Three unique ways to wear pins

I have quite a collection of pins and one thing I generally don’t do with them is wear them on jackets or dresses. You know, the normal way most people wear them. So I’ve come up with other ways to wear these beautiful pins that would otherwise be forgotten in a jewelry box.

Watch my video demonstration

1. Wear pins on a necklace

A lot of pins will hang nicely around your neck. You can use a variety of different materials as a necklace. Here are some examples.

These two are on bias tape.

These two are on rawhide.

These are on silver chains. The one on the left is a large herringbone necklace and the one on the right is an omega chain.

And here’s a pin on a ribbon necklace from the craft store.

Wearing one of my pin necklaces.

Sometimes you need to use a converter to get the pin to hang correctly and to create a bail. I have one each in silver and gold.

2. Wear pins on your jeans

A lot of pins will look nice pinned in the front pocket area of jeans. Here I took three patriotic pins and arranged them together. And I wore the jeans with a sparkly belt to complete the look.

3. Wear pins on a bracelet

This is by far my favorite way to wear pins because I’m a bracelet girl. I’ve made a variety of fabric cuff bracelets just for this purpose. They’re quite simple to make.

If you’d like to make some for yourself, please check out my fabric cuff bracelet tutorial. You can choose three different closures: snaps, buttons or velcro.

Here are some pictures of me wearing my pins as bracelets.

Do you have any creative ways to wear pins? Please share your ideas!

Celebrating the 4th of July

Lately I’ve been in a sewing mood so I decided to whip up a cute top to wear on the Fourth of July. It’s basically a fitted version of a pillowcase top. Besides this little sequin number I’ve raided my linen closet to design two brand new ways of making pillowcase blouses from embroidered pillowcases. Look for that tutorial in the next few days.

Today I’m bringing the sparkle with my red sequin blouse, silver sequin cuff bracelet and patriotic jewelry. I’m going downtown later to have dinner and watch the fireworks.

Fourth of July outfit

And speaking of fireworks, my little Koda is terrified of them so the last couple of weeks have been difficult for him. His new refuge is under the bed! I managed to snap a picture of him on one of his rare appearances out in the open. And here’s the photo…just because.

koda smiling

Koda’s smiling

For his sake I’m looking forward to this holiday being over, which in my neighborhood is going to be around mid July.

So now I’m off to celebrate our nation’s independence. God bless America!

me on july 4

July 4, 2015

Crafting tutorial: yo yo flowers with a kick

Yo yo flowers are back! I’ve got a new twist on this old favorite. These yo yo flowers have a kick because I’ve added some layers and embellishments that you don’t usually see.

Making yo yo flowers is a good way to use all those leftover pieces of fabric and remnants of trim, beads and buttons. You won’t believe how fast and easy they are to make.

This is something you can do almost mindlessly while watching TV. You can sit in your favorite chair, cut out one yo yo and sew it by hand in five minutes or less. And let me tell you, once you get started, you almost can’t stop!

After you make a pile of different sized yo yos, start playing with them, putting different combinations together along with bits of trim and beads.

So what are you going to do with all those yo yos when you finally come up for air? Well, they can be used in so many ways: as brooches, barrettes, headbands, bracelets, bouquets, package decorations. Let me show you how they’re done in this tutorial.

Making yo yos step by step

Make paper patterns for the yo yos

paper patterns for yo yos

The first thing you need to do is make some patterns. Yo yos are made from round circles of fabric. The easiest way to make circles is with a drafting compass. You might remember using one of those in grade school. At least, that’s where I remember them from.

There are different sizes marked on my compass, up to a 6″ radius, or a 12″ diameter. Now you don’t have to use a compass. You can use cups, saucers, cans from the cupboard. Just remember that the finished yo yo is going to be about half the size of the circle you cut out. You can see I made a series of circles using my drafting compass traced onto junk mail (2″, 3″, 4″, 5″ and 6″).

Gather up fabrics to make yo yo flowers

yo yo fabrics

How to make yo yos

Take all your pattern pieces and cut out a bunch of yo yos in all different fabrics. Then put a gathering stitch around the edge of each yo yo. You can do this with a sewing machine, but I think it’s just as quick to do by hand using doubled thread.

One thing I did to make the sewing process faster was to eliminate the step of turning under the edge of the yo yo before adding the gathering stitch. If you were making a quilt, that’s a step you would want to keep since the quilt would have to be washed. Also, if you were to finish the edge of the yo yo, you would not need to cover that spot with a button.

