Want to make a few poinsettias for the holidays? You can use them as decoration by putting them on wreaths or using on your holiday table as a centerpiece or napkin holders. You can add a ribbon for hanging on the tree, a pin for a brooch to give to a friend or maybe a barrette to wear in your hair. I’m sure there are more uses for them so just make a bunch so you can be flexible.
Make a two pieces of flat felt, one in red and one in green. Here’s the red one that I made – it’s wadded up a bit so the photo would come out better. I used two layers of red merino wool with a layer of silk noil on top and wet felted as usual. You want to make sure that your felt isn’t too thick to go under the foot of your sewing machine. That’s why I only do two thin layers when I’m laying out the wool. Your red piece needs to be twice as big as your green. If you need a certain number, you’ll want to plan for shrinkage accordingly but I just eyeballed it. You can use commercial felt if that’s what you have or even fulled wool sweaters will work. I like the textures and softness of the hand made felt.
Cut your red and green felt into 3-5″ squares. The size is up to you and also what you are planning on making out of them. My squares were about 4″ and really quite wonky. I didn’t really bother to make sure they were square and some were very rectangular. So don’t worry too much about how even they are. You’ll need two red squares per flower.
Find the middle of the square. Set your sewing machine for free motion sewing. Put your feed dogs down and your stitch length to 0. Put your darning foot on the machine.
Put your square under the foot, put the needle down and pull up your bobbin thread so it won’t get tangled up on the back of your square.
Use either a thread that matches your felt or use a contrasting thread such as purple or white to give a little more oomph to your stitching. Then starting in the middle stitch a flower shape. This is easy because essentially poinsettias have leaf shaped petals. Just stitch from the middle and make one side of the leaf (an ellipse), when you get to the tip, stop with the needle down, lift your foot and flip your square around and make the other side of the lift. Once back to the center, lift your foot, flip your square around and start on your second petal. I usually make 7 petals and don’t worry at all about getting them even. Real flowers do not have even petals and yours don’t have to either.
Can you see the stitching? You’ll notice that the felt will start bunching up but don’t worry. That just gives more life to your poinsettia. Once you’re finished, I usually tie the threads on the back of the square.
Here’s the back after stitching. I stitch around the flower edge twice to give it extra emphasis on the edges. But you could just go around once because the felt won’t fray.
Here’s the front side after stitching. You’ll see it’s warped a bit but that just gives your petals more life.
Next you cut out the flower shape. Be careful not to cut into your stitching. You can leave quite a large edge. I cut my petals pretty close to the middle so they are quite floppy after you’ve cut them out.
Here’s one partially cut.
And this is what they look like after being cut out. do you see that the petals are not at all even. So don’t stress about making them all even.
Here are two piled together. Just pile the two together and rotate around until you find the way you like the flower petals on top of each other.
Here’s a side view.
Cut your green felt into 3-5″ squares, just like your red fabric. You only need one green square for each flower.
My green felt was quite soft and you can see how it really warped with stitching. Don’t panic, just keep going and straightening it out as you go along where you’re stitching. Cut out your leaves just as you did the petals. If you don’t cut so deeply into the center of the leaves they will be a more stable base for your flower.
Make sure that you get a quality control inspector to check out the process.
Hmmm… am I doing something wrong?
Here are the poinsettias piled up after machine stitching is finished.
Next you’ll need some beads for the centers of your flowers, a needle thin enough to go through your beads and thread that matches your beads. I used E beads in two different shade of gold. I have my pile of leaves on the bottom and two layers of petals on the top. Stitch from back to front, put a bead on the needle and stitch from front to back. Don’t worry too much about neatness, you’ll cover the back.
I usually use 5-7 beads. One hint, once you’ve put your bead on and stuck your needle from front to back, turn the whole flower upside down and pull your needle through from the back. That way your thread won’t keep catching on the petals as you tighten your thread down.
I saved a few scraps of green felt for covering the back stitching and making it look a little neater. You can skip this step if you want to just put your pin back directly on the leaves. Stitch around the edge of the square attaching it to the leaves. I don’t worry too much about the stitching as it sinks into the felt and virtually disappears.
Here they are all finished.
I made one into an ornament by stitching a loop of ribbon to the back instead of the pin back.
Here’s one from the back after the pin back is stitched on.
A little closer view.
When I’m stitching the pin back on, I just go through the leaf part and not up into the petals. So if you hold it like this, you can see where your needle is going and the petals cover up any stitching from the pin back.
Here’s another option. I had several whiffle balls with bells inside that I had covered with felt. I sewed the poinsettias on (no leaves) and then added a couched white felted yarn. This ornament went to Jody in England for the Felting Forum Holiday Ornament Swap.
So leave a comment with a link if you try these. You could make them any color if you wanted a flower that was less holiday oriented. I’d love to see how yours turn out! Any questions? Let me know.