DIY Sewn Fabric Grape Bunch Tutorial

Work on my vintage blue velvet restyle has picked up a bit since my last post - something about sharing in-progress photos makes me worry about being judged (guys, I've decided this is the year that I just publicly claim "artist status" and dive head first into my paranoia, fear and insecurity, instead of trying to convince you all that I am a well-adjusted person. HELLO IT'S ME.), so I felt the need to hurry up and demonstrate what's happening in my head. Anyway, funny thing here is I don't even like grape motifs - I actively DISLIKE them. Why I created a giant bunch of grapes to hang from my shoulder is beyond me, but making the thing has been so satisfying that I'm fully invested, and will be making another shortly, because the thing about one bunch of grapes is that it always needs another for balance. And now that I've really sold the idea, perhaps you'll want to make some for yourself ...


Step 1: Begin by cutting a circle out of your fabric and running a basting stitch just inside the outer edge. Pull up the stitches until the edges meet and stuff a bit of batting inside for shape. Close with stitches through the full thickness of gathers.

Step 2: After you've made a number of "grapes" decide on the overall shape of your bunch and run your needle and thread throughout to secure, keeping all of the raw edges to the backside.

Step 3: To cover the raw edges, cut a piece of matching fabric and secure around the turned edge with a whip stitch. This can now be molded into a more natural, curved shape.

I made three separate bunches, which I gathered into one large shape and then finished with two velvet leaves. I don't know that the separate, smaller bunches are necessary, but it does give it a nice full shape that is easily molded. I'll probably do the same with the next one.

At this point, I'm very aware that this could veer straight off into "vintage" mode, which I don't want at all, so I'll need to add some more modern, structural shapes in my embellishment. And I think the grapes need to be actually HANGING - like from a vine - to keep them more weird and less prissy. I'm also planning to restyle the neckline a bit when I open it up to repair the gathers. Maybe a mandarin style collar? Or a super gathered high neck? I look best in higher styles, so that would probably be best for me. WE'LL SEE ...