DIY: Simple Flowers from Old T-Shirts + Free Templates


I’ve been in a major cleaning and organization mood, so most of my projects have been focused on “using up” materials I have around. One giant project used a bin full of old printed t-shirts (I’ll show you when I’m done!) and I ended up with so many colorful t-shirt scraps that I over-ran my rag box. I decided it was a perfect time to combine those scraps, and the May DIY Challenge theme to make some simple jersey flowers.

After playing with the fabric for a day or two, I came up with two basic flower-making methods that you can use to make a whole army of blossoms.

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Supplies

• T-Shirt or jersey scraps
• Fabric scissors and paper scissors
• Needle and thread
• These printed template files : Stitch & Draw-up Petal Template, Pinch & Piece Petal Template

Optional Extras

• Shredding scissors, or other decorative edging scissors
• Straight pins
• Buttons
• Felt for leaves and backing. I used wide grosgrain ribbon.
• Pin-backs, bobby pins, or other clips to attach to the back
• Fabric Paints, or floss, or other decorating tools.

The Stitch & Draw-up Method

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This is by far the quickest way I made flowers, and was also especially useful for adding details to the center of other flowers, or for making the smallest simplest bonus blooms to add to a flower bunch. The template includes two example petal shapes to play with, and a feathered shape that I used for a center detail. It works with basically any shape you want to use, though, so be sure to try your own ideas for rows of petals.

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Step One

Cut the template shape out of a piece of jersey. (This is from the arm of a t-shirt.)

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Then stitch a loose line starting close to one edge and ending close to the other.

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Step Two

Put a stitch through the end you started on, to pull it into a ring.

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Step Three

Pull both ends of the thread to gather the fabric into a round shape. Make sure the extra puckered fabric from below your stitch line if on one side of the flower.

Step Four

Take a couple more stitches through the puckered side of the flower (which will be the back side, tie your favorite knot, and cut the thread.

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Step Five

Flip the flower over and add a button or other decoration. You can also stitch a clip or pin to the back side.  I put a button in the center of this one by stitching through the middle of the bloom,

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and added a couple of leaf-shaped pieces and a piece of ribbon to the back, by stitching them through the back of the petal.

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Voila, a quick simple flower that I can use on a package, as a pin, or in my hair. (Or all of the above.)

The Pinch & Piece Method

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This method takes a little more work, but I loved the way it makes a fuller and more complicated flower shape. I’ve given you four petal shapes to try on the template– each with a different number of petals per flower– but you can try all sorts of shapes for different results.

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Step One

Cut the indicated number of petal pieces out of jersey material. For this flower, I also used the “Center Detail” piece from the other template page to create a fuzzy center for my flower (shown above in dark purple.)

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Step Two

Stitch a loose line across the middle of each the petal (shown as a dotted line on the template) starting close to one edge and ending close to the other.

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Put a stitch through the end you started on, and pull to gather the fabric.

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Step Three

Bend the petal piece in half, and put a stitch in the fold. Then do the same to each petal to connect them all together. Tighten them together, and tie a knot at the first petal.

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Step Four

Wrap your thread between each petal  section to draw the center together and fluff the petals out. Then stitch through the back of the flower, & tie off the thread using your favorite knot. For the center on this flower, I used the “Stitch and Draw-up” method on my dark purple center detail piece, and then sewed through it and the center of my bloom. I attached a leaf shape and a piece of ribbon to the back like my first flower, and used that to bobby pin it in my hair.

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I’ve started flipping through my flower books for inspiration, and I love the flexibility and the whimsy of using old t-shirts like this.

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Soft, sweet, flowers.

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Remember that if you do this or any other flower project, send us a picture to enter the May DIY Craft Challenge.