Tuesday, December 20, 2011

SavvySeams.com's Tudor Rose Tutorial Remix

Quite a while ago I typed up a little post about some Tudor Rose purses I had made.  The original pattern came from a now defunct website called SavvySeams.com.  I did not draft this pattern, but I love it so very much.  It should not be lost to the world.  What remains of SavvySeams.com can be seen through a web archive service.  If you look HERE you'll see what remains of the original pattern and may notice that many of the photos are gone.  There is a printable text-only document still avaible HERE.  The PDF file for the pattern pieces is HERE or try http://web.archive.org/web/20070316122815/http://www.savvyseams.com/bags/flower.pdf

You can see a little gallery of photos of the flower I made for this tutorial HERE.
I gathered some historical information and photos about the Tudor Rose HERE.

Here's my remix of the flower portion of the tutorial:

Getting Started:
Choosing fabric.
  • The fabric should be medium to heavy weight.  If you use lightweight fabric, you'll need to apply a lightweight fusible interfacing.  
  • The flower is quite complex and gorgeous on it's own.  I suggest avoiding strong prints that may distract from the details of the flower itself.
  • Each leaf and petal has a front and a back.  Consider splurging on the front fabric and going cheap on the backs.
  • How much fabric?  A bit more than a yard. I can break it down into petals and leaves or fronts and backs if you wish.  
Other supplies.
  • You'll need the basic machine sewing supplies: coordinating thread, scissors, iron, etc.
  • You'll also need to do some hand sewing so be sure you have a needle and thread on hand.
  • Batting or wadding.  I used a medium thick synthetic quilting batting.  I think a cotton or poly-blend would work as well.  
  • If you have some freezer paper, I'd suggest using it for your pattern pieces. 
  • The flower's center requires a base of some kind.  I use plastic canvas, but any plastic may work.  The lids from margarine tubs or coffee cans would work.  Also, file folders work great.  I haven't tried it, but peltex or timetex would probably work as well.  
First, I cut out the fabric:
There are only 4 different pattern pieces the worry about for this flower.  In truth, what I've dubbed "leaves" are actually sepals or tiny petals.  For simplicity's sake I'm sticking with petals and leaves.  You will find the PDF pattern HERE.    
You'll need to cut out 10 of each pattern piece from your fabric.

I am a huge fan of using freezer paper for my patterns.  I've actually cut out 10 of each pattern piece.  That way I have a single freezer paper pattern piece to match every piece of fabric I will cut out.  

Freezer paper rocks because:
  1. I avoid having to trace or transfer each pattern piece 10 times.  I just iron the freezer paper onto my fabric and cut around it.
  2. I can easily keep track of how many pieces I need to cut out.
  3. I avoid wasting fabric.  I know without a doubt if I have enough fabric for every piece because I cut. Also, I can arrange and rearrange the freezer paper until I'm sure I'm not wasting any fabric.
(You might have guessed from the picture that I am upcycling a pair of pants to use for the petals.)

Second, I make the leaves:
For the leaves, simply match up and pin the fronts and backs of every leaf right-sides together.  There will be 5 small and 5 large leaves in all.  For the leaves in this tutorial, the backs are a tan fake-suede that used to be a bed skirt.  For the fronts I'm using a cream on white crocodile print poly blend with a fuzzy flannel backing.  I picked that up at thrift store--I have no idea what you'd call it.
Stitch.  After pinning, it's just a matter of stitching around the edges with a .5" seam allowance, leaving an opening at the bottom.  I sew the leaves in a continuous line of stitching to save some time.  That's a neat quilter's trick I and using more and more.
Clip.  The pointy corners need to be trimmed so the tips of leaves are nice and sharp when you turn them inside out.
Turn.  I use a wooden dowel to help me turn the leaves inside out.  Be careful not to poke through the seams or damage the fabric.  Press each leaf nice and flat.
Top-stitch.  I chose a decorative machine stitch to add a bit of detail to my leaves.  

