Make an Old Coat New Again with a Beaded Broochcomments (0) January 25th, 2009
I love vintage coats for their fancy buttons and still-stylish details, 40 or 50 years later...but this ultraplain camel-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 right on to the fabric, which lends a much-needed color pop for our gray Portland winters. This project took less than an hour start to finish, and only used stash materials like this broken strand of costume jewelry—originally 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 of your choice, identical or assorted, including one larger one for a centerpiece
- Flexible beading wire (I used Soft-Flex)
- Two crimp beads
- Sewing needle and nylon beading thread (or polyester sewing thread)
- Two small leaf beads or charms
1. String your beads onto the flexible beading wire, using either a flattened crimp or a doubled piece of clear tape as a stopper at one end. My strand of beads was about 8 inches long, but yours can be longer or shorter, depending on the size of your beads and the size you want your finished "flower" to be. If you are using assorted sizes of beads, I suggest spacing the largest ones 1 to 2 inches apart so that they don't create a denser area of the design in one spot.
2. Now add crimps on both ends of the beading strand, but be sure to leave about 1/2 to 1 inch of open space for the beads to move freely so they are not strung tightly (as you would a necklace or bracelet to wear unspiraled). Clip the ends of the wire about another inch beyond the crimps.
3. When you are pleased with the beading order, try planning your brooch by spiraling the strand onto your coat. Leave an open space in the center for the larger bead. This gives you the chance to change the strand if you don't like the configuration after all—just break one of the crimps and reopen that end. Use a new crimp to finish the end again once you've made any adjustments you wanted.
4. Thread a needle with a double strand of thread and tie a knot at the end. Begin tacking down your first/central loop of the spiral, making stitches to hold down the strand in between beads. I made four different stitches on the first loop, about every third or fourth bead.
5. Once you have secured the center loop, wind the strand around it to create the second layer of the flower. Stitch the strand down as you did in step 4.
6. Continue winding and stitching until you reach the end of the strand, and knot securely after the last stitch. When you are finished building the brooch spiral, use your wire clippers to cut away the excess beading wire.
7. Now stitch down the center bead with several stitches to hold it securely in place. If you like, add two small leaf beads or charms offset at the base of the flower, stitching through each hole at least twice. Securely knot your thread after the last stitch.
8. Try on your newly fancy coat!
How about a random mix instead of a spiral? Just leave extra open space on your strand and arrange it loosely in a swirl rather than a neat circular pattern, adjusting it until you like the way it looks. Stitch it down all at once, moving from section to section, instead of working from the inside out.
If you are stitching onto a lightweight fabric instead of a heavier coat, try using smaller or lighter beads and nylon beading thread or ultralight beading wire for stringing your strand.
Add a coordinating bead or beads to your coat collar, cuffs, or anywhere else you want to highlight along with your brooch!
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery