So have you ever wondered how to make a fabric brooch? Well that’s lucky, because I’m about to tell you. You see, my brooches with slogans are one of the most fun things I make and not just because I get to embroider swear words and sarcasm but because I don’t need to use my sewing machine to make them. Now, I adore my sewing machine (I would save it from a burning sewing shed) but there’s something really rewarding and relaxing about creating an item with only hand-stitching. Even better, if you’re a novice sewist it’s an easily achievable project and one that is worryingly addictive. Read to give it a go? Ok then!
Your favourite fabric (I use thick cotton)
Felt (matching or contrasting the fabric, depending on your taste)
Two round templates approx 8 cms and 3.5cms diameter
Needle, pins and sharp scissors
Cotton that matches your felt
Tailors’chalk or fabric pen
Brooch pin (available from haberdashers)
Button (matching or contrasting the fabric, depending on your taste)
The first thing you need to do is cut out the fabric to make the petals of the brooch. Lay out the fabric and cut out five circles by drawing around your chosen template with a fabric pen or chalk. I use an empty gaffer tape roll but you can use anything round to do this (the bigger the circle the bigger the petals). TIP! When placing the template on the fabric, make sure that your fave part of the circle is just to the side of the centre. When you fold the petals later on this will make sense!
Fold each circle in half and then fold it again to make a quadrant. Experiment with the folding to make sure your fave part of the fabric appears clearly on the quadrant (that’s why you cut it with this part to the side of the centre). Then iron each petal to give it crisp edges and to help it keep its shape. Arrange them in the order in which you want them to appear on your brooch.
Thread a needle with cotton, doubling it for strength and tying it at the end to leave a tail after the knot that’s a couple of inches long. It’ll be handy later on. Take the first petal and stitch the bottom, rounded edge through all layers making each stitch no greater than a cm. You can see what this looks like from the images. Once you have done this along the rounded edge of one petal continue the stitching through the rest of the petals in the same way leaving them all strung along the same piece of thread.
Push each of the petals along the thread towards the tail that you knotted earlier. They should gather up together and when you are happy with how they look (make sure they are gathered equally leaving each petal the same size) tie both ends of the thread together tightly to secure the petals. Once secure, clip off the loose thread and gently push the petals into an even star shape. Look! You have half a brooch! Tip! When gathering the petals don’t be scared of really pushing them up against each other. It makes stitching on the button detail much easier later on.
Take your felt and cut out two circles with your smaller template. Thread your needle with cotton that matches your felt and begin sewing your brooch pin to one of the circles of felt, in the centre of the circle. You’ll see six holes on the back of your brooch pin so stitch through each of them as I have done in the image. Make the stitches small and neat for the best finish. When done, secure the thread on the opposite side of the felt to the brooch pin.
Take your other circle of felt and sew your chosen button onto the centre of it. I used contrasting thread with my button because I like the way it looks. Secure it on the back when the button is tightly attached to the felt (apologies if I am reaching you to suck eggs here but too much info is always better than too little).
With your pins, and secure the back of the brooch (with the brooch pin) to the flower petals. Make sure the brooch back is centred and covering the raw edges of the petals. With the cotton that matches the felt, fix the felt to the petals with small stitches. Feel free to either pick up one layer of petal fabric or to go through all layers 9I prefer to go through all four layers). If going through all layers make sure that when you place the front of the brooch to the petals these stitches will be hidden. Secure with a small yet strong knot when done. Tip! Have enough patience to make these stitches small enough to not show when you are wearing the brooch. It’ll take time but it’s worth it for the finish.
In the same way that you did with the back of the brooch, secure the felt front centrally on the petals with pins. With the cotton that matches the felt, stitch it into place with more small stitches. Again, you can pick up one layer of petal fabric or go through all layers. Secure with a teeny yet strong knot when you are done. Tip! If you have any stitches that show you can hide them by gently dragging at the felt around the stitch with a needle, covering it up.
Grab your jacket, pin on your brooch and strut along the street while passers’ by point and gasp at the wonder that is your new brooch. Look at what you made! Now, I dare you to resist making another and another and anoth…
If you’d like to see a tutorial on any sewing problem email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to include it in my series!