My new sister in law Fiona asked me if I would make her a brooch bouquet similar to ideas we'd seen on Pinterest and while I was delighted to be asked and always up for a challenge I was a bit daunted at where to start. I hemmed and hawed about how to collect enough pieces to make a bouquet and where on earth I would get them without paying the earth. I followed a few lots of vintage brooches on eBay but I didn't really get going on collecting until I was shopping just after Christmas and noticed that lots of shops had their costume jewellery on sale. So I went on a mission to find bits of jewellery I could use. In fact, most of the pieces I used were not brooches but earrings or necklaces and bracelets which I took apart, hair accessories and some rings. I was lucky that Fiona wanted her bouquet to be colourful so anything went colourwise and I tried to get as many bigger pieces as I could with some little filler pieces as well. I wiped out the sale bin in Primark and got some great bits in New Look, Dorothy Perkins and Accessorize. BHS was also good and Morag picked up a few bits from Claire's. Fiona's mum also gave me a vintage dogwood ceramic brooch to use which I made sure could be seen well in the bouquet.
When I felt I had a good amount of pieces I started to wire them. I actually used thinner guage wire than I used for the Kusudama bouquet because with most pieces I threaded a wire through the piece and then twisted the ends together so each piece had a 'stem' made of double thickness wire to work with. For some pieces which were very heavy I used 2 pieces of thin wire, to give them more stability - you don't want anything flopping around. The easiest things to wire were those with gaps or holes so I could poke the wire through to the front and then over and back through again. Some things had no backing, like a brooch pin or earring back to work with and I just had to abandon using them as I couldn't get a wire securely fastened to them. Lesson learned - if I ever make another one of these I'll know exactly what to look for when choosing pieces. I then wrapped the wire in green floral tape which made everything seem a bit more secure and put together but you could totally skip this step if you're pushed for time.
The next part was the trickiest and took me a few attempt to get right. I'd seen a few online tutorials using fake flowers as a base for a brooch bouquet so I tried method out. Getting the stems attached around the fake blooms was difficult and I didn't like the petals showing through so I gave up on that idea. In the end I settled for making mini bouquets of 3 stems, using one large piece and two smaller pieces and then I attached lots of these little bouquets together to make a big one. It took trial and error and unwrapping and rearranging but in the end I had something i was happy with. I used poundshop electrical tape which is sticky enough to hold everything together but very easy to unwrap and alter. The bouquet was very heavy, and as you can see it wasn't huge so I can only imagine how heavy the bigger versions must be. The bridesmaids were smaller but made the same way. I made not attempt to match anything or used a pattern in terms of colour other than to avoid putting two very similar pieces together, totally random but I think it worked.
I then used the same technique as with the paper bouquets, wrapping the stems in craft foam. I wrapped the foam with double-sided tape which I covered by winding around a strip of cream silk. I made a collar for the bouquets using a tube of silk which I gathered around the base of the stems and hand sewed in place. I used some small buttons and brooches - leopard print for Fiona of course - to stick on the bottom of the handle with Gorilla glue to finish them off.
It wasn't difficult to make them and I think they held up well on the day itself. A specific colour scheme would have been trickier or if Fiona had wanted a larger bouquet it would have been harder to manage. If you want to DIY a brooch bouquet I would advise you to go for it. Give yourself plenty of time to collect the pieces you want to use and you may have to change and alter as you go along. For guidance I used about 50 pieces for Fiona's bouquet and 30 for the bridesmaids. Brodie complained it was very heavy but he looks good with a bit of sparkle wouldn't you say? Looking at the finished result makes all that wiring worthwhile! Any questions please ask and I'll try to give help if I can.