18th Century, 20th Century

Cherries & Cherish: brooches in metal and wood

I’m feeling a little panicked about the HSF, because I’m still behind on my #17 Robes & Robing challenge, and I have a big entry to the #18 Re-Make challenge still to enter (though I did enter two little items), and I’m behind on the 1860s elliptical hoopskirt I’m making for the #19 Wood, Metal, Bone challenge.

So, to mollify myself I whipped up two super simple little items that qualify for ‘Wood, Metal, Bone’:

Vintage & antique inspired brooches, thedreamstress.com


The first, in metal, is a portrait brooch inspired by 18th century portrait brooches and bracelets.

Vintage & antique inspired brooches, thedreamstress.com


I printed out Ramsay’s Portrait of a Lady on parchment paper and cropped the face to the right dimensions.  I really liked that she was an un-named woman, so that her face didn’t have any connotations other than sweet and appealing.

Lady, possibly of the Cholmeley family by Allan Ramsay, ca 1740 UK

Lady, possibly of the Cholmeley family by Allan Ramsay, ca 1740 UK

Then I lacquered the paper to finish and preserve it, and when it was dry, inserted it into an old brooch back with extra layers of cardstock to further protect it.

Vintage & antique inspired brooches, thedreamstress.com
The brooch looked to plain as it was, so I sewed faux pearls in a garland around the portrait.  Super simple, but rather effective.

I’d originally based the look of the brooch loosely on 18th century examples in paintings, but then I found this article from the Girls Own Paper:

Girls Own Paper, 1905-7, thedreamstress.com
I can imagine a girl in 1906 reproducing Ramsay’s painting rather than a portrait of someone she knew, so the brooch has become quite multi-period.

My second item is even more simple:

Vintage & antique inspired brooches, thedreamstress.com


Three round cherry-coloured beads, a bit of wool felt, a bit of embroidery floss, a brooch back and a bit of paste to stiffen my ‘stems’ and affix the brooch and I have a cherry brooch:

Vintage & antique inspired brooches, thedreamstress.com


I was originally inspired by craft how-tos in some of my 1930s magazines (a 1937 one in particular has a nearly identical how-to only with dangling flowers instead of cherries), but cherries were popular ornamentation throughout the 19th and early 20th century, so I could pin this into the trimmings of a Victorian bonnet without it looking too out of place.

Vintage & antique inspired brooches, thedreamstress.com


I have to say that while the cherry brooch is cute, and I’m still madly in love with the idea, I’m not entirely satisfied with the end result.  I want to keep working on it and perfecting it.

The Challenge:  #19: Wood, Metal, Bone

Fabric:  wool felt (cherry brooch).

Pattern:  None

Year: Portrait brooch:  mid-late 18th century/1900s;  Cherry brooch:  1930s

Notions:  Portrait brooch:  vintage  metal brooch back ($5), faux pearls, thread, lacquer, paper (stash); Cherry brooch: embroidery floss, glue, wooden beads (.90 cents).

How historically accurate is it? Portrait brooch:  More inspired than accurate, but the accuracy level improves if I consider it ca 1905 rather than 18th century.  Cherry brooch: other than the glue, my technique is nearly identical to a 1930s tutorial, so pretty accurate.

Hours to complete:  1.5 for the pair

First worn:  I’ll be sporting the cherry brooch on my jacket this evening

Total cost:  NZ$5.90 for the pair



  1. Lori Kim Gibson aka: Obelia Mercedes Gibson {OMG} says

    Sweet!! I would soo put the cherries on an 18th century bonnet!! And – I’m always a sucker for anything with a ‘face’ on it too!!

  2. I’m a bit behind myself. It comes from deadlines for the challenges not quite matching wit the ones for the events I need the items for. So lots of project juggling. lol!
    And these little I didn’t plan it but it fits time/theme are actually surprisingly useful. 😉

  3. I’m pretty behind too. Been spending all my time either back-engineering computer programs or getting over the flu. I haven’t even started challenge 19, so good for you for getting something done!

    For some reason cherries as ladies’ ornamentation have always fascinated me.

  4. These brooches are great. Particularly like the cherry one. Would like to see the dangling flowers version too.

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