Third, I make the petals:
Pin.  The petals require a bit of batting as well as the fronts and backs.  The batting pieces should be trimmed off at the bottom about 2 inches.  This will decrease the bulk we don't want want in the center of the flower.  This is the best way to pin your petals together:  Lay your back piece right-side-up.  Lay your front piece on top, right side-side-down.  Lay your batting on the very top.  Pin.  If you pin that order, the petal will look nice and poofy when you turn it.
Stitch.  Stitch around the petals using a .5" seam allowance and leaving a nice big opening at the bottom for turning.  Don't bother trimming the batting near the seams.  The bulk of batting in seam allowances will help boost the dimensions of the petals.
Turn.  Carefully turn and gently press each petal.  
Top-Stitch.  I have top-stitched the petals a multitude of different ways.  You can see examples of that HERE.  When I keep my top-stitches at least 1-1.5 inches away from the edge of the petals, the petals get a nice poofy 3-D effect.  
The 5 large petals and the 5 small petals are sewn together in rings following these steps:
  1. Trim the bottoms off of the petals as shown with the red lines in the diagram.  Don't get too fussy about this step.  The center is covered up anyway so this step is mainly for reducing bulk.  I trimmed off nearly 2 inches from each large petals and about 1 inch from each small petal.
  2. Arrange 5 same-sized petals until you're happy with how they look and just pin together 2 adjacent petals.
  3. Using your widest zig-zag stitch, sew together the 2 petals where their edges meet up.  Take a look at the blue zig-zags I've drawn in the diagram to get a better idea.  Stitch about 3 inches from the bottoms of the petals.
  4. Take your stitched petals back to their friends and pin one more on to the chain.  Repeat the zig-zag  stitching for the remaining petals until you have a complete ring of petals.
  5. The last step is to zig-zag around the center of the ring to finish off all the raw edges.

