Art to Wear: Ready to Make When You Are

cate prato

larissa davis wearable art
Our Art Director, Larissa Davis,
in a silly mood at the Gifts
photo shoot.

I'm pretty sure you can divide most creative people into two groups: the ones who start their projects well in advance of a deadline and the ones who work up to the last minute.

You've probably already guessed that I am of the last-minute variety. I have been known to actually start making a Christmas gift on Christmas Day.

While some people are singing carols or appreciating the white and drifted snow on the way to Grandma's, I'm hand stitching embellishments or fasteners in the car. Swearing all the way. Not cursing, but swearing that next year, by gosh, I will start those handmade gifts earlier in the year.

It's not that I don't plan my projects well in advance. Oh no. Here it is June, and I already know what I'm going to make for my husband's six siblings and their significant others.

The only thing stopping me from working on those projects right now is that I'm frantically trying to finish baby and hostess gifts for a visit I'm making to relatives in two weeks. A trip that's been planned for two months.


So, it was with a mixture of excitement and guilt that I watched my coworkers collecting ribbons, paper, and giant pinecones for the Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts photo shoot last week. I felt excitement about the handmade gift and décor projects that will be in this year's special issues and guilt over the great ideas from past issues that I haven't gotten around to yet.

One of the wearable art projects high on my list of must-makes from last year's Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts is the fabric flower pins.

art to wear flower pins
Fabric Flower Pins: Art to wear
from Gifts 2010.

The Fabric Flower Pins by Melody Ferris and Jill Russell are a cinch to make, and you can use them on their own, or to decorate a headband, a lapel, a bag, or a hat.


  • Heavy paper for circle templates
  • Scissors (fabric and paper)
  • Pencil or fabric marker
  • Assortment of fabrics (organza, tulle, lace, satin, etc.)
  • Sewing pins
  • Ribbon
  • Sewing needles and heavy-duty thread
  • Embellishments (beads, glitzy buttons, yarn)
  • Pin backs


1. Make paper templates by cutting the heavy paper into 1", 2", and 3" circles.

2. Trace the templates onto your fabric with a pencil or fabric marker and cut out 6-10 circles. Tip: Pin and cut multiple layers of fabric at a time to hasten the process.

3. Make a ruched (gathered) flower using a length of ribbon. To do this, hand stitch, beginning at one end of the ribbon, back and forth along the ribbon in a zigzag pattern. Pull the thread to gather the ribbon. Keep going until you have the size you want.

4. Using the largest fabric circle as the base for your flower, stack 6-10 increasingly smaller circles on top of each other until the arrangement suits your style. Experiment with a variety of fabric textures, weights, and colors to create a truly unique piece of art.

5. Pin the layers together and set aside.

6. Choose an embellishment for your flower's focal point and then stitch it to the center of the ruched flower. Add this embellished flower to the top of your stack of fabric circles, and use a needle and thread to stitch through all the layers. Alternately, you can use hot glue to attach the layers and embellishment.

7. Add more beads or buttons to the flower as desired.

8. Attach the pin back to the back of the largest circle with glue or stitch it in place.

That's just one of the many projects from Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts 2010 you could get started on now.

Hmm, those flower pins are so easy, I could make them for all of my nieces I'll see on my trip. It's a 12-hour drive; I'll have plenty of time!

P.S. Are you Penelope Planner or Last-minute Lucy? Got a funny story about it? Share with us below!


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