How to make your own merit badges

Bear with me as I have never done a ‘how to’ before but I figured this one was easy enough and pretty fun… I’m making these for Christmas gifts.

You will need:
Plain backing fabric
sharp pencil
embroidery threads
needle
sharp fabric scissors
felt for backing
iron on interfacing
brooch backs
ideas for designs!

Step one, get some plain fabric for the base of the badges. I tend to use unbleached cotton calico because that’s how I roll, it’s good to iron it first. Using a nice sharp pencil draw some circles on the backing fabric – you can do freehand or draw around the bottom of a bottle or a small jar lid, whatever you want. You can also make other shapes but they’re a little more difficult to bind.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

These will be your badges. Using your sharp pencil draw your designs inside the circles. I like to use words a lot, as you can see. In this example I’m making a bulk lot but you can make just one to start off with.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Now, thread your needle with a couple of strands of embroidery thread (two if you want a fine line like mine, three if you want it thicker). Using a small stitch, follow the lines you’ve drawn – I use a connected chain stitch kind of thing but you can just as easily do backstitch.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Once you’ve completed the embroidery to your liking (different colours for different bits, etc, then it’s time to assemble the badge. Iron the interfacing first to the back of the embroidered fabric and then onto the backing felt. Interfacing is available at spotlight or any fabric store, you don’t need fancy stuff, just the paper backed cheap version is fine.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Cut out the badges with sharp scissors, following the lines you initially made. They look really great at this stage, I think. You’re getting there!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Using two threads in whatever colour will complement your badge, sew around the outside of the badge. I go a few millimetres in on the top and use that as a guide. This step binds the layers of the badge together, so it’s important. You don’t have to be too precise though, getting it all perfectly alligned and ensuring no glimpse of fabric between stitches makes this part very time consuming. I tend to go quicker – a bit of imperfection gives it character.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Once you’ve gone right round the outside of the badge, sew on the brooch back. I use around three stitches on each side of each hole on the brooch back is enough, but you want to ensure that it’s secure when you tug on it. Knot the thread securely and cut off any stray bits.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

You’re done! Look how fantastic it looks!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

jennitalula merit badges

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Sunday Crafting

jennitalula

Well, my affirmations are all completed and today I spent a couple of hours assembling them all into a quilt. When I was thinking about how to border it I remembered that I had a stack of charm squares from a previous fabric order many months ago.

So I made them into a border and there were exactly enough to go right around the quilt with nothing left over. Must have been meant to be!

My quilt is bright and colourful and full of love, and I’m very happy with it.

This week I’ll put it together with batting and backing and it shouldn’t take too long to quilt and then I can hang it on the wall above my bed!

Phew!

Things I Love Thursday

When you’ve been laid up in bed two days it’s kind of hard to see the bright side of things, especially this morning when I really legitimately wanted to go to work but my head got fuzzy when I stood up for longer than the length of a shower.

Also there was a huge earthquake last week and it freaked me out.

BUT!

There is still a lot to love.

Flatmate-Date with Ellen to Mother Brown’s and then Te Papa for the Warhol exhibition. Quite in love with two of his works now which I hadn’t been familiar with before the exhibit: Silver Clouds installation (giant silver pillows some helium filled, in a room with fans blowing. And his picture of Keith Haring and his boyfriend cuddling. I adore Keith Haring so much ❤

Spreading the Welcome to Night Vale virus love. It’s just a really good podcast guys! I loooove it.

My bedroom: Okay it’s not perfect, but what I have realised is that I’m happy to spend extended periods of time in here. I have lovely big windows that let in light and a view of trees and the sunset (right now) and I can hear birds chirping. The room keeps heat in relatively well and I have enough room on my bed to spread out the larp props I’m working on and still take a nap if I want to. Environment means a lot to me, especially when I’m sick, and I have a good one here ❤

Reading: It is such a simple thing. But when I don’t want to be upright and I can’t quite sleep yet, reading is the best. I have a lot of books on the go at the moment, but really enjoying re-reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Good old dystopian YA novels, eh?

I do not love distances much, or goodbyes but I am so grateful for skype, and for instant messaging. My Jess ❤ it makes her a bit closer.

Catching up with people and sharing my travel photos. I love to do it. If anyone wants to experience my travel photos, I’m only too happy to share 🙂

Honourable Mentions: Vicks formula 44 chesty cough syrup, my Pacific Rim action figures, new fabric, clean laundry, flatmates who cook, creativity flowing, new friends. Mumford and Sons, Welcome to Night Vale fan art, silly roleplaying and orange juice.

Sunday Crafting

This week I’ve been doing embroidery… I had a couple of ideas off pinterest and they were easy enough to do myself.

Here’s my new favourite thing:

jenni needlepoint

and then I did this one:

jennitalula needlepoint

(Which… you need to see Empire Records to be able to understand it I think.)

and I have also done some more work on hand quilting the double wedding ring quilt. I figured out a way to show you my progress, kind of, which is to photograph the underside of the quilt, you can see the white thread for the bits I’ve done.

jennitalula quilting

So well, scale’s not that good, but I’ve done a section from the middle of the quilt.

Sunday crafting

I have made excellent progress on the double wedding ring quilt, but sewing the rows together is difficult and not a little stressful. So…. Today I did what Steve does with writing and had a play, making what I wanted to sew for fun.

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I pasted pictures of authors/songwriters I admire onto cardboard to form most of my power squad. I just need one of Steve as well and then I can assemble my Badass circle of inspiration.

Then I cut out and pinned and sewed four marshmallow bunnies in pink and green.

jennitalula marshmallow bunnies

These two are stuffed, just need eyes and noses now but look how cute!

Then I got hardcore and finished off my LARP cushions for 33AR…first another log cabin one with a massive devil’s trap on the back:

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And then another one using the trial run I did over a year ago for the double wedding ring quilt. I appliqued the ring onto some white and painted a delicate bronze devil’s trap on the back.

jennitalula ring

And I made another littler patchy cushion and look how cute the cushions are all together. (Two new ones shown with the one I finished previously.)

jennitalula cushions

Wheeee I got lots done today!
(Also did writing for the Kirby High larp I’m running at Hydra and started organising the pantry and helped clean the kitchen.)

Sunday crafting

This is getting to be a thing. Three Sundays in a row. Pinterest has a lot to answer for.

Following a very productive trip to Trash Palace, Spotlight and Pete’s Emporium I have a bunch of stuff I had been wanting. Feeling thus inspired when me and Ellen got home from our road trip I hopped onto the sewing machine.

I finished a prop for 33AR – a patchwork pouch I can hang from a belt and store things in. Most likely my drink bottle, but it can also work as a kind of loose gun holster. If I don’t get around to making another… well, I’ll make the decision of whether I want a gun or water on the day.

jennitalula patchwork bag

Inspired by this neat idea for old jeans (which I found off pinterest), I made four wee storage containers and used them to organise my sewing desk and therefore make lots of little useful things like ribbons, zips and buttons easier to find in the craft room.

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*happy sigh* look how organised it is.

I got a couple of wee embroidery hoops at Pete’s and sewed up a few more calico squares with pretty fabric to embroider words on too. I should take pictures of the ones of those I’ve already done, but for now you can look at my pile of things to embroider:

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My inspiration for what to do with that top one is here.