Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Maple Leaf for a Canadian Traveler!

As Winter sets in and Christmas is coming just around the corner, I want to take a step back and bid a fond Farewell to Autumn! You may remember the Lolli & Grace Autumn Leaf SAL from October; if you do, this design will be very familiar 😊 My best friend loved the finished needlepainting project so much she almost took it home with her LOL

Although she's always generously supportive of everything I make, it's been a while since she so obviously fell in love with one of my projects. She mentioned it would make a nice bag - a tote, or a purse - and after some thought, I decided to stitch a "bag brooch".

She's not one for wearing pins or brooches on a shirt or coat, so I wanted a larger motif she could pin to any of the canvas messanger bags she usually carries. The pins make it removable, for when the Autumn season is over. She's also a globetrotter who loves to travel, and Canadians like ourselves often wear badges or pins with the Maple Leaf to find fellow explorers, so this colourful little brooch can also serve that purpose!

I hope it will be a fun reminder of home when she's off having adventures abroad ❤

Here's the brooch in comparison with the original project! For the hoop, I enlarged the pattern slightly; for the brooch, I used the original Maple Leaf sizing. The colours and technique are the same. If you would like to stitch your own, the pattern, stitch guide and incredibly helpful video tutorials are all still available on the Lolli & Grace site, and you can find all the direct links in my project post.

This was my first time finishing an oversized embroidered brooch, and it was very much a trial-and-error process! I stitched my leaf on felt, just ordinary acrylic craft felt, in a pretty turquoise colour. Originally, I wanted to cut the border following the outline of the leaf, but I was rushed for time and went with a simple circle. In the end, I really like the extra colour, and the way the felt picks up those beautiful blues Anne chose that make this project so unique 🎨

I did baste a square of sew-on stabilizer to the back, for extra strength:

The brand is Pellon, but I'm not sure which type. It is very firm. I bought it off the bolt at my local craft shop. It did require a little extra strength to sew through it, but it made sure the felt didn't stretch (which was extra likely since I was stitching in hand without a hoop!) and it really helped to make sure the felt didn't pucker under the weight of all that thread painting. All the different colours result in quite a few layers of thread!

When I was finished stitching, I removed the basting threads. Since I was going for an outline finish at first, I spent some time cutting the stabilizer close to the stitching but in hindsight I would have just cut it to the circle shape, as it would have added some extra support to the backing. And would've been so much simpler 😄

The main problem with finishing an oversize brooch is making it stiff enough to stand on its own and keep its shape. Although I don't have any pictures of the process, what I did was cut the top of a clean plastic salad container - the kind you get from the deli - to shape. This type of plastic is clear and somewhat flexible. I did not want a thick plastic that might get brittle, and so be more likely to break.

I cut the plastic circle about 1/4 inch smaller than the felt, to give me room for my Blanket Stitch Edging. I punched four holes in the middle of the plastic with a hole punch. Then I cut a circle of polyester quilt backing, and sewed that to the plastic, tacking through the circles. This gave me a stiff insert with batting on one side.

For the back, I cut out a matching circle of felt, and sewed two pinbacks on either side of the middle. I used two because the brooch is oversize, and I wanted some extra security. To assemble, I put the insert batting side up - to cushion to the back of the stitches - and sandwiched it between the embroidery (right side up) and the backing circle of felt. Then I sewed the edges with blanket stitch.

I'm very happy to say that that recipient is very pleased with her bag brooch! I really like that the brooch is removeable and can be pinned to anything fabric. I hope the finish holds up with wear, but only time will tell 😊

✈ Do you have a traveler in your life? Have you ever stitched something for them? 🌍


Catherine - Hillview Embroidery said...

What a lovely gift! So thoughtful, and I’m sure she will treasure having a little piece of home with her on her travels.

Katie said...

How beautiful and what a special treasure for your friend. I bet she will love it!!

Queeniepatch said...

What a beautiful leaf, what a beautiful thought, what a beautiful gift... I am sure it will be loved and admired as much as the original project.

rosey175 said...

Fond farewell to Autumn? I feel like summer lasted forever until winter shoved it out of the way haha. Lovely way to make a traveling leaf! I tend to use "scrap trash" in my projects too. Whatever works and has itself handy! Canadians seek out other Canadians with maple leaves! Who knew? I guess Americans are known by how loud they are....

Sheryl said...

This is a really pretty project, from the start I like the chosen colours including the turquoise felt background and how you have adjusted the size and added stabilizer and plastic to add stiffness and support to the bag brooch. A wonderful gift to be treasured. Thank you for the link.

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thank you all so much for your lovely, thoughtful comments!

Catherine: How nicely put - thank you, that's exactly what I was hoping for ❤

Katie: I'm so happy to report that she did love it! 😊

Queeniepatch: Thank you so much for your kind words ❤

Rosey: There's something about using up scraps and "trash" that is just so darn satisfying, may be why we love giving new life to thrifted treasures too 😄 I didn't know either until I saw it in a travel documentary and checked to make sure people actually do this - and they do 🍁 I think that's really neat. An added advantage of the pin - when you want to incognito, just unpin it LOL As for Americans, the major tell I've found is wearing socks with sandals 😂

Sheryl: Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, I really appreciate it! I hope you stitch up a little maple leaf of your own, it's really fun ❤🍁❤

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Lovely design for this brooch, beautiful colours.

Carol said...

I don't think I've ever seen such an elegant maple leaf--simply lovely :)

Karen said...

I know I saw this on your Instagram feed, but just have to say again how lovely it is. I REALLY like how you blended the threads. And such a perfect finish! Great idea to sew the plastic to the batting to hold it in place! The best part for me, is that it is a perfect circle! That is so hard for me to achieve. A fabulous gift that is sure to be loved.