Lovely for springtime, or as a sweet gift all year round! You will need:
- two pairs of buttons, one pair slightly larger than the other
- some colourful felt. Any felt will do for the decorative detail but thicker/stiffer felt is better for the main butterfly shape - eg acrylic felt available from most craft shops or thick wool felt. I've used acrylic felt for mine. If you're worried about your felt not being sturdy enough, just add an extra layer between the front and back piece.
- matching sewing thread
- a brooch back or safety pin
First cut out your pattern pieces - if you print the pattern sheet (see end of this post) at 100% your brooches will be the same as mine, approx 6cms across, just print it larger to get larger butterflies and to be able to use bigger buttons. You need one body piece in black or brown, and two colourful wing shapes. All the pieces I've cut out for my "in progress" shots are brown as I decided to use the pattern to make some moths.
Next choose your buttons to match - again, mine are brown to suit my moth but you can have lots of fun playing around with colours.
Use your buttons as a template to cut small circles of contrasting felt. Hold the button against the felt and cut round it leaving a narrow border which will "frame" your button. Once you've cut one circle this way you can use it as the template to cut a matching one for the other button. Repeat for the second pair of buttons. Lay all your pieces onto the wing shape to check you're happy with your design.
Using matching thread, sew on the narrow body shape and the felt circles (using contrasting thread for the circles can work quite nicely in adding an extra bit of decorative detail).
One by one, position each button as close to the centre of its felt circle as possible and sew it on securely (this is much quicker if you use a double thickness of thread).
Now take your second wing shape, and sew on your brooch back or safety pin. To attach a safety pin neatly just cut a small rectangle of felt to match your brooch, place it over the pin (make sure the part which you use for pinning remains free!) and sew it securely in place. I used to do this all the time when I first started making brooches, the one pictured is one of my early felt flower brooches.
Finally, put the front and back pieces together and sew them together with matching thread - either with plain stitches or whip stitching around the edges. This is easiest if you start at the side of one wing instead of near the middle. And that's it! Easy, huh? Why not make lots and have a whole group of butterflies fluttering across your sweater...
Of course, I do love a good design variation ... so here's a way to use this pattern even if you don't have any buttons. Instead of a button with a framing circle of felt, cut lots of little circles of felt and layer them - cut the smallest circle first and use this as a template as described above for cutting "framing" circles.
Sew on the narrow body piece and then use contrasting thread to attach the circles. I held each trio of circles in place and stitched through all three at once starting in the middle and moving outwards like a spiral.
You can play around with the stitches a little if you like to add some more detail, as I did with the second set of circles.
For extra variations on this design you could try sewing sequins or small beads in the centre of the circles for a bit of sparkle. Then just attach a brooch back or safety pin as before and sew the front and back together and wear your creation with pride!
Double click on the pattern sheet to view it full size and print:
This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it for as many brooches as you like for yourself or as gifts for friends but please don't make any for sale. Please feel free to borrow photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire tutorial on your site. Thanks!
For more crafty goodness, check out my books: Super-Cute Felt and Super-Cute Felt Animals.