Make an Old Coat New Again with a Beaded Brooch

comments (1) February 21st, 2014     

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susanstars Susan Beal, contributor
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This beaded brooch is a spiral of restrung beads that are stitched down and accented with two tiny leaf charms.
String and sew a floral brooch onto an old coat using basic supplies.
String or restring beads onto a strand of flexible beading wire, leaving an extra 1/2 inch to 1 inch of space for the beads to move freely.
Plan your brooch by spiraling the strand around a larger bead before you begin sewing.
Begin sewing the first loop down before adding the outer layers and before stitching the center bead down, too.
The finished brooch has two small leaves stitched on below the spiral of beads.
This beaded brooch is a spiral of restrung beads that are stitched down and accented with two tiny leaf charms.

This beaded brooch is a spiral of restrung beads that are stitched down and accented with two tiny leaf charms.

Photo: Susan Beal

I love vintage coats for their fancy buttons and still-stylish details, but this ultraplain camel's-hair coat wasn't seeing much wardrobe action compared with a few others I have in brighter colors. So I thought I'd restyle it with a simple, easy beaded brooch stitched onto the fabric, which lends a much-needed pop of color during our gray Portland winters. This project took less than an hour from start to finish and used only stash materials like a broken strand of costume jewelry. The jewelry originally was a fancy, tiered '50s necklace that had seen better days. Create your own beaded brooch using any beads you especially love.


  • A plain coat
  • A handful of beads, identical or assorted, including one larger one for a centerpiece
  • Flexible beading wire (Soft-Flex)
  • Two crimp beads
  • Pliers
  • Sewing needle and nylon beading thread (or polyester sewing thread)
  • Scissors
  • Two small leaf beads or charms

Make the brooch

1. String your beads onto the flexible beading wire, using a flattened crimp or a doubled piece of clear tape as a stopper at one end. The strand of beads shown was 8 inches long, but yours can be longer or shorter, depending on the size of the beads and the desired size the finished "flower." If using assorted sizes of beads, try spacing the largest ones 1 inch to 2 inches apart so that they don't create a denser area of the design in one spot.

2. Add crimps on both ends of the beading strand, but be sure to leave about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of open space for the beads to move freely and are not strung tightly (as you would a necklace or bracelet to wear unspiraled). Clip the wire ends about another inch beyond the crimps.

3. Choose the beading order, then plan the brooch by spiraling the strand onto the coat. Leave an open space in the center for the larger bead. This gives the opportunity to change the strand if the configuration doesn't look good. Simply break one of the crimps to reopen that end. Use a new crimp to finish the end again after making any adjustments.

4. Thread a needle with a double strand of thread and tie a knot at the end. Begin tacking down the first/central loop of the spiral, making stitches to hold down the strand between beads. For the brooch shown, I made four stitches on the first loop, at about every third or fourth bead.

5. After securing the center loop, wind the strand around it to create the second layer of the flower. Stitch the strand down as in step 4.

6. Continue winding and stitching to the end of the strand, and knot securely after the last stitch. One the brooch spiral is completed, use the wire clippers to cut away the excess beading wire.

7. Stitch down the center bead with several stitches to hold it in place. Add two small leaf beads or charms offset at the base of the flower, stitching through each hole at least twice. Securely knot the thread after the last stitch.


How about a random mix instead of a spiral? Just leave extra open space on the strand and arrange it loosely in a swirl rather than a neat circular pattern, adjusting it until it looks good. Stitch it down all at once, moving from section to section, instead of working from the inside out.

When stitching onto a lightweight fabric instead of a heavier coat, use smaller or lighter beads and nylon beading thread or ultralight beading wire for stringing the beads.

Add a coordinating bead or beads to a coat collar, cuffs, or elsewhere to highlight along with the garment brooch.



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posted in: beads, beaded brooch, vintage coat, restringing, wardrobe makeover

Comments (1)

celticangel writes: What a great idea I never even thought of that where do you guys think up these ideas? Keep them coming!!
Posted: 1:14 am on June 21st
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