Badges on the go – how I make my pin badges

If you’ve seen me at events or checked out my Etsy shop Lovetextiles , you’ll know that I do a line of pin badges featuring embroidered motifs that link to the subjects of my larger textile artworks. I like to joke that one day I’ll have sold enough of the camper van brooches to buy a real van!

I thought you might like to see how they are made, so here goes!

I use my Brother Super Galaxie machine to stitch the motif. I always work from my own drawings, these have to be scanned and then edited through the CAD software. It takes a bit of time but it does mean that I can alter size, scale and colour as necessary and once the design is created I can repeat it as often as I like!

(Here’s a series of images that show the puffin design building up. It’s quite a quick one as there are only four colours…)

 

  

White first…

Then black…

A touch of red…

Then a flash of yellow. With a final outline in black.

When I stitch the designs I hea two further options – sometimes I stitch directly onto craft interfacing, then I cut out the motif and apply it to a backing fabric. Or, I can stick a backing fabric onto the craft interfacing and embroider the motif directly onto this. The former approach gives more opportunity for variation in design – the latter is more economical;)

Once they’re stitched, it’s time to assemble the badges. I use plastic self cover buttons to give the badges structure. These come in two parts, you cover the dome with fabric, and then secure the fabric in place with the back disc. I use a template to make sure I get the motif central and the backing fabric big enough to cover the button. A running stitch round the edge of the fabric is gathered in to fit it closely around the button. Then the fun starts…a badge needs a fastener on the back, right? But the button has a shank that is in the way so… Get rid of it! To do this I (mis) use my iron to melt the shank into a flat disc on the button back – did this in a Travelodge recently – thankfully didn’t set the fire alarm off! (Always melt your button shanks in a well ventilated area!)

The final stage is to stitch a brooch bar to a circle of felt and then glue the felt to the back of the button- I use a leather glue for strength – voila it’s done!

It seems like a lot of work, right? It is! But…it’s handy to have low priced items at a show or market and I think the buttons look good when they’re made this way. So if you buy one of my button badges, rest assured they’re made with love and care and they should last well if treated with a little care- don’t put them in the washing machine!!

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