"All art is quite useless" - Oscar Wilde

July 20, 2010

Painting the Pansies Purple

Hello everybody,

Welcome to my first craft post on this blog. I hope you enjoy the instructions! In case of confusion, I will be happy to help you and answer all kinds of questions.

Whenever I get a new dress, be it bought or selfmade, I am seized by the terrible urge to make matchy stuff to go with it. Since my latest dress has pansies and I have no cream coloured hair accessoiries, I decided to sew a floral fascinator.

There it is in its colourful goodness. The base is an oval of buckram and wire. It is backed with felt (because buckram is ugly) and attaches to the hair with a little metal comb. The flowers are made from different types of cheapo satin ribbon, which I painted to my heart's delight.

In order to recreate the floral arrangement, I recommend reading Helen Gibb's Ribbonwork - The Complete Guide*. In there, she introduces the so called U-gather. It's a technique to gather ribbon (obviously). You take your length of ribbon and sew gathering stitches to create a u-shape, as the name suggests. This is then pulled together to form single petals and leaves. Make multiple U-gathers on one strand of ribbon to form the pink flowers (they turn out best with 6 Us). Generally, it helps to look at pictures of your choice of flowers to find out how the petals have to be arranged. The huge pansy was make from 5 singly u-gathered pieces of ribbon. Everything was sewn on by hand and then painted with thinned acrylics. Paint one colour at a time and always wait until it's dry to avoid wet ribbon soaking in other colours. Hide the edges with lace and add pearls for decoration. Voilá - crazy headdress.

*I would love to give you more detailed instructions and pictures on Mrs Gibbs' method, but I'm afraid she'll sue me for posting them here. Hope you understand. If you need further help, just ask.


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