French Pear Embroidered Brooch

Last week I went to another workshop to make another brooch! This time it was at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London where the Royal School of Needlework are celebrating their 150 year anniversary with an exhibition. One of the tutors from RSN, Kate Pankhurst is running workshops inspired by the collection. This French pear brooch is inspired by traditional 19th century Berlin wool work that is on display in the exhibition.

I wanted to do this workshop because I want to use this technique in my final major project for my diploma and wanted to learn how to do it properly because I have seen some wonderful examples of it being used in other people’s work. The RSN has a reputation for excellence and high standards so I knew I would be learning the industry standard way to use this raised embroidery technique. For the workshop we were provided with printed fabric, needle and thread, wire, and a brooch pin.

The thread we used was variegated so the colour changed from light to dark throughout the skein. This worked so well for creating the colouring and shape of the pear and leaf, without needing several skeins of different colours. And, if applied correctly, you could achieve a really natural shading effect. I am usually quite methodical when working, but the nature of the variegated thread meant that you had to jump around the design to get the colours in the right places, which was a bit strange to me at first, but the more I did the easier it got.

Although the course lasted all day, there just wasn’t enough time to finish the brooch in one sitting. After sewing on the wire in the shape of the leaf and pear we spent all day using the brown thread to fill in the pear shape with French knots and even then I didn’t finish that, although some people did. As this was the case Kate demonstrated the next steps during the day, but also had created videos showing how to complete the brooch which she sent to us after the workshop.

After finishing the French knots, you then had to buttonhole around the edge before cutting the shapes out and joining them together by wrapping the wire with thread to create a stalk, and then finally sewing the pin to the back. Although this was a very labour intensive process I think the result is beautiful and I love the 3D effect you can create.

If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I have already put this technique to good use creating a flower for my final major project at college. It took me a really long time and I’m aiming to make 5-6 in total, alongside other components, so I’m really glad I attended this workshop to learn the correct way to achieve this result. The workshop cost £140 which also included entrance to the exhibition. It is running again on 1st July and there are loads of other events running in celebration of the 150th anniversary, not only at the Fashion and Textile museum, but also at Hampton Court Palace where RSN is based, and online.