I have developed a real love for enamel pin badges. I blame Pink Coat Club for giving me the first taste and now I am hooked. I love heading out wearing a little display of my favourite things, hobbies, books and films all represented by these little pieces of treasure on my shirt/jacket/dungarees.
In my old house I had a cork board that I pushed all my enamel pins into, it was easy to grab a couple and go! This new house is smaller and I no longer have a dedicated sewing room. I don’t mind at all, we wanted to downsize and I feel much happier in this smaller space. BUT there was some stuff that couldn’t come with us or wouldn’t suit a smaller space and my huge cork board covered in sketches/sewing patterns/notes/scraps of fabric and enamel pins just wouldn’t look nice in my living room. So when I packed up the old house I sold the cork board and packed up all my pins into a little tin. They have been sitting in there since the move and I haven’t worn any of them! They had been totally forgotten! So I needed another solution, a prettier one that would look nice and also be practical. This is the solution I came up with – a banner made from felt and I thought I would turn it into a tutorial for you all too!
It took a long time for me to settle on wool felt for this project. It seems like such a good opportunity for using up scraps, but I wanted it to feel thick – like the badges could all grip on it without it drooping or forming big holes. Felt also has the added benefit of not fraying and therefore I could leave the edges raw, a look I really like. If I had any scraps of boiled wool lying around that would have been perfect!
This is what you will need:
- A piece of felt at least twice the size of your finished banner (I used 1mX35cm)
- Some medium/heavy weight interfacing
- A wooden dowel
- Ribbon or String
Fold your felt in half along the width of it (in my case it was 1m long so when I folded it in half it was 50cm) then fold it in half again, this time along the length. My rectangle was 1m X 35cm and now it’s been folded once each way in the picture above it now measures 50cm X 17.5cm. I didn’t take pictures of the process of me folding it as I thought it would be easy to describe what I did. It isn’t. This is going well isn’t it?!
Basically. It is now four layers:
I decided to measure down the length of the felt by the same amount as the width, as my felt was 35cm wide, I measured 35cm down and placed my ruler at that point, I then angled the ruler across to the bottom centre of the fold, and cut across here:
As you can see, I’ve cut the bottom of my felt into a triangle shape.
If I unfold the felt completely you can see that I have ended up with a banner shape that is mirrored and has a crease in the middle.
I added some interfacing onto one side of the banner to give it some strength and hopefully help it hang quite flat. I cut this approx 1.5cm smaller than the banner as that’s the seam allowance I’m going to sew it together with.
Fold it back in half along the fold in the middle and pin the three raw edges together.
You can now see that the folded edge along the top is not pinned but the remaining four edges are pinned all around. TOP TIP! Make sure at this point that you can thread the dowel through the gap at the top, I gave myself around 3cm gap at the top for ease.
Once I had tested the dowel fit, I started to stitch from the top right edge, making sure to start at the position of the first pin and not close up the gap I had left.
To sew the corners neatly, I made sure to stop at each corner, lift the presser foot and rotate the felt with the needle down before continuing with the stitching. There are three corners and this is how to keep them looking crisp and professional!
This is what my banner looked like after stitching. The edges are a little wibbly, I think maybe a 1cm seam allowance might help with this!
The dowel I bought is 0.9cm diameter and was about 1m long. I cut it down to 6cm longer than the felt banner’s width ( 41cm – allowing for 3cm at each side). To cut it down I used one of the small hacksaws pictured above.
I then made sure to sand down the ends of the dowel so that they are nice and smooth.
Finally, using your chosen ribbon/string/wool/twine just tie it on either side of your dowel and et voila! You have your very own pin banner!
Here’s my finished article! NOTE: my banner is pretty big, I didn’t really realise how unnecessarily huge it was until I put all my pins on it and there is still tons of space! I’ve got to say though, I’m not bothered! This just means there’s plenty of opportunity for that pin collection to expand lol.
Please do tag me if you make one, maybe in a more sensible size? I think this would make an amazing gift for anyone you know who likes pins/badges!
And if anyone is interested in expanding their collection of enamel pins, just a few of my favourite makers are listed below. I am not sponsored by them or anything, I just really like pins and supporting small businesses!
My fave enamel pin sellers:
- Pink Coat Club
- Fable & Black
- Bookish & Bakewell
- Nutmeg and Arlo
- Lula Rocks
- Samantha Claridge
- Literary Emporium