Creating Three-Dimensional Rosebuds

Allison Aller © 2008

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Inspired by how my Compassion rose looked in bud against a blue sky, I decided to try and render the buds three dimensionally on my current crazy quilt project, "Spring in the Garden."

I invite you to have a look at the process I came up with to create was a fun experiment!


To create these you will need:

  • small quantity of stuffing
  • scraps of lightweight silk for bud and petals; I used Habotai silk
  • scraps of velvet for the calyx, or other fabrics of your choice
  • fusible web
  • fine sewing thread
  • heavier sewing thread, such as quilting thread
  • rayon cording for rose stems, or other thick yarn or fibers
  • decorative thread for couching the cording
  • scissors
  • needle
  • pliers (optional)


Let's go through this step by step....

Step 1. Take a small piece of stuffing and shape it into the center of your bud with a needle and thread. Just pull and tug it into shape with your needle and thread, and secure with a few large stitches. You can judge by the cutting board in the background of this picture that the bud will measure about 1 1/2".

Step 2. Fold and mold a piece of lightweight silk, about 5" square, around the bud. Secure with stitches on the back, keeping the silk smooth across the front.

Step 3. For the unopened petals along the bud, fold two 5" squares of lightweight silk in half diagonally. Iron the crease so that it is sharp. Wrap each triangle around the bud so that the creases form diagonals across the front of the bud. Secure in place from the back with stitches as necessary.

This is how the bud looks from the back at this stage. There may be a neater way to accomplish this. If you discover it, do please let me know!

Step 4. To make the open petals, take two pieces of silk Habotai and iron them together with fusible web. (I used two different colors of silk, but that is a personal preference. I think this would look great in all white, for example.) Cut out four petals for each bud.

I like to singe the edges of my petals with a flame. I do this by running the edges of the petals quickly over a candle flame, but I must warn you that my fingers also occasionally get singed during this process, so I do not recommend it without a big disclaimer. Be careful! This step is NOT necessary, as the fusible web between the two silk fabrics will prevent the cut petal edges from fraying.

Step 5. One by one, wrap a petal around the bud's base, securing with stitches.

You can even fold back the edge of a petal and sew it down that way.

Step 6. For the calyxes, fuse two pieces of green silk together. I used a heavy weight webbing with silk Habotai for this in order to make the fabric stiff. You will also notice I had painted my white silk fabric beforehand. (I didn't have the right green on hand!) Cut out two sets of calyxes per bud, as shown.

Step 7. As with the petals, wrap the calyxes around the base of the bud, securing in place with stitches. The base is pretty thick at this point; a pair of pliers might come in handy to pull the needle through. Trim off the excess fabric at the bottom of the base until it is approximately 3/8" past the stitches that secure your petals and calyxes.

Step 8. To cover the base of the bud, fold back the upper long edge of a small piece of velvet, approximately 1 1/2" X 2". Sew the folded edge to the base of the front of the bud, covering your raw edges and any stitches.

Step 9. Fold the edges of your base cover fabric to the back and stitch in place. I suggest you use a heavier sewing thread for this, such as quilting thread, because you will want to tug fairly hard at this point. The goal is to make the base covering smooth across the front side.

Step 10. Fold up the bottom of your base fabric towards the back. Secure in place with a few stitches. At this point your rosebud is ready to be attached to your quilt.

Step 11. Before attaching my buds, I made stems for them by couching down some rayon cording. I also decided to add some detail to the calyxes with my small, sharp scissors; this could have been done in Step 6. Whipstitch the base of the bud to your block around three sides with matching thread.

Step 12. Tack down the body of the bud at its tip with a few stitches in matching thread. It is not necessary to tack down the petals or the calyxes.

Here is a view of my completed spray of rosebuds. I have appliquéd some tiny leaves along the stems.

In conclusion, this is somewhat fussy work, but the results are unusual, and perhaps you would like to give it a try sometime!


If you would like to read more about the creation of different flowers for my quilt, "Spring in the Garden," I invite you to visit my blog,  starting with the post on May 23, 2008.

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