Pull the gathering stitch up tight to form the yo yo and make a knot. Keep the knot on the top of the fabric if the back of the yo yo is going to be on display later, such as if you were making a yo yo flower bouquet. Note: it’s easier to embellish the center yo yo first before gluing or sewing it to the other layers.

Cutting and sewing yo yos

Adding embellishments to yo yos

Yo yos, yo yos everywhere

lots of yo yo flowers

Giving yo yos a kick

You can give yo yo flowers a kick by adding layers of tulle, lace and beaded fringe. The center embellishment is another way to make yo yo flowers unique. Make some for each season of the year and for the holidays.

I’ve made some yo yo flowers inspired by spring and summer, using lace in a couple of different ways. Twice the lace was used flat as a layer. In another yo yo flower, the lace was gathered tighter to make it look more dimensional like a tulip. My favorite center embellishment for the spring flowers is the ladybug, which is demonstrated below.

I did an animal print yo yo flower, good for fall and winter, that has a heavily beaded center. Then there’s a patriotic one with a beaded fringe layer, and a Halloween one with a layer of tulle and a creepy spider on top! I’ll show you the details on that below too.

A look at each individual yo yo flower

How to make the ladybug embellishment

How to make the spider embellishment

Ideas for using yo yos

What to do with all those yo yo flowers

As I mentioned before, yo yo flowers can be used in many different ways. They make cute package decorations with some double-stick tape on the back. They can be sewn onto throw pillows. You could add wire to them and make a yo yo flower arrangement. You could add them to headbands or sew them onto fabric cuff bracelets. You could also attach them to pin backs or barrettes.

My personal preference is to make them into pins. That way they can be worn on a jacket or blouse, pinned to your purse, or my personal favorite, pinned to a fabric cuff bracelet. I have several fabric cuff bracelets and, if you would like to make some for yourself, please check out my crafting tutorial for fabric cuff bracelets.

How to add a pinback to a yo yo flower

Yo yo flower pins added to fabric cuff bracelets

I have several sequin bracelets. Love the bling!

Wearing yo yo flowers

Here I am modeling the different ways to wear yo yo flower creations.

Sewing tutorial: fabric cuff bracelets

This tutorial shows how fast and easy it is to make cuff bracelets out of fabric.

This is a great way to use fabric scraps from your stash. You can even use an old pair of jeans or a favorite shirt that’s seen better days, anything you want.

You’ll also learn three different closure methods for cuff bracelets.

Cuff bracelets can be left plain or transformed into wearable art. In this crafting tutorial we’re going to keep it simple and adorn our fabric cuff bracelets with pins or brooches.

If you don’t have any pins, you can make this angel kitty pin or these yo yo flowers that look so cute on cuff bracelets.

Supplies for making fabric cuff bracelets

fusible fleece, point turner, interfacing

Fusible fleece (left), point turner, fusible interfacing (right)

  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric scraps
  • Fusible fleece
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Bracelet closure: buttons and beading elastic, snaps or Velcro
  • Point turner
  • Assortment of pins or brooches

How to make fabric cuff bracelets

Make a cuff bracelet pattern from paper

Measure your wrist and add 2″ to 2½” for the length. The length depends on the closure method and whether or not there will be any overlap. The length will also accommodate extra bulk from the fusible fleece layer.

If you’ll be using Velcro or snaps, add 2½” inches. For buttons, add 2″ (edges meeting together, no overlap). You’ll have to experiment a little to see what you like.

I prefer my cuff bracelets to be close fitting like a watch band. It also keeps the bracelet from twirling around on the wrist. The closure method I like the best is snaps.

The width should be between 1½” to 2½” which includes ¼” seam allowance. I go for the bold look, usually at least 2″ wide. But then a lot of my pins are quite large too.

Round up your favorite pins for embellishing fabric cuff bracelets

assorted pins

My collection of pins/brooches

Choose fabrics to coordinate with your pins

fabrics for cuff bracelets

An assortment of fun fabrics

Cut and fuse fabrics

Pattern on fabric

Pattern on fabric

After selecting the fabrics, cut out two pieces of fabric, one piece of fusible fleece and one piece of fusible interfacing.

