Wednesday, 27 May 2015

How To: Make a Folk Flower Brooch from Felt & Fabric

Time for another tutorial! Hurrah!

Today I'm sharing an easy how to for making a pretty floral brooch from felt and fabric.

This project originally appeared in docrafts Creativity magazine, last spring, using fabric from this bundle and co-ordinating felt from the same range. I love this little trio of flowers! They're simple but sweet and would be a great way to add a pop of colour to a spring/summer outfit.

I've written the instructions for making the brooch in the colours pictured (red flowers, green leaves, yellow background, dark blue fabric) but you can of course use any colours you fancy! Just swap my suggested colours for yours when following the instructions. Any small print fabric would work well for the background or you could use a plain fabric or another shade of felt instead. Make sure your chosen fabric/felt constrasts nicely with the colours you've chosen for your flowers and leaves, so they stand out clearly.


You will need:

- the templates provided at the bottom of this post
- small pieces of red and green felt for the flowers and leaves
- yellow felt to frame and back the brooch
- dark blue fabric for the background
- sewing thread to match the fabric (dark blue) and all three shades of felt (red, green, yellow)
- green embroidery thread (floss) to match the leaves
- brooch clasp
- sewing scissors
- sewing needles and pins
- iron-on fusible interfacing, iron and ironing board
- optional: tracing paper

To make the brooch:

1. Use the templates provided to cut out three red felt flowers and two green felt leaves.

2. Add iron-on fusible interfacing to the back of your chosen fabric, following the manufacturer's instructions. This will help prevent the edges of your fabric from fraying. If you're using felt instead of fabric, skip this step.

3. Use the oval template to cut out the fabric piece. For added neatness if you're using a patterned fabric, cut your oval template from tracing paper so you can carefully position the template on exactly the bit of pattern you want to cut out.

4. Pin the fabric oval onto a piece of yellow felt. Then use matching dark blue sewing thread to sew the fabric in place, sewing around the edge of the oval with running stitch.

5. Sew the leaves and flowers to the oval as pictured using running stitch and matching green and red sewing threads.

6. Cut a piece of green embroidery thread and separate half the strands (so for six-stranded thread use three strands). Switch to a larger needle if needed and use backstitch to embroider the flower stems. Sew the straight central stem first then sew the other two stems.

Tip: when stitching the two outer stems, I started from the bottom point of each flower then stitched down towards the leaves.

7. Cut the brooch shape out from the yellow backing felt, leaving a narrow yellow border around the fabric oval (as pictured). Then use the oval you’ve just cut out as a template to cut a matching oval from more yellow felt.

8. Turn over the second oval and sew a brooch clasp to the back using a double thickness of yellow sewing thread.

9. Place the front and back of your brooch together (right sides facing outwards) and sew them together with more yellow thread, sewing a line of running stitch flush with the edge of the fabric oval. Finish your stitching neatly at the back.

Click here to view the template sheet, make sure you're viewing it full size then print it at 100%.

This tutorial is for personal use only: you can use it to stitch as many brooches as you want for yourself or as gifts, but please don't make any for sale. You may borrow a photo 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 post or share the pattern itself on your site. Thanks!

Fancy some more free patterns? Check out my tutorial archive

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Re-Starting a Neglected Project: a Woodland Cushion!

If you're anything like me you've got several works-in-progress that are not so much "in progress" as they are "massively neglected and currently shoved in a box or under the bed gathering dust".  

One of the downsides of blogging is that you've got a public record of exactly when you started all those projects that are sitting round your house still not finished. It can be quite embarrassing to realise just how many months and years have past since you first started making X item with huge enthusiasm... doubly so when you re-start a project and have to blog about it again while admitting just how long you've gone without working on it!

Waaaay back in 2012 I bought some yarn for making a new project. About a year later (Sept 2013) I finally bought the knitting pattern I wanted and started knitting: using the Woodsy Association knitting patterns from Tiny Owl Knits (cute wristlets decorated with woodland animals) to make a knitted patchwork cushion for my mum.

