirt!



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Put on your finished, flowered tank and step out into spring!

To sew your flowers onto your shirt, thread a needle with doubled thread, and tack the flowers onto the shirt with a few small stitches at the center. Sew a button into the center of the flower, stitching down through the shirt fabric to anchor the button and flower. Repeat this step with all the flowers.

Here, There, and Everywhere
These fabric blooms aren’t just for shirts: • Cut a round piece of felt and sew a layered fabric blossom onto the felt circle. Sew a flat pin-back onto the felt and use the flower as a brooch to jazz up your favorite jacket. Sew a piece of fabric or two onto a wide, flat, knit hair band for a fresh spring look. Add fabric flowers with sequin centers to a plain small purse to create a sparkling evening handbag. Choose fabrics in your school or team colors to show your spirit. Sew fabric flowers onto a plain throw pillow to decorate your bedroom.

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Pull on your original knot and the thread coming off the needle to gather the running stitches together. Your gathered stitches will pull the fabric into a round flower shape. Tie the knotted end and the thread ends together as if you were starting to tie your shoe laces. Knot the threads again to make sure the knot is secure. Trim the excess threads.

Cut or tear five cotton fabric strips about 15 inches long: Tear one 1 ½ inches wide, two 1 inch wide, and two ½ inch wide.


Fold a strip lengthwise with the right sides of the fabric together, matching the short ends. Sew the two short ends together with a running stitch about ¼ inch from the fabric edges. (All steps shown here use thread in a contrasting color. You’ll use thread that matches your fabrics.) The strip now forms a loop. Repeat with the other four strips.

Lay the flowers out on your tank top in a combination you like. You can layer flowers on top of each other for a different look, or sew a few more scraps into additional blossoms to make an even bigger statement. Pin the flowers in place and carefully try your tank on. Do you like the way the flowers look? If so, you’re ready to sew them in place. If not, rearrange, re-pin, and try the shirt on again.

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Thread a needle with a piece of thread about 24 inches long. Pull the thread through the needle and knot the two ends together, so that you’re sewing with two strands of thread. Sew a running stitch about ¼ inch in from the fabric edge along one long side of the loop. Sew all the way around the loop, returning to where you started.


Sew and gather up all the fabric strips in the same way, until you have five fabric “blossoms” in three different sizes.

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