Fourth, attach the leaves to the petals:
This is how you attach the leaves:
  1. Take your ring of large petals and flip it over face-down.  Arrange the large leaves on the back, right-side-down, as shown.  Were you wondering why the large leaves had the "V" shape cut into the bottom edge?  Well, when you arrange the leaves as shown, the "Vs" create a perfect(ish) pentagon.  Ultimately, the large leaves peek out between and behind the large petals.  I like my leaves to extend just beyond the height of the petals.  Flip it over and experiment with placement until you're happy with the look of it.
  2. When you're sure about the placement, pin the large leaves in place.  I used low-tack masking tape because it'll hold them down perfectly and it won't get caught on anything like pins sometimes do.  Flip it over, right-side-up, and sew a straight stitch right over the zig-zags that hold together each petal.  The dotted lines in the diagram show you where the straight stitch will show through on the back.
  3. The small leaves need to be pinned as shown.  Play with the arrangement, laying the ring of small petals on top, until you're happy with the placement.  
  4. The ends of the leaves are sewn on as shown.  
Pin the small ring of petals on top and stitch as shown.  Now all that's left is the center piece!
Final step is making the center:
The center of this Tudor Rose is finished with a large button detailed with canadian smocking.  I found a great canadian smocking tutorial right HERE.  It's easier than you think, I promise!  Once you read through the tutorial, you'll find you need to mark a grid on the reverse of your fabric.  What I do is take a piece of very thin/feather-weight fusible interfacing and place it on my cardboard fabric cutting board which has a 1 inch grid.  I can then mark the interfacing with a marker and fuse it to the back of a 14" square of fabric.  The center picture shows what the back side looks like when all the smocking has been completed.  I used the bright orange thread only because it shows up better for the photos.  Once you flip it over, you can see the cool basket weave pattern.  It looks so cool, right?  
Have you ever heard of plastic canvas?  It's a fairly common staple at most craft stores.  Usually it is used for yarn crafts like tissue box covers and some holiday decorations.  You can see a bunch of traditional plastic canvas crafts HERE.  I like to use it for making bags.  It makes a nice stiff, yet breathable reinforcement for structured bags.  To make the big button, I cut out a circle of canvas and wrapped the smocked fabric around it.  You can see the back looks pretty ugly, but no one will ever see it, right?  The finished button always reminds of the lattice crust of cherry pie.  Once you hand stitch the button to the center of the petal rings, you're done!
Other tips and such:
  • If you scroll back up and check out the pics of my petals and leaves, you'll notice some irregularities.  Some of the seams are wonky, the shapes are not all perfectly uniform.  I'm fine with those little defects.  When I look at my finished project, I don't notice that my top-stitching isn't perfectly even or that my leaves aren't absolutely symmetrical.  For me, that's a major plus to this complicated pattern.  It's not very fussy and therefore perfect for a lazy sewer like myself!  
  • In my experience, the most tedious part of this project is cutting the fabric.  There are 40 pieces for the petals and leaves, 10 pieces of batting, and then you have the center.  The sewing part goes by very quickly, I promise.
  • The smocking in the center looks best when done in solid-colored fabric.  I use a 1 inch grid for my smocking, but a larger grid would still look cool and be less work.  I wouldn't recommend going any smaller.  
  • Depending on the weight of your fabrics, your finished project could get pretty heavy.  Consider the weight of your flower when choosing what type of bag or pillow you choose to attach it to.  The original pattern calls for a flower on each side of the bag.  I made one double-flowered bag and while the person I made it for was very pleased, I wouldn't want to carry a bag that was so heavy.
Happy Holidays and warm hugs for Montana,
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If you chose to use this pattern, please respect SavvySeams.com's copyright.  This is cut and pasted directly from SavvySeams.com:
"Patterns, Copyright and LicensingAll fashion and design is inherently derivative; it's all just common cultural knowledge reworked through an individual's unique experiences and aesthetics. With this in mind, I've decided to license all the works on this website (unless noted otherwise) under a Creative Commons license. This means you are free to use, reproduce, or make derivative works WITH THE FOLLOWING RIGHTS RESERVED:
  • Attribution.
  • You must credit SavvySeams and list the web address.
  • Noncommercial.
  • You may not use my patterns or designs, or any other content of this website, for commercial purposes. This means the sewing patterns are not to be sold or used in making items for resale.
  • Share Alike.
  • If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
  • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work."

Here is Ricochet's license to remix SavvySeam.com's pattern: 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


  1. The link to the pattern PDF doesn't work...can you link it up a different way, or a new one? I'd really really like to make this for some pillows :) Thanks!!

  2. I've double checked the links to the PDF pattern and they all work. Because I used a link archive service, called "way back", the first screen you see after clicking the link will be a "way back" link retrieval page and that should take you right to the PDF. I will also see about emailing the PDF to you, Vickie. :-)

  3. The PDF pattern didn't come up for me either

  4. The PDF link works on my PC, laptop, nook, iphone, and computer at my local library so I'm guessing the trouble is due to a security/firewall/pop-up-blocker type issue. Please email me at ricochethandbags(at)hotmail(dot)com and I will email you the PDF file.

    For anyone else trying the link, once you click on it, a "way back" web archive retrieval page will pop up. It takes 1-5 minutes to locate and load up the file, so be patient.

    Email me if you still have trouble.

  5. Here's the direct link to the PDF:

  6. I'm never patient with wayback. I always click on "impatient" which didn't work this time either. So taking Ric's advice I let it go longer as I did a few other things and it still said loading SO I held down the control key and clicked on impatient and it did show up. Don't know if the control did it or it was ready

  7. Thanks so much for doing this... I am a pictorial learner - you saved me!

  8. I made the mistake of buying all the supplies for this before checking the entire tutorial on Wayback Machine - I'm SO glad you redid this tutorial! It's gorgeous - I actually like your version better than the original =)


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