Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Purple Dahlia

I have so many new ideas to try out on my To-Do list right now, and I finally made the time to try one out today. Months ago I came across this tutorial on Holidash. It's a tutorial for making a felt Dahlia brooch.
Credit: Megan Reardon

I really don't mind this flower as a brooch, but I also like the idea of it as a hair accessory and have seen many of these on Etsy. I wasn't making mine today with the intent of adding it to my Etsy shop; I was just experimenting with it and wanted to see if I could do it, (not to mention that I have many sheets of felt hanging around, left over from a project I lost interest in).

I picked out some purple felt for my flower, mainly because purple is my favorite color, but also because it was one of the few whole sheets of felt I have left over. I am not about to recreate my step-by-step process, as I basically followed the above tutorial to a tee, but I did make a few changes. For one, I did not include the cardboard base because I wanted my flower to be more flexible since it will be sitting on a round surface (unless someone out there has a flat head?). If I were to use this as just a brooch, I would probably include the base.

Secondly, I used a hot glue gun. This crazy woman used tacky glue and sat around waiting for her 37 petals to dry, twice! I did not have the patience for that. If I can use my glue gun in place of another method, then I will. Here is how mine looked starting out:

This was a very tedious process of cutting and gluing. It ended up taking me over an hour to finish, and technically it's not even finished yet. If I were to make any more of these, which I'm pretty sure I will, I plan to cut out everything ahead of time (in multiple colors for multiple flowers) and then glue them at another time. I have found that doing things in steps like that makes it seem less tedious. (I usually spend one night cutting out all of my fabric circles/petals for my headbands, then another night gluing them, and finally a third to complete finishing touches, like adding the clips, chains, etc.) Here is how my (nearly) finished flower looks:

I have not finished the center yet because I have not decided how I want it to look. In the brooch tutorial, the woman, (her name is Megan), used the same red felt for the middle.
Credit: Megan Reardon

I can't decide if I want to do that with mine, or add a little extra color instead. I was thinking about a yellow center? Though  suppose, technically, it may not be considered a dahlia anymore... Decision update: I have decided, for this particular one, since I am keeping it for myself, to keep the center purple. I am contemplating attaching it to my fleece scarf (it's concord purple) because I really like how to two purples look together. We will see.

Overall, I enjoyed making this flower. The tutorial was really easy to follow, but I did find myself trying to keep my perfectionism at bay. (I really wanted to make a cardboard petal template so all of my petals were uniform shapes and sizes, but I held off and ended up winging them). I think I might make a few more of these, their purpose as of yet undetermined. I have some navy blue, pale pink, and turquoise felt that I might use. I think this would also look great in a cream, tan, gray or dare I say, black? :-) (Did you catch that one? A black dahlia? Ha ha ha. Nevermind. You can say it, I'm a dork). It has been brought to my attention that some people may not have understood my vague allusion to the Black Dahlia. So in brief, (Google or Wiki it for more details), the Black Dahlia was the nickname of a woman who was a victim of a brutal murder during the late 40s. Well-known case then, but perhaps no longer now? Unless, of course, you watch American Horror Story, but I knew about it before that and had assumed others knew as well....)

What do you think of this flower? As a headband? Hair clip? Brooch? Suggestions for the center of my purple dahlia?


  1. You should experiment with different things in the center, you could easily do a button or a big "diamond jewel" type of thing .. you could also try some more simple ones with only one or two rows of petals .. that would also make some nice smaller flowers for clips or something and would take less time :) the pictue of just one row of petals reminds me of a gerber daisy! so keep an open mind and just play around with you ideas! Very cute!

  2. Thank you, and you're right. I does look a bit like a daisy! I hadn't thought of that. I also like the suggestions of smaller hair clips. Thanks for the feedback!

  3. I was thinking button or jewel in the middle as well. But, you know I like Red Buttons :)

  4. Love this. I would definitely purchase this in brooch form with a same color center as done in the tutorial, but I could see how others might like something with more variety or flash.