Brooches with Bite

comments (2) January 5th, 2011     

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Photo: Sloan Howard
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Symmetry, contrast, and texture have a special appeal, but it's easy to miss their beauty in everyday objects. Consider the zipper-this commonplace closure suddenly has impact when cut, shaped, and sewn into an accessory. It's simple and fast to make this edgy pin from a zipper. What's more, it costs a lot less than designer versions, which are priced at much more than what you'll pay for supplies. Choose the zipper for this project with the teeth in mind. This is not the occasion for a shy, invisible zipper. Metal teeth offer contrast to colored fabric zipper tape and add a cool heft to your brooch, while rhinestone teeth have glamour and sparkle. Go ahead; liberate a few zippers from a utilitarian fate. Let them have a star turn as a featured accessory.

Fabric marking pen or chalk
Hand-sewing needle
Nonwoven material scrap for pin back (suede, leather, synthetic leather, or felt)
Pin closure
Sewing machine
Thread to match zipper tape
Zipper tape, 56 inches (or one 28-inch zipper, separated)

Create flower petals from a zipper
The brooch has two six-petal layers, plus a center swirl. After you cut the zipper up, the parts are swift to baste and sew by machine.

1. Prepare the zipper. You need zipper tape and teeth only. Cut away stops, and remove the slider. Press the zipper tape if it needs it.

2. Segment the zipper. Cut six 4-inch lengths for the larger petals, six 3-inch lengths for the smaller petals, and one 8-inch length for the center.

Wriggle the scissor blades between the teeth to cut the zipper tape.

3. Gather to give the petal shape. Machine-baste close to the long tape edge on a zipper petal length. Pull the bobbin thread to gather slightly (the zipper curls toward the tape edge). Push the gathering to the middle. Repeat for all petals.

Pull the bobbin thread to gather each tape edge.


Tip: Plan the pieces If you don't use a single zipper tape, you should plan and mark the cutting lines on a separating zipper or multiple shorter zippers. Arrange the cuts so you don't run short for any pieces.

4. Form and sew the petals. Fold a gathered zipper length in half. Open the fold at the cut ends, and overlap the tape with the zipper teeth to the outside. Pin, or hold in place. Stitch the petal center through the overlapping tape from the cut ends to the petal's outer tip. Repeat for all remaining petals.

5. Make the flower center. Baste close to the center's long tape edge. Pull the bobbin thread to gather the center into a spiral. Make the spiral tight at the beginning; loosen the gathers for the outer rings. Tuck the end under and baste in place.

Gather the flower center zipper tape into a spiral.

Assemble the flower, and make it a pin
With some hand-sewing, you'll build your pin from the petals and center. The finishing touch is a quick pin backing.

1. Join the petals in two layers. Sew the six large petals together, adding one at a time to create a circle. Lap each petal's base over the next, clockwise or counter-clockwise (it doesn't matter as long as you're consistent!). Hand-stitch them together securely. Arrange and sew the six small petals in another circular layer.

Hand-stitch the petals together.


2. Sew the petal layers together. Place the smaller layer over the larger layer. Offset the petals to fan attractively. Pin in place. Secure the petals by hand-sewing through both layers close to the middle. 

Arrange the two petal layers into a full flower.


3. Finish the flower, and Add a pin closure. Slipstitch the flower center in the center of the petal layers. To attach the pin and back, cut a 11⁄2-inch circle from the backing fabric. Sew the pin closure to the circle, and then hand-sew the circle to the flower's bottom petal layer. You can hide your stitches beneath the smaller petal layer and flower center.

Hand-sew the closure backing to the bottom petal layer.

by Susan Crane
excerpted from Quick Stuff to Sew Vol. 4, p. 35.

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posted in: brooch, zipper

Comments (2)

Lynneathecraftyone writes: Hmmmm I have a few unused zippers in my stash from projects I never did...may have to experiment and see if I can be a flower maker!
Posted: 10:24 am on March 31st
blueknitter4u writes: beautiful flower
Posted: 11:48 pm on January 29th
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