Since discovering the wondrous sparkly felt, I have wanted to stitch very little except mermaids. And then I remembered a half baked idea I had about doing a Rosie the Riveter brooch so I decided to put the glitter down, back away slowly, and concentrate on this for a while.
The main hitch in Operation Rosie was that it was hard to find red felt with white spots, which is a key component of the look. You can get white felt with different coloured spots and also red felt with black spots, but not red felt with white spots. I attempted to use a cotton based fabric but that just frayed, so for a brooch where you need to handle it frequently, that just wouldn’t do.
Well. I was in the doldrums for a while. I love the image of Rosie the Riveter and the idea that women can be strong but also have bang on lipstick and curls. But since I do not wish to get up three hours before I go to work to fix myself perfect curls, I would like to express that through a brooch. How could this be achieved?
BEADS are the answer. Obviously. Red felt. White beads. So simple it took me two months to think of it.
In order to get the overalls and knotted headband look I did lots of back stitch in straight lines on the top layer of felt but left the back plain. In my experience, when you try to pull thread through small stuffed bits of felt, you get holes and fluff and this is to be avoided at all costs. Just stitching the top gives you a much cleaner look.
As soon as I have worked a new template through once, I have to do it again immediately to check the process and different parts.
I was fairly pleased with this, but by now had caught the ‘feminists in felt’ bug so decided to crack on with another idea I had ages ago – literary greats!
Obviously I started with Charlotte Brontë because Jane Eyre is awesome.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me:
I am a free human being with an independent will.”
BOOM. Mic drop.
Again, there was a lot of top stitching to get the look I wanted:
And I did a trial again, then improved it. Trial is on the left; I trimmed the skirt length down but I did it wonky on account of the fact that I cannot cut in straight lines. I think the chin area is better on the second one too.
The biggest thing I changed on the second Brontë was how I do the back. I had been doing coordinated hair and dress, but this was leading to untidiness (I feel) around the neck area because of extra knots where things were tied off. As I said above, when you are stitching felt you do have to take care not to put it under too much stress or it can become fluffy. Like a cat. So the second time around I did the whole back in grey, allowing me to stuff and fasten off at the bottom (under the lace) and give a really neat finish. Much pleasure.
The next step will obviously be Jane Austen.
In other news, the Etsy shop is almost ready to open and hopefully we will be running a stall at some local craft fairs before Christmas, so watch this space if you would like a mini Brontë/Rosie of your own!