Summer Stems:

Lynn Schoeffler 2011

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In this issue, we thought we'd offer up our ideas for summer fun, and somehow or another, Freesias came to my mind. Don't ask me how that happened--I am no gardener!

As I surfed the internet for photos, this sweet little illustration from Debbie at Graphics By PokaDot* popped onto my screen. Perfect, I knew, for those long and awkwardly shaped patches you sometimes end up with in a pieced block. Special thanks to Debbie, who was kind enough to rework the illustration to a format I could use!

Background courtesy Far Far Hill

Even more fun, I remembered that I had an interesting piece of "stuff" stashed away. Quite often, my darling daughter will bring me a bouquet of roses; lately they have been coming from the supplier wrapped in a slightly stiffened, organza-looking type fabric. I knew that someday I'd find a use for it, and the flower below is what I came up with.

In this case, the stiffness of the fabric works well; also the fact that the fabric doesn't ravel when cut. Here's how I made my Freesia stem.


  • Stiffened organza
  • Sewing thread to match organza
  • Green embroidery thread of your choice
  • Background fabric
  • Rayon ribbon or seam binding in green**
  • Sewing thread to match seam binding
  • Small scissors
  • Chalk pencil

Draw patterns for the largest floret on the organza with the chalk pencil; this one should be about 1 l/2" in length, and about 1 l/2" wide, with five petals.

Draw the next four florets in the same manner; each one should be slightly smaller than the previous one. The second floret should have four petals, the third, fourth and fifth floret will have three petals each.

Starting with the largest floret, roll the petals from left to right into a cone shape. Take a few Straight Stitches with matching thread at the bottom of the cone to hold the shape. Trim fabric away immediately below the Straight Stitches. Repeat with all five florets.

Draw a stem on your fabric, with that characteristic almost- horizontal bend that Freesias have.

Flower image courtesy Vintage Printables; old paper background courtesy Far Far Hill.

Embroider the stem, starting at the bottom, and continuing the entire length of the stem. Here, I've used a Whipped Stem Stitch.

Tack the bottom of each floret into position along the stem, graduating from the largest to the smallest. Gently spread the petals of the largest two florets and tack with sewing thread.

Embroider the calyx of each floret with Straight Stitches, covering the Tack Stitches.

The long green leaves could not be more simple or easy! Cut a length of the green rayon ribbon about 6 l/2" long. Iron it in half lengthwise, and then cut a sharp diagonal at each end. Tie a knot in the exact center of the folded ribbon.

Position the leaves piece at the bottom of the stem and tack it to the background fabric under the knot with matching sewing thread. Take one or two stitches on the underneath layer of the seam binding through the background fabric, using the position of the stitch to slightly curve the leaf if desired.

There are probably lots of ways to use this "found fabric". Send us your ideas!

*All rights for the Freesia pattern reserved by PokaDot Graphics. 

** For beautiful hand dyed rayon ribbon, go to Deborah Brunner's Overtures

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