Fusible fleece is used on the top layer of the bracelet because it provides a sturdy foundation for decorating with a brooch.

Cut the length of the fusible fleece a little shorter to avoid excess bulk in the seam allowance. Make it ½” shorter if you’ll be using snaps or buttons, and about 1½” shorter if you’ll be using Velcro.

Iron the fusible fleece to the wrong side of one piece of fabric and fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the other piece of fabric. The piece with the fusible fleece will be the top of the bracelet.

Note: If you’re using denim or some other thick fabric, you can forego the fusible fleece and just use fusible interfacing on both pieces. You may be able to shorten the length by a ½” or so.

Fusing tip

When fusing fleece or interfacing, press straight down with the iron, hold for a few seconds, lift the iron and move to another spot. Do not slide the iron over the fleece or the shape will become distorted.

Before sewing, fold under ¼” on one end of each piece and press. This side is left open for turning. The opening will be easier to close later with the edges already pressed under and sewn in place.

fleece and interfacing on fabric cuff bracelet

Fabric fused with interfacing (left) and fleece (right)

In this photo the fleece and interfacing have been applied and the edge is pressed under.

Sewing, trimming and turning the fabric cuff bracelet

Sewing the fabric cuff bracelet

Sewing the fabric cuff bracelet

With right sides together, sew the cuff bracelet using ¼” seam allowance.

Trim the seams very close to the stitching line and miter the corners.

Turn right side out and use a point turner to push out the fabric. Then press.

Fabric cuff bracelet after sewing, trimming and mitering corners

Sewn and trimmed bracelet ready to turn right side out

Sewn and trimmed bracelet ready to turn right side out

Now it’s time to add a closure to the bracelet.

Closure method: buttons and beading elastic

Beading cord elastic

Beading cord elastic

Sew buttons on the outside of the bracelet on the end that’s already closed. Remember, the side with the fusible fleece is the top.

Cut a 3″ piece of beading elastic for each button. Put the two ends together and make a knot. The knotted end is going to be inserted into the open end of the bracelet.

Meet the two ends of the bracelet together and hold with pins. Loop the beading elastic around the button and put the knotted end into the open side of the bracelet. Pin it closed then sew.

Photos of sewing the buttons and elastic loops to the fabric cuff bracelet

Closure method: Velcro



Cut a strip of Velcro to fit the width of the bracelet.

Sew one piece to the top, and the other piece to the lining side.

Photos of sewing Velcro

Closure method: snaps

Sew-on snaps

Sew-on snaps

One side of the snap is sewn to the top of the bracelet and the other side is sewn to the lining by hand.

When the bracelet is snapped shut, there should be at least ¼” of overlap.

Fabric cuff bracelet with snaps

Sequin cuff bracelet with snap closure

Sequin cuff bracelet with snap closure

This cuff bracelet has been embellished with sequins and beads.

Finished fabric cuff bracelets

A tower of beautiful handmade fabric cuff bracelets

A tower of beautiful handmade fabric cuff bracelets

Now that you know how easy it is to make homemade bracelets from fabric, you can make lots of them to go with all your outfits. They’re so simple, you can even make bracelets to give as gifts or to sell. And with a nice pin for decoration, they can look very elegant.

Sewing tutorial: angel kitty pin

Here’s a step by step tutorial for making a super cute angel kitty pin. All you need are a few fabric scraps, buttons and beads. So gather up those little odds and ends you saved from other projects, the crazier the better.

This is a great project for anyone who loves cats or cat jewelry.

You’ll also learn some other ways to use this pattern. Let’s get started and have some fun!

Supplies you’ll need to make this angel kitty pin

  • Fabric scraps, beads, buttons, sequins, fringe
  • Fusible fleece
  • Metallic embroidery floss
  • Needles: a fine embroidery needle (a #9 or #10), regular sized needle and one with an extra large eye
  • Regular sewing thread
  • Embroidery scissors
  • Point turner and creaser
  • Aleene’s tacky glue
  • Pin back, 1 1/2″ long

Photos of a few supplies

Draw the angel kitty pattern

Angel kitty pattern

Angel kitty pattern

Here’s my Katrina Angelina angel kitty pattern. Draw your own paper pattern based on the dimensions shown.* The wings measure 4″W x 2″H. The face measures 2″W x 2″H.

An easy way to get both sides even is to fold the paper in half and draw half of the face/wings. Then cut the pieces out, open the paper and both sides will be symmetrical.

