Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Rose By Any Other Name . . . .

Diane of Butterfly Threads suggested in a comment that I could make another rose and use it for a pillow.  So I did . . . but now I'm considering a tablerunner for Valentine's Day, so I might need to make two more, I think.  Wouldn't that be cute?  Roses for Valentine's Day?  Yep!

Anyway, I made a rose so I could demonstrate my method for you.  By way of background, some years ago, I came up with the idea when I made this quilt (which is currently on the bed in the Wild Child's former bedroom):

And to recap what I'm going to show you, here's a close up of one of the roses on Jersey Rose, the quilt I posted a photo of yesterday:

Much of my demo for you will be photos with minimal explanations of what I'm doing.  This isn't a precise thing and there are no real measurements.  You may find you've made a mistake, and if that happens, just place another strip or triangle over the error, sew, and cut away what's underneath.  Mostly you'll just need to remember when you whack off pieces of fabric to add to your rose, you'll need to cut at least 1" deep so you don't lose the whole thing in the seam allowance, but there's really no right or wrong.  Also?  You're going to like some of your roses better than others.  Just like nature, right?  So let's get started.

First, you'll need fabric.  I decided this rose will be all reds, but I could have mixed in some orange or yellow or pink--just think about the variegated roses you see in nature.  The key is to pick different shades of color, which will mimic the shadows and varieties we find in our gardens.  So here are the scraps I gathered.  Some are chunks and some are strips.  There are different shades and different patterns, although it's best to keep the patterns small.

I like to begin with a darker color for the very center, and that's the piece on the top side of the photo below.  I cut a triangle of that and then three more triangles, one for each side of the center.  I usually cut two of one fabric and then introduce a third.

Here I've placed the first side on the top of the center triangle, right sides together.  I'm probably going to want that center triangle a little smaller, because I've found small center pieces tend to look better, so I haven't quite lined up the edges of the fabric.

The first seam is sewn.  But there's a little fabric hanging out from underneath . . .

So I trim it off . . . 

And press open the fabrics, pressing the seam to the outside.

Now for the next piece.  I decided to use the third color, but there was no rhyme or reason for my choice.

Sew, trim, and press open.

Now the last of the initial triangles.  I've checked the center triangle to see how big it is and placed this third triangle where I want it.

Voila!  The center of the rose is done.

Now we're ready to add more "petals," so I've cut more fabric.  Two more triangles in that third fabric, and a strip of a darker fabric is selected--see the contrast?  That will make the "petals" show up better.

Again, place a triangle on what you've already sewn.  This will overlap parts of the first two triangles.  The most important thing is to cover the ends of the seam so there are no holes or gaps when you press it back.

Turn, and add another triangle, . . .

. . . trimming with each addition . . .

And pressing open.  I've used the same fabric pieces to encircle part of the rose center.  Take a look at that rose at the beginning and you'll see I often continue the pattern around, fooling the eye into seeing the petals of a rose.

Now, instead of triangles, I cut . . . well, I don't remember the name of this geometric shape, do you?  Rhombus maybe?  Anyway, instead of a point on one corner of a triangle, it's flat.  And the pieces now start getting a little wider and a little bigger. 

I keep overlapping with the longer end of the shape sewn into the seam and the piece positioned between the two underneath.

It's okay if one end of the piece doesn't overlap the underneath layer completely--see in the photo below how one corner starts a little way into the bottom pieces?  But by doing that, I will lose some of the width of that under piece later, because I can't leave a raw edge or hole in the next layer.  Just something to keep in mind.  Now I start overlapping in a circular fashion, but I don't worry much if I'm sewing right between the two underneath pieces any more--I'll get there eventually.

Just to mix it up a little, I've decided to use some of that strip fabric.  It's not as wide as the red star fabric, but that's okay.

So I cut pieces of that strip into the same shape . . .

And start adding them to the rose . . .

. . . making sure I'm overlapping any gaps between the underneath pieces.

See the contrast between the different layers of petals?  Through trial and error, I've found I like a little bit of a striped fabric in these, but I want to keep the stripes going straight.  It gives the rose movement and interest, I think!  So I've cut some shapes from the striped fabric.

And I add some of those in, alternating a few with that earlier dotted fabric in between.  Don't be concerned if in trimming, it looks like you're losing part of the rose.

That piece on the right was added after the photo above, and it rounds out the shape again.  In fact, it's looking pretty much like a rose, isn't it?

I decided I wanted some polka dots.  Now the pieces are getting even longer, because they have to span a larger area.

After adding a nice row of polka dots,  I thought it was about time to add the final petals.  Now it's back to cutting triangles--fairly large ones.

And adding them around here and there, but not all the way around.

Now it's time to stop sewing and start cutting.  Normally I just pick up my scissors and cut, but I thought I'd draw the outline to show you what my mind is seeing as the shape of this rose.  Can you see the white line?

I bring the shape in at the seams and out for the petals.  Does it look like a rose to you?  If you're not happy with your rose at this point, just add more petals and overlap the parts you don't like--start from there and work out again, trimming away underneath.  But don't be too critical.  You'll be surprised when you've gone away and come back later and suddenly your rose looks a lot better to you than you first thought--I did the same thing with Jersey Rose.

 I thought you'd like to see what the under side looks like--

And another thing--you've been sewing a lot of bias edges, so your rose might not lay perfectly flat and your seams may not be perfectly pressed open.  Really, it's fine.  If your rose is so wavy it looks like there's a small animal underneath it, you might need to start over, but a little wave isn't a problem.

Next I basted the edge under about a quarter inch, but it's not an exact thing.  Taking less of a "hem" means it will ripple less but don't take so little that the raw edges pop out along the edge.

Once it was basted all around, I pressed it.

And then I starched it, although I don't have a photo of that here--the only difference is that the edge was nice and flat, and I could remove the basting thread and it would still stay turned under.  Some of you asked if I hand appliqued the roses.  No, I didn't.  Jersey Rose, as I showed it yesterday, had roses that were only lightly glued down with applique glue.  But that's a secret, so don't tell anyone.  I'll show you what I'm going to do with that a little later.  In the meantime, I still have this pile of leftover fabric.  Plenty for a couple more roses, right?


Denise in PA said...

Kim, this is a fabulous tutorial. Thank you so much for taking the time to do it!

Mtntop Quilter said...

Your Roses are the coolest. I am going to try one. Thanks for sharing.

Missie of Traditional Primitives said...

Very cute! Did you think that up yourself?

Rebecca said...

Thank you soooo much...
Now I gotta go play in the scrap can!

Diane said...

What a wonderful tutorial! I am so happy to take the blame for your new pillow. That really made me smile. I really want to try one of those roses now, thanks for all the work you did to make it look so easy!

JoAnne said...

These are wonderful! Thanks for the awesome tutorial.

Judy in Michigan said...

Yes, thank you for taking the time to show us your method. I created a paper pieced pattern by just drawing lines around a center in various angles. Then I paper pieced it. Your method is better because you don't need to make a pattern and each of your roses is unique (mine looked the same). Also, being a retired math teacher, the shape is just a quadrilateral - a rhombus has 2 pair of parallel sides and a trapezoid has one pair of parallel sides. When no sides are parallel, it's just a quadrilateral (4 sided figure). End of math lesson for today. Have a good week!!

Ingrid said...

Thanks for this tutorial. I love this rose. Certainly I'm gonna make it. Kisses from Venezuela!

KMSC said...

I love this tutorial. Thanks!!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the detailed and illustrated instructions. I'm looking forward to making a few of these.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tutorial. I have leftover pink and red scraps that would be perfect for this.

ladyhock said...


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