This is a slightly unusual "how to" as it's not just a tutorial for making the flower brooch shown in the pictures but more a beginner's guide to making things with felt, which will cover lots of things I get asked by my blog readers and customers who buy packs of felt squares from my shops.
If you're new to felt crafting, I hope you find it useful and it inspires you to get sewing!
The first step when designing a brooch or anything else is to get doodling. You don't have to be a great artist to design brooches that are your own original creation (and copying other peoples designs is never cool).
I decided to make a flower brooch so I started out drawing lots of different flower shapes.
Once you get a rough design that you like, the next step is to turn that doodle into a pencil drawing of how you want your brooch to look. I often draw and redraw things half a dozen times before I get them how I want them. For this design I wanted a symmetrical flower so I used rulers and circle templates to help me keep the petals the same lengths.
When you've got a sketch that you're happy with, use a black fine liner to draw in the final lines over your pencil scribblings. I added an extra circle and some detailing on the outer petals at this point as I thought the flower needed a bit of extra detail. Never be afraid to tweak your design as you go along or to try out two different versions to test how they will look!
The black pen lines help finalise your design but they are also a great help with the next step - tracing over your drawing to create your pattern pieces. Take a piece of plain white paper, place it over your drawing and trace each shape involved in your design. When you've drawn all your pattern pieces, cut them out.
Now you have the fun part of choosing colours! You could do a drawing of your design and colour it in to plan out colour combinations beforehand but I think there's nothing quite like seeing the real live felt colours together. I wanted to use satsuma orange felt as an accent colour in my flower, but when I cut the pieces out and laid them on top of each other as I'd designed I realised I wanted more orange visible, so I changed the design slightly.
Cutting out small fiddly felt pieces can be tricky, so take your time! I recommend buying a pair of embroidery scissors, the small blades make it much easier to cut out small shapes.
Pin larger shapes in place, and hold very small pieces in place against the felt between your thumb and fingers while you cut around the pattern. I always roughly cut off any excess felt around the pattern piece to make it easier to cut round fiddly shapes.
Now it's time to sew your pieces together. There are lots of guides to different stitches on the internet... but some things to think about are how the stitches will add to the pattern and texture of your design, and whether you want to use matching thread (thread the same colour as the felt you're stitching) or contrasting thread (to create extra decorative details).
I stitched my flower onto a backing piece of black felt. The wool blend felt I use and sell in my shops is lovely and soft but this softness means an extra layer for added sturdiness is sometimes needed.
Having finished the front of your brooch, you need a matching back piece to sew your clasp to and to hide your stitches. Use your brooch as a template to cut out a piece that exactly matches.
Turn the backing piece over (so the side which will be the back of your finished brooch is facing upwards) and use a double thickness of sewing thread to sew on a brooch clasp. If you don't have any clasps you can use a safety pin. Use a small piece of felt sewn over the fixed bar of the pin and a crisscross pattern of stitches to sew the safety pin in place - I've used bright felt and thread here to show this clearly:
Finally, sew the front and back pieces of your brooch together (I used a running stitch in black thread around the black edge) and finish your stitches neatly at the back. Then start wearing your brooch and start planning more fun felt things to make with your stash!
P.S. is there anything I've missed from this beginner's guide? Let me know in the comments :)
P.P.S. Making stuff from your own patterns is great, but if you'd like to sew the flower featured in this tutorial fear not! Double click on this image to print out the pattern pieces (print at 100% to make a flower the same size as mine). I think this design is a great one for experimenting with colours and the use of different stitches.
This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it for as many flower 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.