The pattern is going to be traced onto fabric and that will be your stitching line.

*You have my permission to sell angel kitties made from my pattern as long as you credit Lynda Makara for the design.

Choose fabrics and embellishments

coordinating fabrics

Coordinating fabrics

When you’re going through your stash, just pull out all the fabrics that appeal to you. Try putting different combinations together to see what speaks to you. Even strange fabric combinations can be made to coordinate with the colors of beads and trim you use. My preference is to use as many colors as possible and spread them around the design.

Cut out the fabrics

Trace the pattern pieces onto the fabric. Then cut out the fabric larger than the pattern.

tracing the pattern on the fabric

tracing the pattern on the fabric

Iron fusible fleece to the wrong side of one piece of the wing fabric. Draw the pattern onto the wrong side of the other piece of wing fabric. Cut a little horizontal slit into this piece of fabric for turning right side out later. Then pin the two pieces right sides together and sew.

Sewing tip: perfect corners

When sewing into corners, sew a U, not a V. For example, when you get to the corner, stop, pivot, take one stitch, then pivot and continue stitching on the line. This gives you a little room for snipping and the fabric will lay nice and flat after you turn it right side out.

Trimming, turning and pressing the fabric

Trim the seams very close to the stitching line and clip the corners. Turn right side out and use a point turner to push out the fabric. Then press. The side with the slit is going to be the back. The slit will be covered by a pin back and fabric later.

Repeat the process for the cat face.

Note: The slit in the cat face fabric should be a horizontal one toward the bottom of the face. The side with the slit is the back of the cat face which will be glued on top of the wings.

The process of sewing in photos

Decorate the angel kitty with seed beads

kitty angel face

Closeup of angel kitty face

Now you get to decorate your angel kitty any way you want!

For the face I used lime green buttons for the eyes and bead embroidery with a very fine needle to outline the features.

For the wings I used sequins and bead embroidery. I used 11/0 seed beads in yellow, orange, blue and hot pink.

For the bead embroidery use a doubled thread. Put three beads on the needle, take a stitch and go back to where the first bead is. Run the needle back through the three beads. Then put another three beads on and continue.

Bead embroidery photos

Adding whiskers to the cat face

Take the largest needle and thread about 14″ of metallic embroidery floss. Make a knot about 2″ from the end. Put the needle in from the top of the fabric and pull through to the back. Bring the needle back up and make a knot on top of the fabric.

When making the knot, hold the needle against the fabric and pull the thread tight. Then take the needle out and press your nail against the knot as you pull it tight. You can also put a dot of clear nail polish on the knots to secure them. Do the other side and trim the whiskers to the same length.

Photos of sewing the cat whiskers

Finishing the angel kitty pin

When the embellishments are finished, the cat face is glued onto the wings and then secured with hand stitching. I added a little scrap of beaded fringe to the back of the cat face before gluing it to the wings.

On the back of the wings, glue the opening together first and then glue the pin back on top using tacky glue. After that dries a little bit, cover the pin back with a small piece of fabric coated with tacky glue. This makes it look better and also makes it more secure.

Photos of finishing the angel kitty pin

Another look at the completed angel kitty pin

angel kitty pin

Completed angel kitty pin

Different ways to wear the angel kitty pin

Here it is on a jacket

angel kitty pinned to jacket

Pinned to a jacket

Pinned to a fabric cuff bracelet

I think this looks fabulous pinned to a fabric cuff bracelet! It could also be sewn on if you didn’t want the versatility. (Learn how to make a cuff bracelet for your angel kitty pin.)

angel kitty pinned to cuff bracelet

Pinned to a cuff bracelet

Other ideas for the angel kitty

  • Hair barrette. Glue or sew a hair barrette to the back of the wings instead of a pin back.
  • Headband. These are so popular today and this one would surely attract a lot of attention.
  • Magnet. Glue a magnet on the back and put it on your refrigerator.
  • Ornaments. Just attach a thread hanger instead of a pin back. Imagine having a tree full of angel kitty ornaments!

Gallery of angel kitties

brown and black angel kitties

Brown and leopard angel kitty in neutral colors (left); black and turquoise angel kitty (right)

Denim angel kitty pin

Denim angel kitty pin

This is a really fun project, and I hope you’ve been inspired to make your own unique angel kitties!