Sunday, November 29, 2015

How To: Large Felt Flower Brooches

Wanna learn how to make some simple but striking felt flower brooches?


I used to make and sell lots of these layered corsages in my Etsy shop - they're easy to sew but they make a big impact. My tutorial for making them was published last year in Made in Felt magazine and now I'm sharing it with you, hurrah!

The turquoise brooch in the step-by-step photos was made using a sheet of fair trade handmade felt which is very thick and has a lovely texture, but you can use any craft felt for this project as long as it’s not too soft or thin. 100% wool felt or eco-friendly felt (made from recycled plastic bottles) would both work very well - all these flowers were made with recycled eco felt:

You will need:

A 9 x 12 inch sheet of felt - if you’re using thick handmade felt for your flower, you will also need some craft felt in a matching colour
Matching sewing thread and stranded embroidery thread (floss)
Seed beads (or a button)
A brooch clasp
Sewing scissors, needles and pins

Optional: stiff cardboard, a pencil and some scissors

To make the corsages:

1. Use the templates provided to cut out eight small petals, eight medium petals and eight large petals from your chosen felt colour. Also cut out one small circle and two large backing circles. If you’re using handmade felt for your flower, cut the backing circles from ordinary craft felt - handmade felt is lovely but just too thick to use for backing the brooch.

2. Cut a length of embroidery thread and separate half the strands (so for six stranded thread just use three strands). Or, if you prefer, you can use standard sewing thread.

Use the thread to sew four large petals onto one of the backing circles so they form a cross shape as pictured. Sew a line of stitches along each petal, sewing out from the centre of the circle and then back again, filling in the gaps. Make sure you don’t sew over or right up to the edge of the backing circle as you need to be able to sew around this easily later.


3. Add more layers of petals to construct the flower: one more layer of large petals, then two layers of medium petals and finally two layers of small petals. Each layer is made up of four petals stitched in the same cross shape as before, but in a different position to the last so you end up with evenly spaced petals as pictured.

4. Place the small circle piece in the centre of your flower and sew it in position with an X made of two stitches of matching thread.

Then gradually fill the circle with seed beads, starting in the centre and working outwards.  Use a double thickness of sewing thread and one stitch per bead.

5. This step is optional but it will help support the shape of your brooch if you're using very thick felt.

Use the template for the backing circle to draw a circle onto a piece of stiff card. Draw a line about 5mm inside this circle, and cut along that line so you’ve got a circle of card slightly smaller than your original template. Turn your flower over and place the card circle on the back ready for the next step.


6. Sew a brooch clasp onto the second felt backing circle with a double thickness of sewing thread. Place the circle onto the back of the brooch so your card insert (if used) is sandwiched between two circles of felt. Join the edge of the two felt circles together with whip stitch, taking care that the card insert stays in the centre as you sew. Then finish your stitching neatly at the back.


And your brooch is finished!


For a different look, add a button to the centre of your flower instead of a cluster of seed beads. Sew your button in the centre of the petals instead of adding the felt circle and beads in step 4.


To make smaller flowers, print the templates provided at a smaller size or just miss out the first two layers of large petals and sew a smaller circle of beads (using the extra small circle template) or a smaller button in the centre.


The smaller flowers can be used as brooches or haircombs. To make a flower comb, just sew a plastic hair comb to the back instead of a brooch clasp.


These flowers also look great when made from pieces of felted woollen jumpers (sweaters)...

... just as with using handmade felt sheets, if you're using recycled sweater felt for your petals you need to use ordinary craft felt for the backing circles.

Click here to view the template sheet in another tab or window. Make sure you're viewing the image at full size, then print it at 100%.

This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it to make as many flower brooches as you want for yourself or as gifts, but please don't make any for sale. You may borrow a few 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!

Want to make some more felt flowers? Try these felt flower hairpins, this felt flower headband and this tutorial for designing and making your own felt brooches.

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