The dress I am making is trimmed with small fabric roses. Not embroidered roses like these.
|Liberty 'Aesthetic' dress, August Auctions|
And not a single, large, dramatic rose like this.
|Nordic Museums, 1914|
Or this (not actually a rose, but you get the idea).
|Couldn't find any details for this one|
Or multiple, large, dramatic roses like these.
|Les Modes (Paris) 1910, Robe de Diner by Zimmermann|
What I am after is more something like the roses on this.
|Paul Poiret, 1910|
Three dimensional fabric flowers were clearly very popular in the early twentieth century. I can’t quite make out how the flowers on this dress are constructed, but it’s clear that they stand out slightly from the dress itself.
|Another purple and cream dress with no information!|
Quite often the flowers are created from ribbons, a technique still used today.
|Lucile, 1912, Whitaker Auction|
However I have no idea how these roses were created, with their turned back petals.
|Edwardian dress, detail|
Fabric flowers were still appearing in the 1920s, as seen on this example from All The Pretty Dresses.
|1920s dress, detail|
And they weren’t confined to dresses either. This evening bag is high on my Want To Make list.
|Evening bag, early to mid-20th century, found by The Dreamstress|
Eventually I decided that I really needed to turn my attention to how to actually make fabric roses, and found several tutorials online. First up was Julie Bowersett’s blog, From These Hands. As the instructions were from vintage flower making books written around the turn of the twentieth century, this looked hopeful.
The flowers are made from squares of fabric folded in half diagonally, then gathered round the edges to form petals, which are then stitched together. I must admit that I made this up quite quickly, and the satin I need to use for the dress probably wasn’t the best fabric to start with. The end result is pretty (a combination of flash photography and shiny fabric really doesn’t do it justice), but looser than the style I’m after.
|Petals gathered and ungathered, and the rose in progress|
|The completed rose|
Next I found A Gilded Life. The roses in this tutorial are made by rolling and twisting a strip of fabric which has been folded lengthways. The problem with this is that the raw edges of the strip will sometimes show, which is fine for a modern look and/or fabrics which don’t fray much, but not for a period look in satin.
Finally I came across Stacy Vaughn’s blog. This tutorial was similar to the one on A Gilded Life, but the fabric strips were sewn into tubes first. No raw edges! And her example was made from satin! I wasn’t sure if I should press the tube once it had been turned right side out, but there was no mention of doing so. In the end I found that it was best not to press it, as the slight indentation at the seam added more depth to the ‘petals’. I used a strip 4.5cm / 1¾“ wide by75cm / 29½“ long, with a 3mm / ⅛” seam, and the end result was just what I was after.
|Fabric strip, and the rose in progress|
|The completed rose|
|The tube method creates a flatter, more compact rose|
Now all I have to do is make 5 more the same!