Two sisters, two coasts, one blog

Rosette tutorial


What you will need:

  • about 1/2 a yard of fabric
  • sewing machine
  • iron & ironing board
  • serger (optional)
  • needle and thread
  • hairclip (optional)

The first thing you are going to do is to make several yards of 2″ wide bias tape. You can make bias tape by either cutting bias strips from your piece of fabric and sewing them together, or by sewing the fabric into a tube and cutting one long continuous bias strip. I recently tried the continuous strip method and found that it saved a lot of time, but it is a bit fiddly. There are many places online that explain how to do this much better than I can. Try here, or here. But basically, you want to start with a square or rectangular piece of fabric.  If your piece is a square, cut it in half diagonally. If it is a rectangle, fold one selvege edge over to create a 45 degree angle. Cut along the angle you have created. Mine was about 18″x 22″:

You’ll now have two pieces of fabric, one of which is a triangle. Sew A. to B. to form a parallelogram. Press the seam open.

Mark the top of the parallelogram (wishing you had paid more attention in geometry now aren’t you? I know I was!) 2 inches in. On the wrong side of the fabric, take a ruler and mark lines 2 inches apart running parallel to side E.

Right side to right side line point 1 up with point 2.  Stitch sides C & D together.

You’ll have a little tail on each end, and the lines you marked on the right side should line up with each other. Start cutting! If everything goes as it should, you’ll follow the line and cut one long piece of 2 inch bias tape. Again, you can watch this to get a really clear idea of how this works. Once you have your tape, fold it in half wrong side to wrong side and iron. A note on irons. If you are going to be doing any amount of ironing, and I mean more than a shirt every month or so, you must consider investing in a proper iron. I have a Rowenta Professional Lux, and it’s about 5 times heavier and gets about 3 times as hot as your basic $20 iron. It will, again, change your life.

I ended up with just over 7 yards of bias tape, ironed and ready to go. Now you’ll pleat it. I don’t bother to pin it, I just fold as I stitch but you can pin it if you want. I space the pleats out about 1/4-1/2 an inch. Don’t be too picky about making the pleats exactly the same width apart. It won’t matter in the long run and I think it makes the rosette look more organic if they aren’t evenly spaced.

Once you pleat the tape, you’ll end up with a much shorter piece. Mine measured 3 1/2 yards once it was pleated. I serge the raw edge, but you could leave it raw if you don’t have a serger.

Now comes the hand sewing, so get out that needle & thread. If you want you can follow Natalie Chanin’s instructions for ‘loving your thread’. Fold the end of the pleated strip under and start rolling it up, whip stitching as you go.

And then just keep going…and going…..

When your rosette is a big as you would like it to be, cut the pleated strip, and fold the raw edge under. Stitch into place.I got 2 rosettes out of my 3 1/2 yards of pleated bias tape.

Now your rosette should look like this:

Flatten the bottom out. This will force the center of the flower up, creating a nice shape.

And that’s it! Now you can stitch a hair clip to the back, or if you prefer, a pin-back. Or you could sew it to a headband, hat, dress…whatever you wish. Enjoy!

2 Responses to “Rosette tutorial”

  1. modaspia

    ah, so that’s how you did that….. 🙂
    i love them oami, wore mine in nyc last week. giulietta keeps stealing it off my dresser. i have to keep an eye on her!

  2. Norman Ross Powers

    Won’t be doin’ it, I’m sure, but I enjoy seeing YOUR hands at work and reading your clear voice about how to proceed. Also, it’s a nice knowing what that stained work surface is having just seen it in place at your house!


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