How to take an iron on embroidered patch and turn it into a brooch.
Who loves a fun embroidered patch? Me! And I’m hoping you do too!
Patches were big in the 70’s as I was growing up. I remember having a cute tiger which my mum sewed to the back pocket of my jeans for me. My brother had a monkey I think which went onto his denim jacket. They were used to decorate and also to repair clothes, sewed on to cover holes or stains.
They’ve made a big come back in recent years and you can pick them up in all sorts of shops now, not just the haberdashery department of a big department store.
A month or 2 ago I was lucky enough to go to a immersive Frida Kahlo art installation (which was really good btw) and, like all good art or museum trips, ended with a gift shop. We caught the show on its final weekend so everything was reduced and I picked up a pack of pretty butterfly patches for next to nothing.
I couldn’t decide what to sew them onto, then it occurred to me it would be nice to turn them into brooches so they can be used on many different garments, bags etc, moved around, removed for laundering etc. I also have a friend who loves butterflies and I thought it would be nice to find a way to make something for her with one of my patches.
How to turn an iron on embroidered patch into a brooch
To turn your embroidered patch into a brooch you will need:
Start by peeling off the backing and then iron your patch onto the felt following the manufacturers directions. If you have any issues The Studio have some great advice on getting a good result: How to iron on a custom patch.
Once it is cool, trim the patch carefully. You really do need small sharp scissors for this if your patch is intricately shaped.
Lay the cut out shape on top of the felt again, draw around it and cut out a second one.
Lay your brooch bar onto your second felt shape and mark either end. Snip a small hole in the felt at each end so you can poke the brooch bar through it. I’m struggling to explain this with my words! Use the photos to guide you.
Apply fabric glue all over the back of the felt shape with the patch attached, poke some under the brooch bar too. Then place the 2 pieces of felt together and press them together firmly and leave them to dry.
The glue I used says it heat bonds fabric if you iron it so once the glue had dried I pressed it with the iron again. This is a little tricky with the brooch bar in the way but just do what you can.
The brooch may need a little more trimming just to make it nice and neat around the edge, sometimes ironing felt makes it spread a little.
As you can see from the photos the felt I used for these brooches is grey and my embroidered butterfly patches are black. If your felt matched it would be easier to get a neat effect, you wouldn’t need to worry about the felt showing around the edges at all. But you know me, I like to use what I have and this grey felted sweater is what I had!
If you visit Sum of their Stories often you might recognise this felted sweater, it’s what I used to make this Upcycled Scarflette a few years ago.
You could create a brooch in exactly the same way using a sew on embroidery patch, you’d just need to hand stitch the patch to the felt using a matching thread. You could use a blanket stitch or a simple whipstitch/overstitch.
I had originally planned to test the sew on method on one of my butterfly patches but when they turned out so nicely by ironing I didn’t want to deviate - ain’t broke don’t fix it! I will update here when I come across a sew on patch and give it a go.
So there you have it, a quick and easy way to turn a shop bought embroidered patch into a brooch that you can add to any garment or accessory as and when you want to. Pop it on your coat one day and a bag the next.
These embroidered patch brooches make great little gifts for friends who live far away too, small enough to pop into a card and not too expensive to post.
Embroidered patches are available to buy in lots of different designs and styles these days, there is so much choice.
And if you can’t find the exact design you have in mind you can try making your own. The Studio have some useful tips and ideas on how to make your own iron on patches.