How to Create Gathered Flowers

Flower Embellishments Using Your Gathering Foot by Cheryl Sleboda.

Embellished Flowers with the Gathering Foot

I’m not your typical heirloom sewist, but I do love heirloom techniques for use in my quilts. One of my favorite attachments for my BERNINA 7 Series machine is the BERNINA Gathering foot #16. Using that foot, this project is quick and easy, and you can use them in dozens of ways. You can make a whole bunch of them out of a single fat quarter. They make great gift toppers, boutonnieres for your lapel, and also great quilt embellishments!

Flower Embellishment

Materials to embellish with flowers

  • Fabric strips cut into 2 inch by 22 inch lengths
  • Thread to match your fabric
  • BERNINA Gathering foot #16
  • A hand sewing needle
  • A few pins
  • A safety pin or sewable pin back
  • Your sewing machine

Optional

Instructions on how to make the flower

Step 1

Cut your fabric into a strip that is 2 inches by 22 inches. Get out your Gathering foot #16 and put it on your machine.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - machine set-up

Step 2

On your machine controls, select the “i” for the information panel.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - selection

Step 3

Choose the thread tension control in the upper right hand corner.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - choose the thread tension

Step 4

Set your machine tension to a high setting, such as a 7.5 or even a 7.75. The high thread tension creates the gathers.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - machine settings

Step 5

Next, return to the main screen, and select the stitch length. You will want a long stitch length, such as 5.0.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - select the stitch length

Step 6

Now you are ready to sew! You can place your fabric so that the right edge of the fabric will be the gathered edge. Do not put the fabric in the slot, or it will not gather. (The slot is there if you wanted to join a gathered edge to an ungathered edge, but that’s a project for another day).

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - place your fabric

Step 7

Start sewing at a moderate pace and you will start to see your gathers forming.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - Start sewing at a moderate pace

Step 8

When finished, you can cut your threads and remove it from the machine. Now you will form the flower.  Start on one edge, and fold the top down to the sewn edge, creating a little triangle.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - form the flower

Step 9

Begin rolling the gathered edge with your triangle in the center, arranging your gathers and holding the gathered ends tightly.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - Begin rolling the gathered edge

Step 10

Thread a hand needle and create a knot. Sew through the gathered ends to keep the bundle from unraveling.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - create a knot

Step 11

Once you finish, fluff out your “petals” and attach a pin backing.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - attach a pin backing

 

Edge Variations

The best part of this project are the various ways you can finish the edges of the flowers. In the previous example, it was left raw edged from where it was cut. You can also tear your fabric for a homespun edge, or you can use the BERNINA straight stitch hemmer #64 to create a nice hem which creates a very different look.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - gathering using the hemmer

 

You can also use decorative stitches, too.

Flower Variations

You can roll the flower tighter or looser for variations on the flower itself.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - gathering by rolling

By rolling the flower tight, and folding the edge over, you get a rosebud effect.

By keeping the flower rolled loosely, you may need something to cover the center with something, like a decorative button.

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot - decorative button

Flower Embellishing with the Gathering Foot

I hope you enjoy making these, for your garment, or your next art quilt!

 

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