Monday, September 17, 2012

Felt Sunflower for Bernie B Productions

My friend Bernadette Burke of Bernie B Productions is a Film Festival Curator and Producer for the 2012 Sydney Fringe Festival and had commissioned (my first!) a piece for the occassion. The "brief" if I chose to accept (of course!) was to make a sunflower with a "B" in the centre using any materials I wish. I was thinking about making quilled curls for the centre and petals made of crepe paper, but it would surely be crushed during transit to Sydney. Since I prefer stitching, I decided on using felt and embroidery wool.

To make the centre of the sunflower, I cut out a circle of brown felt measuring about 19cm in diametre. Bernie sent me a "B" in Helvetica font which I increased to size 500. I cut out the "B" in blue felt which I anchored to the brown felt with small stitches.

DMC embroidery wool consist of four strands which need to be separated which was a really tedious process. For the blue, I use one strand of 7297 and one strand of 7306 (threaded in one needle), and the browns were a combination of 7469 and 7489, and 7488 and 7467. The fun bit (well, fun for me anyway) was creating the french knots to resemble the tiny sunflower seeds.

So I knotted, knotted...and knotted...and knotted some more, for about 2 weeks until the centre of the sunflower was complete! I then mounted the embroidered onto a round piece of stiffen felt using a lacing method rather then glue as I was worried about leaving any residue.

I wanted bright, lively petals so I enlarge the petal templates from Amy Butler's Snow Mum Pillow pattern to 150%, and cut out 16 lots of large, medium and small yellow felt petals.

The two sides of the petal base were stitched together (either hand stitch or chain stitch on the sewing machine). Beginning with the large petals, I machined stitched the petals which were pinned in a circle onto a piece of linen fabric. The medium and small petals were then laid out in a circle and stitched.

The tricky part of the project was attaching the centre of the sunflower to the fabric. As I had used stiffen felt as the base, I could hand stitch through the embroidery but it was tough!

I complete the project a couple of weeks before the deadline so Bernie has a one of a kind, lovingly hand embroidered felt sunflower!
How exciting! CheeKeeLee got a mention on the pamplet!

 Check out Bernie's Sydney Fringe Festival Sponsorship Video:


  1. Thank you so much for the inspiration. When I was stumped for a way to put a sunflower on a pillow, your post helped me come up with a solution. The final result:

    1. Hi AJ, many thanks to your link, your sunflower looks fantastic! I really like the beading, it's a beautiful inclusion. Thank you for reading my blog :D