How to Make a Fabric Hand Fan

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Both elegant and practical, fabric fans have served as graceful accessories to women’s fashions for centuries. Show off your own sense of style when you make your own fan, customizing it to match your outfit or the occasion.

Flat Fabric Fan

Reminiscent of old-timey funeral fans, this one will cool you off and look cool at the same time. Keep it casual with cotton or denim, or jazz it up with silk or satin. Add some beads or faux pearls for even more personalized flair. You could also embroider the initials of a bride and groom on white silk or satin fans for a wedding keepsake for guests.

Things You'll Need

  • Chipboard or 1/8-inch plywood
  • Template (optional)
  • Craft knife or heavy-duty scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Fabric
  • Iron
  • Wooden fan handles, paint-stirring sticks or large craft sticks
  • Double-sided tape
  • Spray adhesive

Step 1

Chipboard comes in many shapes that would work well for a fan, or you can use a simple rectangular-based template. If you are using the template, trace it onto the chipboard. Fold the fabric in half, wrong sides out, and trace or pin the template. Cut out all of the traced shapes. You should have one piece of chipboard and two pieces of fabric.

Step 2

Trim the chipboard 1/16 to 1/8 inch to allow for finishing the edges of the fabric.

Step 3

Turn the fabric edges under 1/16 to 1/8 inch and press the fold firmly.

Step 4

Use double-sided tape to place a handle on the center of the chipboard, extending about half the length of the handle below the board. For heavy use of your fan, use permanent craft adhesive in place of the tape.

Step 5

Apply spray adhesive to one side of the chipboard and attach one of the fabric pieces, smoothing it from the center to the edges to remove wrinkles and air bubbles. Repeat on the other side.

Step 6

Embellish your fan with a bow at the top of the handle, ribbon streamers, beads or other additions.

Tip

  • Make the fabric pieces about 1/2 inch larger than the chipboard and fold 1/4 inch to the wrong side. After adhering them to the fan base, stitch them together with a contrasting zigzag stitch for extra texture and decoration.

Quilted Fabric Fan

Make a chic, sophisticated version of this fan with carved chopsticks and silk or satin fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Iron
  • Tailors' chalk
  • Fabric glue
  • Chopsticks or small craft sticks
  • Sandpaper
  • Acrylic paint (optional)
  • Acrylic sealer (optional)

Step 1

Sand the sticks to remove rough edges. Paint the sticks, if you choose, and allow the paint to dry completely before applying the sealer. Allow everything to dry thoroughly while you prepare the rest of the fan.

Step 2

Cut two fan-shaped pieces from the fabric and two from the interfacing. Iron the interfacing to the back sides of the fabric.

Tip

  • For extra thickness for your fan, substitute fusible fleece for the interfacing.

Step 3

Place the right sides of the fabric together and pin the edges. Using a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stitch along the two ends and the top, longer curved edge. Trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch and turn the fan right-side out. Iron it flat.

Step 4

Mark the 1/4-inch seam allowance on the smaller curve with tailors’ chalk.

Step 5

Stitch straight lines from the marked line to the top of the fan, spacing them evenly across the fan. Allow enough space between the lines for your chopsticks or craft sticks to slide into the slots.

Step 6

Clip the bottom seam allowance. Slide the sticks into each slot and fold the tabs inside. Secure the sticks and the tabs with fabric glue.

Step 7

Bring the other ends of the sticks together in a stack. Glue them to hold them in place and then cover their intersection with a bow, brooch, silk flowers or other embellishment. You can also make a hole through each stick with an ice pick or awl and tie them together with embroidery thread.

References

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