Here’s a quick-and-easy make for Mother’s Day: a chrysanthemum-style floral embellishment crafted from a couple of felted lambswool scarves.
Upcycled felt chrysanthemum
Credit where it’s due, the original idea for this came from the mistress of wool remakery herself, Betz White. I’ve added a twist with my choice of fringed centre and the particular suggestion that you use a felted lambswool scarf for the job.
Here I must wave the flag vigorously for the felted lambswool scarf. In its raw and unfelted state this is the classic woven gent’s scarf with fringed edge, as sold in almost every trad menswear outlet in the Western world. When stuck in a hot wash (accidentally or by design) their weave forms a dense and really stable felt which is a joy for the upcycler to work. Even better, it’s still possible to pick these up in the bargain bin at the charity shop or thrift store (I snapped one up this week for just £1), but if grandpa or dad should accidentally wreck the one he got for Christmas, all is not lost! Catch it before he chucks it because this stuff is well worth rescuing.
I’ve used two scarves for this project because I wanted contrast colour (like Betz’s original design), but you’d be able to make this (and several more chrysanths besides) from just the one scarf, if that’s all you can get hold of. The other great thing about scarves is that they’re the perfect width for this project. Of course, you can use a felted sweater instead, or regular store-bought felt. All that matters is that it won’t fray.
Once you’ve found your raw materials (and they’ve been boil-washed, dried and pressed – if they need it) this comes together very fast, so you still have plenty of time to whip up one (or more) for UK Mother’s Day next weekend. They make beautiful bold brooches or hat embellishments.
Ok, here we go.
This project uses the existing fringing on the original scarf. The purple scarf had a short little fringe which didn’t look especially interesting, but bear with it.
If your scarf has a longer fringe, cut it back to about half an inch (just over a centimetre) using a rotary cutter, if you have one.
Then cut 1 1/2 inches (4 cms) from the fringed edge. Set this to one side.
Now cut another piece, 3″ (8cms) wide this time.
And cut a 3″ piece from your contrast scarf. See how scrummy and dense that felt is?
Now fold your strips and pin the two long sides together.
Sew those long sides together about a quarter of an inch (just under a centimetre) from the edge.
Yes, that’s Josephine doing the sewing! You may recognise her from an earlier post.
Now take a pair of large dressmaking scissors (they need to be strong and sharp) and snip every quarter inch or so all the way along your folded edge, being really careful not to accidentally cut through the line of stitching.
You end up with something interestingly flexible. Try twirling it up a moment, just for the heck of it; it got me day-dreaming about spiral staircases and DNA, but I digress…
Now roll up that first piece you cut, the piece with the felted fringed edge. It suddenly looks more interesting, doesn’t it? Roll the contrast piece around that, and now the other piece (which matches the the centre) around that. You may need to insert a few carefully-angled retaining pins as you go. Now you have something that looks a little like a chrysanthemum. Hold it together with a pin while you eyeball it; your final section may look too long and unbalance your flower, so trim some away if necessary.
The back will look something like this.
You can apply a generous quantity of fabric glue to that back and wait for it to dry. Or just sew back and forth through the base of the flower (in one side and out the other, back and forth) with sturdy thread (buttonhole is good) and a long darning-style needle. The next job is to apply a circle of felt backing and a brooch back (not shown, but if you’re stuck, ask and I’ll do a follow-up post Saturday on that). Betz added leaves to hers too.
I attached this flower to a ribbon in order to dress up a slightly down-in-the-mouth cloche hat.
Much better! Hello spring!
And Happy Mother’s Day!