Spring 2024: Google ended its email subscription service in 2021. I believe I've found a replacement, but haven't had time to test it. I have been stitching a little bit here and there and have some posts ready for when the email subscription is active again. Fingers crossed, I'll have time to rouse this blog out of its dormancy sometime this year.

30 August 2018

Remembrance Poppy Pin

Armistice Day, 11 November 2018, will be the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The Flanders poppy, a brilliant red flower, is an oft-used symbol of this horrific conflict. In several countries, paper poppies are sold in the autumn to raise money for veterans' causes.

Silk and cotton threads surround a paper remembrance poppy

I have long been fascinated by World War I and its aftermath, and I find the symbolic poppies to be very poignant. I know there are embroiderers and other textile artists who have created poppies, especially over the last few years as the centenary of the war has been observed. With the anniversary of the end of the war approaching, I've been wanting to create and stitch my own poppy.

Recently, I've also become interested in miniature embroidery used as jewelry. I've been scouring the Internet (mostly Etsy) looking for suitable jewelry settings. I found some basic settings that are perfect for my poppy purposes. The settings, which are available as pendants, brooches/pins, and earrings, consist of plain bezels, a domed mounting piece, and a covered back.

A selection of metal pin settings in gold and silver used for mounting wearable embroidery projects

There are different sizes of ovals, rounds, rectangles, and other shapes. They are primarily available in silver or gold/brass finishes. I have also been able to find the bezels in black.

An assortment of pin setting in different shapes (round and rectangular) for use in mounting wearable embroidery projects

I thought that the 30mm round pin would be an ideal candidate for a small embroidered poppy. The outer diameter of the finding is about 1 3/16". The design area available inside the bezel is about 1 1/16" (approximately 27mm).

I created a basic poppy design, transferred it to some black cotton quilting fabric, and made my first poppy. This one has subtle red shading in DMC stranded cotton and a green centre with bullion knots. It took about 3 hours from tracing to mounting in the pin setting.

The first poppy prototype mounted in a silver pin setting

I played around a bit with the first prototype. I tried not doing a split stitch outline to save time, but didn't like the results so only one petal lacks an outline. (No one would notice the difference!) The prototype is merely a proof of concept and is incomplete. I wanted to see how things would work.

I moved on to stitching the real poppy, well, that should be poppies. I couldn't stop with one poppy, of course. I had to try a few other combinations.

Here they are (if you click on the image you can view them larger than actual size!):

Five different versions of the emboirdered remembrance poppy mounted in different colours pin settings

I used DMC cotton floss for the first three: A, B, and C. They are very similar, especially A and B where the primary difference is that I used bullion knots in the centre on A and straight stitches on B. B has better shading, but given how small these are it's probably not that noticeable. C has a black centre which I'm not sure I like, but I do like the way the straight stitches with two greens look on top of the black centre. I also added more red shades to C so that it would take a lot longer to stitch! These poppies are so small that there is no need to use more than about three shades of red.

I had to do a couple poppies in silk thread on silk fabric (D and E). (The photo doesn't do the silk versions justice; they have a beautiful rich silky glow.) I had some Piper's silk in my stash so I tried it out on D. I only had two Piper's reds so D stitched up very quickly. E is the really special one, however. It is embroidered with World War I vintage antique silk which seemed incredibly appropriate. I didn't put any French knots around the centre and left it very simple so the red silk could shine through. E is my favourite.

The one with antique silk looks very nice on my wool jacket. (It's hard to think about wearing wool at the moment with summer still blazing away!)

Embroidered remembrance poppy mounted in a silver pin setting pinned to green wool jacket

Here are all five with their paper compatriots:

All five embroidered poppies shown with three paper remembrance poppies on green background

These were a lot of fun and very simple to stitch. It took me a while to finish them off because I did some experimentation that I picked out and re-stitched. The pin mountings are easy-to-use, and it's fun to wear one's work! I can't wait to make some more pins/pendants with different designs.

The pattern will be made available very soon as a free download along with some basic instructions. I will also include an Etsy link where I purchased the pin settings.

Update: The pattern is available.


  1. This is such a beautiful and meaningful project! I love them all, but E was my favourite too, even before I read that you had used antique silks, very fitting. Here in Canada, our poppies are a bit different. The findings you found are just what I've been looking for, I'd like to try some embroidered brooches too! Really looking forward to your pattern, so kind of you to offer it for free ��

  2. It's gorgeous. Thanks for sharing- I can't wait to make one.

  3. Beautiful. Can't wait for the pattern and info on the findings. Thanks.

  4. I remember selling poppies as a child for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

  5. I was fortunate enough to see these pins in person, and I agree, the silk, especially the antique silk, is outstanding.

  6. These are beautiful! I've recently become interested in miniature hand embroidery that can be worn as jewelry such as pins and pendants. So delightfully fun and unique! However, I've struggled to find a place to buy the pin settings in bulk. Have you found any good places?

    1. Thank you. I don't know of any sources for bulk buying. I only needed a few and bought my settings on etsy.