Learning the Skills

Bring back the Brooch

Wearing a pin, traditionally called a brooch, is an opportunity to wear a small piece of art close to your heart.  Pins were part of men's and women's wardrobes in earlier days.  They were used to secure capes and other garments.  While functional, pins could be quite elaborate especially for the wealthy. 
     Today, the pin is mostly decorative.  More than any other jewelry piece, the pin can demonstrate the wearer's aesthetic sense of color, shape, texture and overall beauty.  A pin or pin and scarf combination, takes an outfit from ho-hum to smashing.      
     Pins communicate.  Some pins communicate membership or achievement; other pins communicate interests, such as an interest in cats.  Decorative pins also communicate the wearer's personality and her sense of humor. 
     Let's bring pins and brooches back to life:  in an economy where many of us have to watch every penny, a little pin is an inexpensive way to add sparkle and interest to every day life.  So, add a little art to your every day by wearing a pretty pin.  There are unlimited choices in every conceivable medium.  Check out pins and brooches on

List of Most Common Tools for Making Pin Brooches

green and gold heart pin brooch, etsy.

1. Sewing needle (general and beading)
2. Scissors
3. Sewing Machine
4. Turning stick
5. Iron

As you can see, there are not many tools required to make fabric pin brooches.


What Else Can be Made Besides Pin Brooches?

1.  Add a hanging cord and make it an ornament.

2.  Applique it onto a quilt or clothing item for a OOAK look.

3.  Pin it to a hat.

4.  Make a pocket on the back for special messages to the wearer.

5.  Make it bigger, add a backing with an opening on the top, add a strap and make it a purse.

6.  What ideas can you think of?  

Top Supplies Needed to Make Pin Brooches

wool needle punch.  etsy, jewelry. arts and crafts.

The supplies category is endless.  It is only limited by your imagination.  Here is a beginners list of supplies.

1.  Fabric (cotton is easiest to work with, but many fabrics can be used)
2.  Thread
3.  Beads
4.  Metal, sewable, pin backs
5.  Narrow ribbon to cover the pin back
6.  White Craft glue
7.  Found objects such as shells, wooden pieces, pine cones, little stones
8.  Embroidery threads
9. Light weight batting and/or sew-on interfacing

The above list is just the basics.  Now here is a list of other supplies you may want to use.

1.   Fabric paints
2.   Fabric markers
3.   Any type of bead 
4.   Buttons
5.   Lace
6.   Decorative fibers and threads
7.   Decorative ribbons
8.   Fabric scraps
9.   Metal scraps
10. Fray check
11. Found objects such as washers and screws, keys etc
12. Wire
13. Charms
14. Polymer Clay
15. The skies the limit, just use your imagination!

Ideas for Making T-Shirt Quilts

tshirt quilt.  arts and crafts. quilts.

Making T-shirt quilts is a good way to use the many T-shirts your children have accumulated throughout their childhoods.  Making a T-shirt quilt is easy.  Here are some ideas:
1.  Select the T-shirts that you want to include in the quilt
2.  Cut off the sleeves and the back.  Make sure that you preserve as much of the T-shirt material as possible.
3.  Use lite or medium weight IRON ON interfacing.  Cut interfacing larger then needed, so roughly into 14 by 14 inch squares.
4.  Iron the interfacing onto the back of the T-shirt image.  Make sure you center the design as best you can.  Also, designs may have to be adjusted because you don't want to include the collar into the quilt.  So, you might not be able to center each design completely.
5.  Turn your design right side up.  Using a rotary cutter and a 12.5 by 12.5 inches square ruler, cut each design into a 12.5 inch square block.  Most designs will fit into 12.5 inch square.  The finished size of your T-shirt block will be 12 inches square  after you sew the lattice onto the blocks.
6.  Lattice can be sewn on to each T-shirt block in the usual manner. 
7.  It takes 35 12.5 inch square T-shirt blocks to make a twin sized bed quilt.

Creative Ideas for Pin broochs and Necklaces

bark jewelry.  natural product, etsy,

I like to have fun with my creations.  One of the nice things about small items such as pin broochs and jewelry is that you can experiment with a variety of materials.  I like to use found objects such as metal washers, plastic pieces and best of all, items from nature.  Almost anything will work, but you have to consider the fragility of the object.  For example, I love to use tree bark.  I have made necklaces using bark as the focal piece.  I bead a chain for the necklace and often add beaded fringe.  Bark can be fragile and will break if not reinforced.  So after I poke holes in my bark (usually with a needle) and I complete the beaded parts, I usually glue foam on the back.  I hold the foam tightly until the glue dries and then I trim the foam so that it can't be seen from the front.  Not only does foam make the bark strong, it covers up the thread used for beading and makes a nice finished back. 

Where did this idea come from?

arts and crafts.  Christmas pin jewelry, etsy,

I saw a brooch at my local Good Will store.  It was a metal tree painted green with a string of beads attached.  While I didn't care so much for the metal tree, I thought that these wooden trees would make an attractive brooch.  I painted them black and then gold.  I aged them by sanding the edges and then putting a stain on the whole thing.  Then I strung beads on a wire and wrapped them around the tree in attractive ways.  The finishing touch was gluing a pin back on the back.  Simple, but elegant Christmas gift.  Use unexpected colors to add creative interest.  You can buy these wooden trees and other items in my Etsy store. Find jewelry, quilts and arts and crafts.

Tricks of the Trade for quilts and arts and crafts

Tie up loose ends in the details

finishing a brooch pin back.  arts and crafts.  etsy.

You want to make sure that the pin back is functional, but also sturdy and pretty.  I always sew my pin back on to my fabric brooches.  I use sturdy thread and make at least 3 passes in each of the 6 holes.  Then I glue on a little ribbon where I have written my name.

What fabrics work best with pin brooches?

You can use any fabric you want!  Cottons are the easiest and come in the widest range of colors.  pin brooch.  etsy.

You can use any fabric you want!  The only limitation is that the thicker the fabric, the harder it is to sew, turn and embroider.

Here I used denim from my husband's old jeans.  I dyed the jeans in a variety of colors and then sewed them together.  It was harder to turn the little rectangle and keep is square (you can see that it isn't very square). But it makes for a sturdy pin with a unique look.