Something for the weekend: Sock bouquet

After spending last night sorting my scrap bags (which was absolutely not an excuse to play with my new quilting toys, honest) I’m feeling very virtuous and productive this morning. As part of my new blog schedule, I hope to post a tutorial, guide or similar each Friday, since I know the weekend is the only time a lot of people get to make things. I have a rough plan for the next few months, but if there’s something from one of my patterns that you’d like more detail on, or I post a ‘finished object’ picture that you want to hear more about, please let me know!

I first came across sock bouquets about five years ago when my mother sent some to a friend of hers. The idea was so cute that when some friends of mine had their first baby, I decided to send them some as well. With the budget being what it is at the moment, and with the cost of them being what it is, I decided to make my own (NB. Given it took me a couple of hours, the ones to buy are good value, but I don’t have to pay myself for my time!).

And since I figured I wouldn’t be the only one to find them cute, I put together a little tutorial in case anyone else fancies making them too! The whole thing is below, and I’m hoping to get a PDF done soon so it’ll be more printer-friendly. As always, if something doesn’t make sense or is spelled wrong (pesky typos get everywhere), please just let me know!

Sock Bouquet

Materials:

Baby socks
Florist tape
Florist flower stems
Scissors (for tape-cutting)

Optional:
Green felt and fabric scissors
Fabric pen
Leaf template
Ribbon

Let’s take a closer look at those supplies:

Baby socks.

The ones I used were for 0-3 months, but I would think you could go up to 3-6 months without too much difficulty. Much bigger than that and you’ll have trouble turning them into flowers as they’ll be too heavy, but you can always experiment with more tape or thicker stems.

Florist stems, florist’s tape. Scissors.

I bought mine from eBay for under £5 including postage, and I’ve got loads left over for my next bouquet. The scissors are just for the tape, rather than the stems. You’d need a tougher pair for them.

While we’re here, I wanted to have a closer look at the florist’s tape. I’d never used it before, so it was actually a surprise to me that it wasn’t sticky on one side!

It’s more like a film that clings to itself when you stretch it, and it’s very easy to use. I had worried about the whole ‘adhesive on fabric’ thing…

If you want to add leaves to your flowers, you’ll need a piece of green felt, about 10x20cm and scissors to cut it with. You’ll also need a leaf template and a fabric pen to draw it onto the felt. Finally, I used some green ribbon to tie up my bouquet at the end.

Right, got everything? Then let’s start!

Instructions

Take your first sock and fold it almost in half, to about level with the bottom of the cuff.

Then fold it over again, again to the bottom of the cuff.

Wrap the cuff around the part you’ve just folded, the way you would if you were balling them up to put them away.

It’s worth saying at this point that this is how I chose to roll my flowers. If you’re a better gardener than me, you might want to fold them differently to look like your favourite flower! The ‘tight rose’ look worked for me, so that’s what I went with.

Repeat the above for all of your socks.

Now we’re going to attach them to the stems. Because I ordered fairly slim stems, I held two together to make sure they could support the weight of the sock.

Because of how the sock is rolled, there’s an opening on one side. Find it and put the stems in, pushing them up as far as they’ll go without poking through the fabric.

This is where it starts to get fiddly, and it’s where you need that opening. I’m sure there are other ways of wrapping the tape, but this is the method I found gave me the most consistently secure results.

Take your tape and put the end of it into the opening.

Now start wrapping, making sure that your first few turns are overlapping.

Carefully wrap your way down the flower/sock, keeping the tape at least 50% overlapping. I found that tension was the biggest issue in this part. Keep it tight enough that the sock is secure and sticks to itself, but not so tight that it becomes translucent and essentially useless. There’s a happy medium that you’ll get the hang of as you go along.

When you get to the stem, you might want to go back up the flower for a few turns before starting down again. It’s worth making sure that part is really secure, because if the flower wobbles too much, it can pull the tape loose. See?

And no one wants floppy flowers.

That’s better.

Now, wind the tape all the way down the stem. You can give it a thinner layer at this point, as long as you keep it tight enough to stay put.

At the bottom, wrap a few times in the same place, then pull hard to make the tape translucent.

Cut the tape just below the transparent part, then wrap it tightly around and squish it down. You’ll find that it sticks quite nicely to itself and can be semi-moulded so that you won’t even see the join.

And that’s your first flower! Repeat for as many socks as you have. In total, I had ten, which gave me a nice bunchy-bouquet that still wasn’t too big to send through the post.

Since I thought my flowers were looking a little bare, I decided to add some leaves to the top to bulk them out a little. First I cut a template, which I made by drawing an oval then adding a rectangle to the bottom. As with the flower shape, you can go in any direction you like, but I’d recommend the squared off bottom so that you’ve got something thick to wrap the tape around.

I wanted 2 leaves per flower, so I drew around my template 20 times and started cutting. Quick tip: Don’t use ‘fade away’ fabric pen, as it fades off felt incredibly fast and you’ll find yourself cutting where you think the line was. I decided that didn’t matter too much, since all leaves are different, but if you’d rather not improvise, just use a pen that will draw on felt and cut inside the lines to get rid of the marks.

Once your leaves are all cut out, pick 2 and hold them on either side of the stem.

Now start wrapping the tape around the bottom of the leaves, keeping it nice and tight and making sure you cover the bottom edge. Don’t go too high up or your leaves will be too tight to the stem. You want to cover the rectangle at the bottom, leaving the oval free to stand away from the stem.

It’s rather fiddly, and my first few attempts mostly resulted in the leaves falling off, but you get the hang of it. Don’t worry too much about the leaves not being symmetrical, since they aren’t on real flowers. Nature is much messier than we are! Secure the end of the tape as you did for the flower stems. Cut the tape, pull hard so it’s transparent then wrap it around and stick it down.

Once you’ve put all your leaves on, your flowers are ready. Yay! I used a wide green ribbon to bind all my stems together in a neat bunch, since I wanted them to stay together in the box through the post, but at this point, you can arrange them however you’d like. I’ve seen some lovely examples tied with string or wrapped in tissue paper like a real bouquet.

Although it might feel a little fragile, mine survived a trip through the British postal system and arrived intact. I chose a fairly thin box so they didn’t jolt around too much and used some tissue paper as padding, but I think they should be fairly robust anyway.

There are endless variations on this, with different colours of socks, different rolled flowers and you could add more leaves for a full-on flower effect. Enjoy!

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