49. How to Make a Fabric Brooch

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

This episode is subtitled: ‘Bespoke is best…’

With my covered notebook tucked under my arm I headed next door to Teacups (the warm side of the shop) for my usual late Saturday afternoon get together with Kim to discuss how things were going in Teacups & Tulips and to focus on any hotspots for the following week or so.

‘I think we should give the staff something handmade for Christmas,’ said Kim, ‘You know, show we’ve put a bit of effort in.’

Was she serious? Kim’s never made anything in her life and we’re on the run up to Christmas which, in a flower shop, is a long hard slog filled with customers wanting grave pots, wreaths, table centres, bouquets, bespoke Christmas decorations as well as off-the-shelf decorations and gifts. I’m not complaining, it’s tiring but we do love it at Christmas, it’s just that there isn’t time to fit anything else in.

I thought about the brooches I’d made for this week’s post (instructions begin at Blue’s paw print). Surely straight-talking businesswoman Kim wasn’t turning whimsical on me. In any case, they’d be too quirky for Gillian, not quirky enough for Jaz and who knows who’d like them in Teacups! It was a bad idea.

‘What did you have in mind?’ I asked, with trepidation.

‘I thought we could get that chocolatier in Ash Lane Farm to create something bespoke for each of them.’

This was a good idea, although I did think we were leaving it a bit late to start a conversation with him. Still, he’d probably agree, just like we would in Tulips, and then work like crazy until late on Christmas Eve getting everyone’s orders sorted, fit for nothing except a big sleep the following day.

So I left the chocolate idea with Kim to pursue and I focused on making sure we were geared up for the Christmas rush and, more urgently, focused on getting these birds finished for you.

salvagebox.co.uk - Blue's pawWhether you like this little bird design or you’d prefer something a bit more bird-like(!) making these brooches from scraps of fabric is quite simple.

I used a disc cut from an old margarine tub to provide the shape and strength. This is a better option than cardboard that can deteriorate, especially if it’s on a coat in the rain. I made sure the tub was scrupulously clean before I started.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

The plain fabric is from my fat quarter stash but the patterned scraps are, of course, from my scraps jar. I drew round a milk carton lid to get the plastic circles that were about 4cm in diameter.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

You will also need a small amount of stuffing and a brooch bar for each one.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

I cut out 8cm circles of the plain fabric for the background (I figured that double the diameter of the plastic disc would mean it would cover the back too). I attached my scraps to Bondaweb and cut out the bird bodies and wings before ironing them onto the middle of the plain circles (follow the instructions on the packet of Bondaweb).

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Then for each one I stitched round the body and wings (not essential because the Bondaweb is holding the pieces in place).

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Each one really came to life when I added the eye (French knot), beak (satin stitch) and legs (back stitch).

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Then I knotted my thread and did a row of running stitch fairly close to the edge, all the way round.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

I gathered it up, popping the stuffing then the plastic disc into position.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

It’s best to pull it tight (without flexing the disc) and tie the two ends of the thread together with a double knot.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

I had a small gap so I covered it with a piece of fabric that I’d applied Bondaweb to. Then I stitched on the brooch bar.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

And here we are…

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

I decided to try a magnet instead of the brooch bar for the yellow one so that’s another use for your tube of magnets if you’d decided to splash out on them for the bottle top fridge magnets or the string tin. They are designed for wedding corsages and come in two pieces – a chunky piece of metal that you attach to the corsage (in this case I’ve glued it to the plastic disc) and a smaller piece that you place on the inside of the piece of clothing so the brooch or corsage will ‘stick’ to it on the outside. Ingenious.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

I decided on a bigger piece of fabric for the back of this one. It neatens if off and helps to prevent the magnet from being pulled off the disc through its incredible attraction to the other little metal piece.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

And here they all are…

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

I decided that I’d use the yellow one on my magnetic board after all.

Make a brooch from fabric scraps and plastic from an old margarine tub

Tips:

  • Try to get your design in the very middle of the background piece.
  • When you’ve gathered your background material into a circle and inserted your stuffing and disc, try to pull the ends of your thread tight before you knot it. I didn’t get mine quite tight enough on the yellow on so it’s not as neat as the other two.
  • Sew your brooch bar on above the centre (as I have done) and it will sit better when it’s being worn.

Salvaged Items:

  • Plastic margarine tub
  • Fabric scraps

This is an easy gift for friends who like ‘homemade’ but can’t make it themselves. You could change the design for a heart, star or an initial – actually, the possibilities are endless.

If you have a go then please post a photo on Facebook so we can all see. In the meantime, have a good week and I’ll see you all again next week.

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