Easy Fabric Jewelry Ideas

Quilting Arts teamLast week's International Quilt Festival in Houston was a flood of inspiration, as usual. Enough to make me forget about my tired feet–at least for a while.

In the few moments when I'm not presenting, greeting old and new friends, or gaping in awe at the amazing display of quilt artistry all around me, I like to check out what people are wearing. Painted aprons are always popular with attendees, and the Quilting Arts staff is no exception! And if you've never been to Festival, you wouldn't believe some of the crazy-embellished shoes.

But this year I noticed how many people were doing interesting things with fabric, found objects, and mixed-media to make artful cuffs and brooches. Lots of great ideas and they are so much fun to make, wear, and give.

We've seen a lot of brooches, in particular, in the Quilting Arts offices, some from artists submitting their work and others on our editors.

Cloth Paper Scissors Editor Jenn Mason zipped in one day with this little beauty on her lapel.

It's just two separated zippers coiled and looped into a flower shape, held together by stitching and glue.

Studios Editor Cate Coulacos Prato wore one of these that she whipped up out of her husband's jeans (he was done wearing them).
Mary Hettmansperger, who showed us how to combine metal and fiber to make wall hangings in "Quilting Arts TV" season 6, made these easy, contemporary brooches with found objects. She simply layers fabrics in an artful manner then arranges the found objects on top and couches or glues them down.

We watched in awe as Diane Nùňez quickly turned out  a field of these flower embellishments, also on "Quilting Arts TV" Season 6.

Because Diane folds and stitches the fabric over wire mesh strips it's easy to arrange the petals in a variety of shapes, perfect for turning into adornments for yourself as well as your quilts.

Here are Diane's instructions for turning the embellishments into brooches, taken from her article in the June/July issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. You can adapt these instructions to many fabrics, such as cut or torn strips or even ribbons.

Fabric Brooch Instructions 

  1. Roll the fabric strip into a flower shape and anchor it along the bottom by hand sewing, or you can wait until you have completed steps 2-4 and secure the flower shape with glue.
  2. Cut a base from fast2fuse, felt, or leather. If you're using fast2fuse, cover both sides with fabric before cutting. Your base can be a circle, a square, or a freeform base. If desired, zigzag the edges of the base to finish them.
  3. Add a pin back to the base; it can be sewn or glued on. Position it approximately 1/3 of the way down from the top so the brooch will hang properly.
  4. Choose a button with 4 holes. Sew a single seed bead to the top of each of four bugle beads, and thread them through the buttonholes.
  5. Sew or hot glue the flower shape to the base. Use a hot glue gun to attach the button/bead base creation to the bottom of your flower; make sure it's centered and visible.
  6. Pin your brooch onto your clothing and enjoy!

Now, that was easy. If you have other suggestions for how to make easy fabric jewelry, be sure to leave a comment below or upload a picture in our gallery. We'd love to see, and be inspired by, your ideas.

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