Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up in a few days, and while I certainly don’t celebrate by drinking my weight in ounces of beer, I certainly do celebrate by wearing a little green and baking Irish Soda bread. (I’m working on a dairy-free recipe for this year– I’ll share it if it turns out tasty!) We also usually bake a batch of St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes (Recipe here. Note: not in the least bit Irish, but tasty nonetheless) because that was what my husband’s family did to celebrate the holiday. This year I wanted to make something fun to wear and so I made a fabric yoyo brooch out of Celtic knot fabric and some cute green polka-dotted fabric. I really wanted Shamrocks, however I waited until March to buy fabric and apparently if you want good St. Patrick’s Day fabric you’ve got to get it early. Really! Who’d ‘a thunk?! At the very least, you should be able to find some cute green fabric in the not-Saint-Patrick’s-Day section of the fabric shop if they have sold out of their holiday selection.
And so I bring you the St. Patrick’s Day Brooch Tutorial
Time needed for brooch: between 1-2 hours depending on your sewing speed, plus drying time for the glue.
- 2 coordinating fabrics. One for the yoyos and another for the button. (1/4 yard will make 3 brooches)
- felt in a color that coordinates with your main fabric.
- 2 yoyo makers. I used the Clover extra-large yoyo maker to make the 2 3/8 inch finished yoyo, and the Clover jumbo yoyo maker to make the 3 1/2 inch finished yoyo.
- a small needle.
- quilting thread that coordinates with your fabric/felt.
- upholstery thread. This doesn’t need to match anything because it won’t be seen. Note: If you don’t have upholstery thread and don’t want to buy any, you can technically use a heavy-duty quilting thread. I like the upholstery thread because it’s thick and doesn’t ever break on me when I’m making the yoyos.
- a cover button-making kit in the size of your choice. You can find this in the notions section of your sewing store. Note: your button needs to be at least 3/4 inch to cover the hold in the yoyo. I used 1 & 1/8 inch size.
- scissors. Trimming shears and small embroidery-style scissors for trimming threads in tight places.
- an invisible marking pen, chalk, or some other means of marking your fabric for cutting.
- a circle template in various sizes. Note: you can use household things like mugs, etc to trace the circles. If you want a fancy-schmancy circle template like mine, you can get them in the drafting section of office supply stores like Staples.
- a bar pin. I think I used a 1-inch size.
- quick dry tacky glue. I like Aileen’s.
Step 1: Place your main fabric into the yoyo maker, following the instructions that came with the yoyo maker. Trim excess fabric as directed.
Step 2: Cut enough upholstery thread to go around the yoyo maker twice, plus a few inches. (You will be doubling up on the thread, so this is an accurate measurement.) Thread your needle so that the thread is doubled and make a secure knot at the end. Note: you will be using a doubled thread for all sewing in this project.
Step 3: Sew around your yoyo according to the directions that come with the yoyo maker.
Step 4: Once you have followed the directions to sew around the yoyo, follow the directions for removing it from the template. Pull the thread to create the yoyo, straighten it out so that it’s even (the hole should be in the middle and have an even distribution of pleats) and make a few secure knots, then cut the thread off.
Step 5: Repeat process with the other size yoyo maker.
This is what your yoyos should look like. Set them aside for now, you won’t need them for awhile.
Step 6: Prepare to make the button. Remove all the pieces from your button-making kit. You should have a flexible rubber piece, a hard plastic piece, a button front and a button back. Trace a circle on your fabric that is slightly larger than your flexible rubber piece and cut it out. (Some kits come with tracing templates.) You want the fabric to wrap around to the back of the button with enough length to cover all the edges, but not so long that it bunches up in the back.
Step 7: Center the fabric over the front of the button and press down into the flexible rubber piece. Make sure that your fabric has the right side out, and check to be sure that the fabric will fold over the back of the button and cover the sides but doesn’t bunch up a lot in the center. If either of these happen, cut a new fabric circle and start over.
Step 8: Make the button! Place the button back on the button, making sure all the fabric is tucked neatly inside. Then take the hard plastic piece and center it over the back of the button and push down really hard. (It helps if you are standing.) Sometimes you might hear a snap as it pushes into place, though that isn’t always the case. Your button is made when the button back is pressed down securely and evenly into the button front. If it isn’t even or feels unstable, then push again with the plastic piece until it is in place. Admire your button!
