It's All in the Shaping!

Mar 13, 2021
by Rothney Chase

It’s all in the shaping!  To get great looking 3-D organza flowers, care should be taken when shaping and drying the petals.


Before I get into specifics, I just wanted to pass on some information. Free standing lace usually requires Badge Master stabilizer and another fabric-type dissolvable stabilizer, but when you’re stitching on organza, you only need one layer of a water-soluble stabilizer like the one shown in the picture below. This product goes by a lot of different names, just make sure that it has a tiny waffle-weave look to it.

After I burn out the petals of a flower design with a stencil burner, I will rinse them in a bowl of very warm water rubbing the petals between my fingers until I don’t feel any more stickiness. Then I’ll press the petals between 2 layers of an old towel to absorb most of the water.  The remaining stabilizer, contained under the stitching, acts as a stiffener.


Now comes the important part, the shaping!  Don’t be intimidated by the looks of a flower!  Break it down petal by petal.


One item I use for shaping is an old towel.  In order to shape the stamens for cherry blossoms, I bunched up the towel and created some little indentations.  Each stamen was put into its own little nest until it dried.

The cherry blossom petals held their shape when I placed them on the towel and folded the petals up from their centers.  The leaves shaped nicely when I ran my fingernail down their centers.

Below is a picture of the finished flower.

For shaping the petals of the rose, again, I used the towel.  I created ridges with the towel and placed each large petal along a ridge.  The inner petals of the rose were curled slightly and set inside a pill bottle to dry, shown in the bottom left below.  The circle for the very center of the rose was dried flat and manipulated during the construction.

Below is a picture of the finished rose. 

For the gardenia, the center petals were dried the same as for the rose, curled slightly and set inside a pill bottle to dry.  The other petals were curled and placed in the round center of a roll of ribbon.

Below is a side view of the finished gardenia.

For the iris, I used several containers to aid in the shaping of its petals.  The top layer of petals was placed inside a small shot glass to dry.

The middle section of the iris was put in a small flat dish so that just the last ½ inch or so was turned up.  There were 3 sets of petals drying in the picture below.

The bottom layer of the iris was pinned to a board to get its desired shape.  The ends were pushed in to create curves in the petals and then the center was also pinned down to the board.

Below is a picture of the finished iris. 

For the orchid, I shaped the bottom layer of petals and left it on a towel to dry.  The middle layer was draped and pressed over the lid from a mouth wash bottle.  The top layer has a little end that was tucked inside and then the 2 sides were clipped together until the piece was dry.

Below is a picture of the finished orchid embellished with a crystal.

I make a lot of use of my pill bottles!  A commodity you seem to come by as you age!  For the daffodil, the center piece has to not only stand up, but also curl at the top.  A pill bottle was perfect for this! 

The ripple-edged petals were shaped by bending the petals up and overlapping them.  Then this was pushed inside a small pill bottle, far enough to ‘curl’ the ripple edges with the opening of the container.  The small stamen piece was pushed inside a pen lid to dry.  Pictured below.  The large outer petals were shaped with a slight curve to the tips.

Below is a side view of the finished daffodil.

The fuchsia flower has been my most elaborate one in the shaping department! The bottom layer, pink petals below, are suspended in a round dish with the center pushed down and the tips curled over the edge.  The trumpet portion of the fuchsia has the petals bent up, overlapped, and pushed inside a pill bottle to dry.  The 2 layers of petals that are between the trumpet portion and the bottom layer had their petals curled around the ends of pens and secured with clothes pins. 

Below is a side view of the finished fuchsia.

If you become an organza flower enthusiast you will want to collect a variety of containers for the shaping process.  Besides a variety of pill bottle sizes, I also have a few different tops off styling mousse, hairspray, and mouth wash.  Shot glasses, wine glasses, and liqueur glasses are also great assets.


And don’t be afraid to shape a flower differently than the norm.  Create your own type of bloom!


Also, if a flower happens to get crushed or misshapen, just hold it over a steaming tea kettle spout for a few seconds, shape it, and hold it a few seconds till it cools a bit.  Presto, good as new!


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Thanks for stopping by and I hope that I have inspired you to create!


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