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Why Don’t You . . .? Cultivate Fabric Flowers

In 1958, Diana Vreeland arranged a “floral cap” out of silk flowers on model Louise Dahl-Wolfe's head for a Harper's Bazaar cover shoot. Today, you can learn to make your own fabric flowers, and maybe even make your own floral headpiece.

I’m drawn to a gigantic bloom as much as I’m drawn to six yards of a waxed print. You’ll often find me at my machine with a gardenia, à la Billie Holiday, pinned in my hair. Who am I kidding? You’ll often find me with a full garden on my noggin. The kick I get out of catching myself in the mirror when fitting (or answering the door, back in the days when we used to physically answer the door) is always a mood lifter.

In 1958, Diana Vreeland arranged a “floral cap” of silk flowers on model Ivy Nicholson for the Harper’s Bazaar April cover, photographed by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. Vreeland loved her florals in fashion. Her first “Why Don’t You . . .?” advice column asked:

Why don’t you . . . waft a big bouquet around like a fairy wand?

I answered, in my head: “. . . or sew up a mass of flowers and wear them like the most fantastic beat-the-winter-blues crown ever?”

And what is a better time to create a floral escape than the cold, indoor days of February? We all need a valentine—or 12.

Three hot pink fabric roses held in cupped hands

Something sewn, something burned

My floral crown incorporates a little stitching, a little fire, and a lot of dollar store realness. You don’t have to choose high-end supplies here. This is all about using what you have and having fun with it.

The sewn blossoms of this garden are “couture” Dior roses, with bits and bobs from dollar store blooms cut up and upcycled for stamens and leaves. You see why “couture” is in quotes. Fabric-wise, I used ridiculously inexpensive materials, at $1 to $3 a yard. A double layer of midweight, hot pink polyester organza, and lightweight blush pink tulle gave these flowers more depth, for less scratch. (You can check…

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  1. User avater
    beckyf | | #1

    I would love to come and play in your sewing room!

  2. colormesewful | | #2

    I loved this article! Her writing is as clever, clear and enticing as the flowers themselves. I’d write a longer review but I’m off to the dollar store. Can’t wait to show off my beauties. Thanks so much for this very different inspiring piece.

  3. User avater
    marcyharriell | | #3

    Thank you so much! I hope you made that dollar store bouquet 💐

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