Cynthia Rutledge - Contemporary Designs of Timeless Elegance
Milady's Brooch & Pendant Ornament
©2009 by Cynthia Rutledge

About the Kit

Available Colorways

Kit price - $130
Please email here to order.

Milady's Brooch & Pendant Ornament Kit ©2009 by Cynthia Rutledge

The bodice of a gown has always provided one of the most spectacular settings for displaying imposing jewelry. For a lady, getting dressed in the mid 1700's was an adventure. She had to think ahead and usually needed the help of a servant. The lady would prepare herself for being dressed by having her hair finished, her shift (short day/night dress), cap, earrings, stockings, garters and shoes on, in preparation for the stays being laced around her. This, she could not do herself as they usually laced up the back. Stays were made from multiple layers of fabric that were quilted together leaving vertical channels. The channels held either strips of chair cane or baleen for support. Once laced around the body, they offered the smooth, conical body shape, popular of the time.

Milady's Brooch & Pendant Ornament Kit ©2009 by Cynthia RutledgeFor a lot of gowns, the next layer would have been the addition of panniers. Panniers were tied around the waist and changed the width of the wearer's hips. These shaped cages were made from layers of fabric and chair cane, with musket balls added to the frame for weight. Then came a series of petticoats with the last petticoat being the most decorative. Tied around the waist, their number would depend on how your wealth.

A stomacher was then pinned over the top of the stays, for beauty and to hide the stays from view. This item was usually highly decorated with embroidery, pearls and trims. A stomacher was a long triangular shaped piece, stiffened with multiple layers of fabric. The gowns bodice would then be placed on the lady, pulled really tight around the body and laced, over the top or underneath the stomacher then pinned or sewn into place.

If the lady was dressed appropriately for a formal occasion, her servant would then pin or sew one or more bodice ornaments to the front of her stomacher. These elaborate bodice ornaments were large, stone-encrusted pieces that were made of gold. Shaped to cover the upper edge of the stomacher, most surviving examples are works of art. The ornaments were usually made of open filigree work masterfully done in gold, set with diamonds, precious and semi-precious stones. The lady was just about ready, with finishing touches depending on fashion. But at this point she was resplendent!

The fabulous bodice ornaments that have survived from the 18th century inspired Milady's Brooch & Pendant Ornament. A trillion shaped stone is set within Peyote Stitch then layer upon layer of Peyote Stitch and embellishing techniques make channels, or paths of beadwork, that hold small pearls and CZs set in fine metal settings. The edges are finished with a stylized foliage design representing filigree work. A pearl encrusted dangle adds movement to the bottom of the ornament. Lavishly set, extremely rich in ornament, this piece can be a brooch or a pendant. If the wearer chooses the pendant style, then we will add a shaped bail and slide the pendant over a simple Peyote Stitch tube with a toggle and loop closure for a spectacular finish! For those that would prefer a brooch, we will sew a high quality pin-back to the back of the beadwork so that you can wear this ornament in 18th century style. Whatever style of ornament you choose, the kit includes materials to make a pair of earrings to match the pearl drop on the ornament.


  • Tubular Peyote stitch (even and odd count) with increasing
  • Stitching-in-the-ditch
  • Split circle techniques for the closure of the necklace
  • Netting
  • Flat circular Peyote stitch with increasing
  • Stone setting

Skill Level: Advanced. You must be very comfortable with Peyote stitch.


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