Introduction: SewUseful Recycled Sweater Flower Pin / Brooch
This is a fun and quick project with lots of personality! It makes a great accessory -- pin it on your suit or purse, or even pin it to your hair (with bobby pins, of course!). If you forgot to get your friend a present for her birthday, this will make a quick gift.
Use your accidentally-shrunken sweater or one that has one too many moth holes.
This is a Sew Useful Contest entry, so there's also one for sale in my Etsy shop. Here's my listing: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6472730
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Step 1: Materials/ Supplies
- One (or just part of one, like a sleeve) Wool or other animal fiber (angora, cashmere) sweater. Please note that sweaters made from cotton or synthetic fibers will not felt. Sweaters made to be machine washable also will not work. The label will tell you if it's machine wash or hand wash. The one I used here is a moth-eaten cashmere sweater.
- Matching sewing thread
- Sewing needle
- brooch pin (available at any craft store)
- Scratch paper or cardboard (a cereal box works great)
- Fabric glue (optional)
Step 2: Felting Your Sweater
Wash your sweater in hot water in your washing machine with detergent and a couple pairs of jeans to help agitate it. The hot water, detergent and agitation will cause the fibers in the sweater to bond and lock into each other. If your washer has an option for you to adjust the water level, then put it in the lowest level possible. If your washer is plain like mine, it doesn't really matter.
Once the washing is complete, you will notice that not only has the sweater shrunk, but the fibers of the sweater has matted together and that the sweater appears more fuzzy. If the fibers still don't look bonded and matted, you may have to wash your sweater again so that you can get a fairly tight fabric, and your sweater has shrunken considerably. Once you've felted your sweater, you will be able to cut into it without any fraying or unraveling.
Compare the 2 flowers below. One is more felted than the other.
If your sweater is not felting, then your sweater is probably the wrong kind of fiber, or you have a "washable" wool.
Step 3: Drawing and Cutting Your Petals
Draw a flower petal onto your cardboard and cut it out. The petal can be any shape or size you want, or you can model yours from the one in the photo. The petal pattern I drew is 1.5" at its widest, and it's about 2" long.
Then using your cardboard as a template, cut out 5 petals (or more if you'd like!). Don't worry if you don't draw or cut well -- it makes the end product more fluid and organic looking. To make the petal more symmetrical, fold the cardboard in half and then draw half of the petal on the folded edge. When you cut it out, you will end up with a symmetrical petal.
Step 4: Sewing the Petals
With your petal correct side facing up, pinch together the flat end of the petal (the part that is at the center of the flower) and lightly sew the pinched area. Repeat for all the petals.
Then freehand cut a circle a little smaller than a quarter and sew the petals onto the circle. You'll want to make sure that you stitches on the right side of of the flower are as invisible as possible. It doesn't really matter if you can see the stitches in the back because it will be covered up later.
Step 5: Attaching the Brooch Pin
Once the petals have been sewn on, flip your flower over and sew on the brooch pin. Be careful not to accidentally sew the petals where you don't want stitches to be shown.
Step 6: Finishing and Embellishing.
Add sequins and/or beads to the front of the flower for the center. This not only adds additional pizazz, but it will hide where you attached the petals together.
Optional step: If you'd like some extra stability, cut a quarter-sized circle from some cardstock. Then, using the brooch pin as a guide, cut 2 small notches at either end and insert over the pin heads as shown in the photos. Glue circle to the pin using fabric glue or a hot glue gun.
To cover up your stitches and make the back neater and more attractive, cut a circle, about quarter-sized, or slightly larger (if you're doing the optional step). Using the brooch pin as a guide, cut 2 small notches at either end and insert over the pin as shown in the photos. Glue or sew this onto the back of the flower. If you sew it, make sure your stitches don't show up on the other side.