Tuesday 13 March 2012

How To: Make a Felt Brooch

Today's How To is How To Make a Felt Brooch. Just some tips and ideas based on how the creative process works for me. 

  • 100% wool felt, or wool blend felt
  • DMC or Anchor embroidery floss in a variety of colours to match and compliment your felt
  • Small, sharp, pointed scissors like those used for embroidery
  • Baking paper
  • HB or 2B pencil
  • Paper scissors
  • Bobble-headed pins
  • Crewel needle for hand-sewing
  • Brooch pins
  • Hobby fill (optional)
  • Trims, buttons, ribbons, ric rac, fabric scraps etc. (optional)
  • Ideas for designs (not really materials, but still essential!)

1. Decide on your design. (Ummm...a bit obvious but you have to start somewhere, right?) For the example, I am going to do a tea cup and saucer.

2. Get your design on paper. (Not so easy for me!)
 If you are really clever and can handle a pencil and paper, sketch your design. If you are not - get your significant other to sketch it for you!! (I do this sometimes.) Or you can find a clip art that has the basic shape, and use your baking paper to trace the bits you like and manipulate the bits you don't like. [Make sure of course that you don't just trace a clip art as is. That would violate copyright.] You can trace over your own drawing as many times as you need until you get the shape you like. Baking paper is cheaper than trace and more manageable for pinning to the felt later on.
If the design has several layers (e.g. an owl with a white and a black layer for eyes), make sure you trace each element that needs to be a different colour out separately. If there are a lot of bits, it helps to write inside the shape what colour it is to be.


 A couple images from Shutterstock. While I prefer the style of the cup on the left, the handle looks a bit fiddly. So I think I will do a combination of the two. So I do a trace of the elements that I like of each, and put it all together.

Although I could do this design in layers, I think I will cut it out in just one colour, and use embroidery to create the lines.

3. Cut out your design with your PAPER SCISSORS. Yep. As tempting as it may be to just pin the design to the felt and cut it out with the sharp embroidery scissors, DON'T DO IT! If your Mum ever did any sewing at all, I am sure she would have made sure you knew never to touch her fabric scissors. Treat the embroidery scissors the same. Please, just trust me. ;)

4. Pin the shapes to the felt.  Make sure you have the right bits pinned to the right colour felt...just sayin'...

Some other brooches ready to sew!
5. Use your SMALL, SHARP, POINTED SCISSORS to cut out the shapes. I recommend cutting two of the main (biggest) shape out, as it adds strength to the brooch. The small scissors are essential for this, as they are able to get into the small areas more easily for a sharper shape.

6. Now just stop for a minute and THINK. Think about which bits need to be sewn to which bits in which order. This sounds simplistic, but it is important, trust me. Think about where you want knots to be hidden. Think about where you want trims, such as ric rac or ribbon, or buttons or even fabric scraps or embroidery embellishment. Plan it all out before you sew anything. (Hint: sew the brooch pin onto the second piece of main body piece that you are going to use for the back. And check before you sew that you have it the right way up!)

7. Now thread your needle with embroidery thread and go for it with the sewing. This step assumes you have some prior knowledge of hand sewing. If you don't, please make use of your local library and get some books out on basic embroidery. Or Google it.

You can use blanket stitch to join the main two shapes together (such as in the cloud below), or running stitch if it looks more appropriate (see the strawberry). In the tea cup example, I actually used stem stitch. Other stitches that I have used here include seeding stitch for the strawberry, straight stitch for the sprinkles and stem stitch for the patty case on the cupcake, french knots for the buttons on the dress, and satin stitch for the tea in the cup. I generally use two strands of embroidery thread, but you can alter that depending on how bold you want the lines to be.

You can put hobby fill inside if you want it to be puffy (like my cloud and hot air balloon). Let your imagination run wild. 

(Please do not copy my designs, this tutorial is intended for inspirational and instructional purposes only. You can buy my felt brooches here.)


  1. these are so cute!! i picked up some felt from the craft store recently... mainly because it was 25 cents, and i thought i'd figure out something to do with it... guess i just did :)

    1. Thanks! I get a real buzz out of making them. Plus, with two young kids, it is great to have a project that you can whip up in an hour. :) Have fun, and I'd love to see what you come up with!


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