Over the last year, I've been asked by quite a few people on various occasions to add some brooches to The Empress Dowager's New Jewels' range but I've been hesitant because:
1. If they are to be part of The Empress Dowager's New Jewels, they have to be made from the same fabric "gems" that I use to make the necklaces. It's a rule that I've set for myself right from the beginning.
The "gems" are like my LEGO bricks - only pieces "built" using them are allowed to be included here. For example: sticking a few "gems" on a shirt to make an "embellished shirt" is not what we are about. The whole shirt has be made by joining "gems" together before it can be considered a piece of The Empress Dowager's New Jewels. Not unlike this.
2. I try not to make New Jewels that are similar to what's already available on the market - rosette/prize ribbon-type of brooches. Many of which are mass-produced and badly handmade out of cheap material. Sold at low low prices that I cannot possibly compete with seeing how I love using quality material and hand-stitching all my pieces.
However, after much thought (and due to "popular demand"...haha!), I have decided to add a few Empress Dowager's Prize Ribbons to the range and see how they do.
I've tried many ways to make them different from those that already exist but to show the "gems" off in their best light, no matter what size or configuration, I ultimately have to use the ruched side which makes the brooch look like...a rosette/prize ribbon!
So I'm hoping that my use of choice fabric from my beloved collection of Marimekko textiles and some by local designers will differentiate my brooches from the rest of the pack.
Also, like all Empress Dowager's New Jewels, these Prize Ribbons are 100% hand-stitched, with a lot of love, from start to finish.
And they are all one-offs, of course!
They might cost more than these but I truly hope that you will be able to see why.