all the colors

| May 24, 2013

Weddings mean flowers, right? I’m sure most summer brides have already ordered their bouquets, but that item is still languishing on my to-do list. My focus for the moment is on a different variety of flower.

Being a glutton for connection, I’m inviting a host of women I love to contribute a flower to my wedding dress. (My rationale can be found at the end of this post.)

No pressure on this, beloved friends. We all have piles of worthy projects on our plates. But if you’re interested, read on.

Whether you consider yourself crafty or not, this is a simple project that should take 5-15 minutes. Who doesn’t have a scrap of ribbon and some thread lying around? If the answer is you, no worries! I’m happy to send you what you need. Just pick a color (later on in the post) and send me a facebook or e-mail message.

To give you a sense of the final product, here are the flowers I have so far. They’ll be sewn atop the ribbon that wraps around the waist of my dress.

so far

In late June, I’ll use small pearl-like beads to sew each flower on. Here’s a mock-up:

with beads

Feeling inspired? Perhaps you’re ready for your turn!

Start with a piece of ribbon. The pieces we’ve used so far have been 5/8 of an inch wide and 5 to 7 inches long. Straying from these dimensions is totally cool, too. (As you may have noticed, some folks get fancy with extra layers, which adds variation.)

5-7 inches long

5/8 of an inch

Melt the two ends of the ribbon to prevent fraying. (Put them close to a flame, not directly in it, unless you’re going for a singed look.)

melt the edges

Using needle and thread, sew a running stitch down one long side of the ribbon. Don’t worry, non-sewers! A running stitch just means go in and out.

needle at one end

the running stitch begins

running stitch down the length of the ribbon

Knot the thread on the back side of the ribbon several times so that it won’t slide through. (If you look closely, you’ll see an extra little margin on the left side of the ribbon in the picture below. That’s because I didn’t knot it enough times at first, and it slid through. Fortunately, the final product is forgiving of such imperfections.)


Pull the ribbon down the thread so it tightens up into a flower.

pulling the ribbon down the thread

pull ribbon tight

You’ll have to pull the thread tight a few times as you finish it off so that it doesn’t come loose.

Now stitch up the two short ends of the ribbon . . .

stitch up the short ends

Pull it all tight one more time, then knot it off.

knot it off!

Make sense? I hope so. Mailing it should be easy, I think! Let me know if you need my snail mail address.

One more request. (Greedy, aren’t I?) After you’ve created your flower, please take a picture of yourself holding it and e-mail the picture to me! This is optional, of course, but would be wonderful. I’m going to make a photo album of these puppies. (More pictures like this at the end of the post.)

Beth's flower

Lauren with her ribbon

It’s fine to use any color of ribbon that you have on hand at home, and the thread you use doesn’t have to match – it hardly shows. If you’re feeling fancy, create a double-layered flower! (Leave it to craft goddess Giselle to come up with that idea.)

Giselle debuts the double-layered flower

My mama created a triple-layered flower, but I think I’ll reserve that honor for her.

Mom with her triple-layered flower

If you want me to send you a piece of ribbon and some thread (really, I’d be happy to!), please message me via facebook or e-mail. Here are the colors of ribbon I have.

Pinks and reds:


Purples, blues & greens:

purples, blues, greens

Oranges & yellows:

oranges & yellows

If you’ve made it this far, here’s the thinking behind this project.

1. I like color. We’re having a rainbow colored wedding, actually. No surprise then that I’m not satisfied with a single bold accessory in my wedding day ensemble. I want all the colors.

2. I got married for the first time at age 18, and wearing a traditional white dress made sense then. I was young, and marrying the boy (er, man) I loved felt clean and simple. This time around, I know that marriage is neither clean nor simple. It has its summers and its winters, its autumns and its springs. I’d like to embody the hues of all seasons: the pale and the bright, the dusky and the dark.

3. I want to walk into this new life girded with the love, blessings, and colors of the women in my life. At 18, I felt grateful for the support of friends and family, but at 32 I know that my life (and my marriage) depends upon you.

4. When a friend makes something for you to wear at your wedding, even if it’s just a tiny ribbon flower, she infuses it with herself. I’ve watched some of the women in my life make these flowers, and their painstaking care has melted my heart. Each flower is a blessing. Each flower is a symbol of the woman who makes it.

Thank you, beautiful women! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to be in touch.

the project


Nancy and Kathy



Lydia (who has no clue what's going on . . . thanks for sewing it, Lauren)







Amanda & Grace

Category: beauty, creating, family, friends, love, the seasons

About the Author ()

Hannah Lynn Mell grew up a missionary kid in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Now she lives in Amesbury, Massachusetts with her exquisitely kind husband David, their plucky three-legged cat Thomas, and a needy-yet-lovable dachshund named Birdie. She's worked with singers since 1998 and loves to help people of all ages free their voices. She's currently earning a Master of Social Work degree with the hope of using creative, expressive modalities in clinical settings.

Comments (12)

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  1. Brandy says:

    I will make you a flower!

  2. Nancy says:

    Lovely. I will love thinking of these love-flowers around your beautiful little waist on your wedding day, Hannah. I love you dearly.

  3. Aunt Mary (Yow) says:

    Do I send you the flower? or bring it when I come to the wedding?

    • If you can send it to me, that would be wonderful! That way I can stitch it on in plenty of time. I can e-mail you my address if you don’t have it!

      • Aunt Mary (Yow) says:

        Yes, please. I probably have it in your wedding invitations, but I’d like it again…..Thanks!

  4. Vicky says:

    Hey Hannah,

    I’ll be making a ton after work! So excited to be a part of this!

    Love you,

  5. genevieve says:

    I can’t make the flower shower, but would love to make a flower, and I’d bet Al too. I love your reasons why so many colors and why all the women…soo true.
    Love you buckets

  6. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for thinking of me. What am honor. Made me remember making a veil. Karis is so excited to help. We spent 15 minutes picking out ribbon yesterday. I will include her in my picture. Enjoy the time preparing for this special day!