Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tutorial- Autumn's Inspiration Leaf Brooch

Wisconsin is nearing it's bare naked tree season. Right now, the trees are glowing with brilliant gold, red, orange and chartruese. Walking through the park near sunset will take your breath away.
Each year about this time I'm inspired to create one of my fast favorites. I love making leave brooches. If you have a few wool scraps and a pin back, some beads and some floss, you can make one too. Its so easy!

I first gather a nice selection of leaves in a variety of shapes and sizes. This requires a brisk walk in the crisp autumn air. I love this step.

I choose a leaf I like and create a pattern.
If the leaf is the right size for a brooch, all you need to do is trace around it. If it's too large, simply draw the shape onto paper. If you aren't perfect, no problem. Nature create so many individuals.

Once my pattern is cut, I add a few design elements. This is helpful as it helps you to picture the final brooch. I often will go to my sketchbook and try a few different designs, thinking about materials and colors. Once I decide on a design, I pin my pattern onto a piece of felt and cut it out.

I use hand dyed felted wool for my brooches and pincushions. You can also use felt, linen is beautiful, a recycled felted sweater that's been felted or just about anything else you like. The rich colors of the dyed wool feels perfect for these brooches.

For this leaf I used brown velvet. I then embroidered leaf veins. I used beads to enhance the design. You can find this leaf brooch in my Etsy shop here.

This version is created using hand-dyed, felted wool. I added layers of wool roving separated by bits and pieces of wool yarn.

Once the felted the wool I add embroidery.
I couched the yarn. (Go back and forth over the yarn to secure it to the foundation fabric).
After the yarn and roving are felted and couched, I added more embroidery stitches to each section. You can find this brooch in my Etsy shop here.

This last leaf brooch is a very simple design. I added yarn and couched it onto the wool. I then added veins to the leaf with 2 strands of cotton floss in fall colors.
To finish the design I added tiny sead beads. On the dark side of the leaf I used metallic, opaque beads. To the lighter side of the leaf I used transparent sead beads with a gold luster finish. Find this brooch here.

To finish all styles, cut a piece of felt the same size as the finished brooch.
Use embroidery floss to join the front of the leaf and the felt together. A simple blanket stitch does the trick.

Add a pin back to the felt. Sew it on. Glue would eventually rip the felt. I like to add a small rectange of felt on top of the pin back to give it a professional look. It also keeps the brooch from flopping over on light weigh fabrics.

If fall leaves aren't your thing, you can create any design on wool the same way to create a brooch of your liking. If you don't have a wide selection of felted wools, try this brooch with felt.
If you use woven fabrics, such as linen or velvet, such as the brown oak lef above, you may need to rfray check the edges or sew the felt backign to the front right sides together and turn. Then sew your pin back on.

I like to use regular pin backs and a domed pin back on occassion. Use whatever you prefer on your brooch.

This brooch used the same materials. I just added bits and pieces of wool to create a little house scene complete with a sweet tree and flowers.
Find it in my Etsy shop here.

Give this a try. Its fun and you can complete this project in a day. How about using a holiday theme? A snowflake design? I once created a birthday brooch with a cake design enhanced with beads. The possibilities are endless!


Bev said...

These are soooo beautiful! Your work is fabulous! I'm still waiting to get my pincushion. I just need to save the money (sad, isn't it-lol). My sick pup has taken all my extra cash. I love your work so much!

Cheery wave from
the broke but happy

Marga said...

Really beautiful! gr.

JennyPennyPoppy said...

Fall is my favourite season and I especially enjoy the changing colours of the leaves. Your leaf pins are beautiful and very nicely stitched! said...

sublime bravo bizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Madtatter80 said...

This looks like such fun I am gonna give it a try!

Dane said...

Splendide, j'adore

Daisy Debs said...

As usual I,m last....but I only just came across your lovely leaves whilst browsing today ! :)

Please can you tell me how you do the little leaf stalks ?

Your embroidery is beautiful ! Thankyou for sharing . Debbie :)

Unknown said...

Thank you for your inspirational posts. I have really enjoyed them

Daisy Debs said...

I want to have a go at making a leaf brooch . How do you stitch the leaf stalks please ?