Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fabric Origami Step-by-Step - "Fennel"

Fabric + thread + beads + buttons + wire = WOW!

This "Fennel" origami ornament is a perfect example of the end result being greater than the sum of its parts. In just a few minutes, using the simplest of supplies, you can create a beautiful Christmas ornament sure to impress anyone lucky enough to receive it as a gift.

Directions for Making A Fennel Origami Ornament
These instructions have been adapted from Flower Origami by Kumiko Sudo.
The name "Fennel" is her designation for this flower origami pattern.

Supplies for fabric origami with embellished wire hanger:
2 pieces of fabric, lightweight silk or cotton, 7-1/2" x 7- 1/2"
Needle and thread
Purple disappearing marker
Assorted beads and/or buttons
20-gauge wire
Round nose pliers
Wire cutters

1- Cut two pieces of fabric approximately 7-1/2" square. For this sample, I used a light and a dark, but you can use just one color, if you like. Always use silk dupioni or cotton for fabric origami. Polyester does not hold a crease and is not recommended.

2– Draw a 6" square on the lighter fabric with a pencil. Pin the light and dark squares together.

Steps 1 & 2

3- Sew the squares together, right sides facing each other, using small stitches. Sew directly on the drawn line.

Step 3

4- Trim corners to remove excess bulk, as shown.  Trim seam allowances to a scant 1/4".

Step 4

Your square should look like this...

5- Fold the sewn square in quarters to find the center. Mark the center of the square with a purple disappearing marker.

Step 5

6- Cut a small (1") slit about 1 1/4” from center, as shown, for turning. In this example, the slit is in the darker fabric and will result in a finished piece with a dark center "flower."

Step 6

7- Turn the sewn square right side out by pushing the fabric through the slit. Don't worry about the slit getting a little misshapen - it will be hidden inside a fold of fabric.

Step 7

Your square will look something like this...

Press the square flat, making sure all sides are straight and corners are sharp, not rounded. Use your fingers to roll the edges out so the stitching is right at the very edge of the square. You don't want to have any creases along the seam line.

Now your square should look nice and neat, like this...

8- Lightly draw diagonal guidelines on the front and back of the fabric square with a disappearing marker. On the side without the slit, make a mark 2-1/2" from each corner, as shown. Fold each corner to the mark, aligning points with the drawn diagonal lines. Press firmly.

Step 8

9- Fold each side toward the center, aligning with the corners, as shown, to create a square. Press in place.

Step 9

10- Turn the entire piece over. Fold each corner into the center. Press. They should meet perfectly.

Step 10

11- Stitch each point in place. Use thread to match the lighter color on the back of the origami, so the stitches won't be too obvious on the reverse side of the Christmas ornament. Stitches should come up from the back, through the point and down to the back side. Knot securely. (Keep knots fairly small, so they don't show too much.)

Step 11

Any knots on the back side should be fairly unobtrusive, like this...

12- Fold each side midpoint toward the corner, aligning with the closest diagonal line, as shown below. Make one or two stitches through all layers to hold in place. You’ll come up from the back, up through the left point, down through the right point, then to the back. Knot the thread securely.

Step 12

Your Fennel origami is complete!

To make it a little bit fancier, you might want to add some embellishments like buttons or beads. Here's how...

First, sew on the button through all layers with a doubled thread. Knot your thread, but don't cut it.

Add a bead or two for a little sparkle and shine. Come up with the thread from the back, through all layers and through one of the eyes of the button. Go through a large bead, then through a smaller bead, then back down through the large bead, through another eye of the button and through to the back. Knot thread securely.

A piece of ribbon stitched or glued in place on the back could serve as an ornament hanger, but I like to make spiral wire hangers - they're so much prettier!

To make the spiral wire ornament hanger:
Gather together a pair of round nose pliers, wire cutters, and a spool of 20-gauge gold wire, plus assorted beads, if desired.

1- Cut a length of wire about 10" long. Using the round nose pliers, make a small spiral at one end. 

Step 1

2-  Move up the length of the wire about 1/4" and make a tiny spiral.

Step 2

3- Slide on a few beads.

Step 3

4- Make another tiny spiral to keep the beads in place.

Step 4

Your hanger should look something like this...

5- Begin making a tight spiral at the opposite end of the wire.

Step 5

6- Complete the spiral by hand bending the wire until you reach the beads.

Step 6

7- Sew the wire hanger securely to the back of the origami at one corner. Add a bit of Tacky Glue over the threads and wire and allow to dry. This will keep the hanger from twisting off.

Step 7

You did it!

It may have been a bit challenging to make this first one, but now that you have it all figured it out, the next one will be a breeze! This is my favorite fabric origami design. It's really beautiful and looks complicated but isn't all that difficult to do. I hope you'll give it a go.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below.

More posts about fabric origami:
Fabric Origami: The Prettiest Ornaments on the Tree (a gallery of origami ornament designs)
Silk Origami Christmas Ornaments (more pretty origami ornaments)
Fabric Origami Step-by-Step - "Primrose" (draperies with origami accents plus instructions for making the "Primrose" pattern)
Quilted Pillow with Origami (another use for fabric origami)


  1. Hi Leslie, I love coming to your blog as its so beautifully creative.I have given your blog Liebster Blog Award . Hopes you like it Details are on my blog. Love Kokila

  2. I love this and the tutorial is gret, I am always looking for a great Christmas ornament to make for family and friends this one will be great. I am also looking for the book you talked about I love origami it is so calming. thanks again.

  3. Hi Leslie,

    Just wanted to say thanks so very much for the wonderful tutorial. I'm making these to give as gifts this Christmas!

  4. I love this fabric origami tutorial thank you so much for sharing

  5. Aρpreciate tһe recommendation. Will trу it out.


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