Learn to Make Brooches, Fashion’s Most Versatile Piece of Jewelry

Brooches are fashionable and oh-so-feminine jewelry pieces. There’s a movement among fashionistas and the most ladylike among us to #bringbackthebrooch, and I’m all on board! Brooches can be sparkly, vintage, artistic, beaded, knitted, sewn, or just about anything else. Wear just one or group a few together! Brooches are an out-of-the-ordinary piece of jewelry to wear, so wear them in any out-of-the-ordinary way you want to!

ABOVE: Fold-formed Silver Feather Brooch by Debra Hoffmaster.

brooches brooch collection

I see a theme in these brooches from my collection, hmm! Some are vintage, some new, some real, some costume. I love wearing a few of the snowflakes together. The carved white pin says “Pearl” on it. I never find anything I like with my name on it, and certainly nothing vintage–but that pretty little Pearl brooch was a perfect alternative for this pearl girl.

How and Where to Wear Brooches

I think brooches are the most versatile type of jewelry. You can wear them just about anywhere–that’s to anywhere and on you anywhere. Most ladies wear brooches on sweaters, blouses, hats, coats/jackets, or suit jackets, but they are also lovely adornments to belts, cuff bracelets, and scarves of all sorts. Brooches give your shoes a little makeover, like shoe clips, if you have a matching pair. Vive la bling!

Add a brooch anywhere you for a little dash of pretty. You can wear brooches in your hair like sparkling hair accessories, especially when hair is up in a bun or ponytail. They also attach pretty easily to headbands. I first noticed this trend in weddings, and more since bling has become more of an any day, any time notion and not just for special occasions. I’m happy to see sparkly brooches in hair more often.

You can hang a brooch on a chain as a pendant or pin a brooch on a fabric or leather cuff to embellish it. Pinning a brooch on a simple clutch instantly turns it into an evening bag.

My freshwater pearl and copper wire brooch is built on a domed brooch pin back base (shown below).
There’s a flat back with a pin that snaps in place over this part to hide all the background stuff. 

When I moved to Louisiana, I saw the word lagniappe everywhere. I learned that it means “a little something extra.” Wearing a brooch is definitely adding a little something extra! When you think about everyday jewelry, most ladies wear earrings every day, at least one ring most of the time. Most wear a necklace or some layered necklaces, sometimes even a bracelet or stacked bangles. All of those can be “everyday” jewelry. But donning a brooch usually means it’s a special occasion or you have some reason to look a little extra pretty . . . and who’d say no to extra pretty?

Making Brooches is Easier Than You Think

Brooches are one of my favorite kinds of jewelry to make. There are a wide variety of commercial brooch and pin backs on the market that can ensure your brooch making is easy or really, really easy. The sieve or strainer-style brooch base is very versatile, because it allows you so many options for wiring on beads or found objects. I used one of those backs to make a copper wire and freshwater pearl flower brooch, inspired by a vintage pearl flower brooch designed by Tiffany & Co.

You can also make your own brooch pin back in just a few easy steps to turn any pendant design into a brooch. They’re easily soldered onto the back of your brooches, and then your piece is handmade, through and through.

Brooch Projects and Tutorials

Now that you’re awed by their versatility and encouraged by how easy they are to make (right?), you need inspiration! Here are some of my favorite brooch or pin projects from the Interweave Store. So many special occasions are coming up that call for a little lagniappe, but don’t wait for a special occasion! Any evening is a great time to wear a sparkly brooch. Sparkly ones pick up light so nicely. And sweater weather is just the time to pin a brooch on your cardigan or scarf. In fast, pin one on right now and run out to the grocery store, because that’s just how fab you are!

making brooches: Mosaic Metal Clay Pin by Patrik Kusek

Mosaic Metal Clay Pin by Patrik Kusek

 

making brooches: Floral Brooch Sewing Pattern by Helen Phillipps

Floral Brooch Sewing Pattern by Helen Phillipps

Not all brooch pin backs have to be soldered on! Depending on your wishes for the project and the materials you use, rivets, glue, two-part epoxy, and even stitching can be the right attachment option.

I enjoy balling up my scrap metals so much, it’s crazy! But it’s a great way to turn even the tiniest scraps into design elements, like those in Linda Larsen’s brooch, above. Between those beloved little balls and the organic shape of this design, I’m in love with this project. You could make 100 and no two would be alike!

making brooches: Formed Fibula Pin by Helen Driggs

Formed Fibula Pin by Helen Driggs

How do you like to wear brooches? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And be sure to use #bringbackthebrooch in your social posts of your wearing or making brooches! We’ll be doing the same on Instagram as @InterweaveJewelry and @InterweaveBeading.

Updated January 22, 2018.


Learn more about metalsmithing and making brooches with these resources!

 

 

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