Step 9: Bring back your stack of yoyos and place the button in the center of the top hole. Thread your needle with a doubled strand of upholstery thread and begin sewing. (You want a long piece of thread for this step. About 16 inches of doubled thread.) Go up through the center of the larger yoyo, coming from the bottom, then through to the top where the hole is, then continuing through the bottom of the smaller yoyo and through the top where the hole is. Continue your thread through the loop in the back of the button, and then continue sewing through the layers of yoyos until you come out of the back. Do this 6 times. (Make sure to keep everything tight/secure, especially your button. If you are having trouble seeing the loop in the back of your button, push down the pleats in the top yoyo to peek inside.) Once you have completed this process 6 times, make a knot in the back of the yoyo but don’t cut off your thread! Pull the thread up through the layers again as if you were completing the previous step. Place your needle through the loop in the button once again, but do not sew down through the yoyos. Cut the needle from the thread so you still have long thread tails remaining.
Step 10: Wrap the thread tails around the base of the button and make a tight knot. Then wrap the other way and make a knot. Do this a few times and end with a double knot. This is just reinforcing the knots in your work. Make sure to pull really tight!
Step 11: Using a small pair of scissors, get slightly underneath your button and clip the thread tails. Make sure not to cut into your yoyo pleats! You just want to hide the thread tails behind the button here.
Step 12: Determine the size of the felt backing. You want to make sure you adequately cover the back of the brooch, but you don’t want the felt to go all the way to the edges. I like to have about half and inch of fabric showing around the outside. Trace your circle and cut it out.
This is how the felt and bar will be assembled on the back. Make sure that your tracing side is hidden if you still have any lines on the felt. Also get a good idea of where you would like your pin to be situated. Also, MAKE SURE YOUR PIN WORKS! I once made the mistake of sewing a pin back without checking the pin and lo and behold, the mechanism that normally allows the pin to open was stuck closed.
Step 13: Sew the pin back to the felt using your matching (doubled) thread. I like to sew through the holes on each side of the pin about 3-4 times so that it is secure. If you sew through the holes in a parallel-fashion your pin back will be wobbly, so sew through them the same way I have. Make sure to do a secure ending knot on the side of the felt that will be facing the fabric. (Not the side that the pin is on.)
Step 14: Put a thin layer of tacky glue over the center of the back of your yoyo stack. Make sure you don’t go father than your felt will cover, in fact I like to keep a nice margin so that it doesn’t seep out the sides when you place your felt down. Place the felt down and push so that the felt and fabric stick together. You do not need to wait for the glue to dry, begin the next step immediately.
Step 15: Thread your needle once again with your matching thread and knot it. (Make sure to double the thread.) Pull up the felt slightly so you can hide your knot on the back side of the felt and push your needle through the felt just slightly in from the edge of the felt. (You can see how much space I left in the next step.) Don’t pull too hard or your knot could pull through the felt.
Step 16: Create a short, running stitch around the outside of your felt, sewing it only to the fabric on the back of the yoyo. Make sure that your needle only goes through the felt and the single layer of fabric on the back, you do not want to put your needle through the entire large yoyo during this step. You should be able to do this easily if you push your needle a little way in, angle it, and then come back up through the fabric and felt. Complete the short running stitch all the way around the yoyo until you come back to your starting place. Make a small knot in the felt with your needle and thread but do not clip the thread. Run your needle underneath the felt until you come out underneath the pin. Make a small knot under the pin. Then, clip your thread close to the needle so that you leave long tails. Double knot the tails so that the knot is tucked under the bar pin, then clip your threads so that they don’t show. Now all you have to do is wait for the glue to dry and you are finished!
You can wear your brooch in lots of ways– clip it to a hat, bag, you shirt, or a cardigan, or on the outer loop of your dog’s collar so that he can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, too!
Have you made a brooch using my tutorial? I’d love to see it! Be sure to share a link below so I can see what you made. And as always, if something isn’t clear in my instructions please don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll help you as best I can! Enjoy!