Blogging about my plans for the project, I wrote: "I've got no idea how long it'll take me to get the whole cushion made (I have told my mum that this is a present for her "at some point", could be Christmas or her birthday or maybe even Christmas next year!) but I'm really looking forward to seeing it develop and to stitching all those cute little animal faces" 

Aaaaand here it is, May 2015, and I've really not made much progress. Oops. I am a terrible daughter!

I've (finally) bought the missing shade of yarn that was out of stock when I placed my original order in 2012...

... knitted a few "squares" (they're not actually square but that's what I'm calling them in my head so shhh)...

... and (mostly) finished stitching the first pair of animals...

 ... but there's still a long way to go.

So, I'm resolving to get this finished by Christmas 2015 at the very latest so my mama can finally have some woodland cuteness for her sofa. Wish me luck!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Decluttering and Treasure-Hunting

I am sloooooowly recovering from a horrid bug which has left me feeling quite wobbly and rather foggy-brained... and without a lot of energy for working or making (or blogging). 

It is very frustrating not being able to charge through my To Do list like normal. In the meantime, to make myself useful I have been doing lots of time-consuming-but-not-terribly-complicated tasks like properly filing stacks of paperwork and tidying up boxes of supplies in my studio. My workspace is going to be wonderfully well organised by the time I get back to my regular working schedule!

I've also slowly been doing some more decluttering. After struggling to finish my Less 365 Project last year I've been amazed by the amount of stuff I've managed to clear out this spring (or, at least, add to the pile in the corner of my room that'll be getting charity-shopped once I've recovered from this bug!).

I've been keeping a list (because I am a giant nerd and I love a nice list) and have decluttered 73 things so far - some big (cushions, double-bed sized blankets, stacks of magazines, etc) and some small (brooches, toys from Christmas crackers, fridge magnets, etc). As always, it feels pretty fantastic to realise "I don't need/want/love this anymore!" and to be finding new homes for all these unwanted things.

As well as sorting through my own stuff, I've been helping my mum sort through boxes of old books, toys and trinkets tucked away in the attic years ago. These boxes are like timecapsules and going through them has totally transported me back to my childhood.

I couldn't resist taking some photos of these She-Ra: Princess of Power books - I read them sooooo many times! My sisters and I were big fans of She-Ra (and Jem & the Holograms, of course).

It's been fun revisiting these old favourites, but also weird re-discovering things I loved as a kid but had totally forgotten about until this week. Like these guys:


Keypers! Remember them? They came with a key and had a "secret" compartment to keep your treasures safe. Such fun.

My sisters and I each had one of these - mine was the snail. Here are the "treasures" I had hidden inside when it got packed away many years ago...

I'm rather looking forward to sorting through the rest of the boxes in the attic - I wonder what other long-forgotten treasures we'll find?

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Springtime Stroll through Henley-on-Thames

After a couple of very busy Nice Days Out, I wanted something a bit more chilled out for my next day off... so I had a lovely long lie-in then took myself and a good book off to Henley-on-Thames.

Henley is quite local to me, but is one of those places I'd never been to before starting on my Nice Day Out trips. Last time I visited it was winter, the river was very high and there was actually a lot of flooding a few days later. This time round spring was in full bloom and the whole town was looking rather lovely. The perfect backdrop for a relaxing day off!

I started at the River and Rowing Museum, which is free to visit with an Art Pass (and how I found out about the Art Pass in the first place - hurrah for museum websites that actually tell you about available discounts).

I've explored the museum before, but wanted to go back to see their current exhibitions - wonderful illustrations by Arthur Rackham, some gorgeous handmade furniture, and a fab collection of photos of artists and craftspeople working in their studios. All good stuff! It was also a joy to revisit the delightful Wind in the Willows exhibit where the story is told with charming models.

I then walked along the river towards the town centre...


... enjoying all the riverside sights, including a nesting swan complete with "do not disturb" sign!


After lunch I strolled around the town, admiring the old buildings and the assortment of colourful front doors, and popping into lots of bookshops, art galleries and and charity shops along the way.


I also called in at the Old Fire Station...


... which has been converted into a gallery space, then hosting the local Craft Guild's spring exhibition. Always nice to be able to squeeze in a bit of craftiness to my days out!

Finally, I retired to a cafe with my book for a leisurely cuppa and tasty piece of cake before heading homewards.


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