July 20, 2014

The 'ins and outs' of Broderie Perse

Broderie Perse, or Persian Embroidery, is a lovely applique technique first used in the 1700's. Originally only the wealthy could afford the expensive Chintz that was used, but today we have a huge range of gorgeous patterned fabric that lends itself to this technique.

It really is very simple; it's a method of cutting out a motif from fabric and applying it to another fabric - cheat's applique if you like!

 I used the process in my Elegancia Bed Runner and Cushion. Just imagine trying to applique lots of small bits and pieces to obtain the effect of the different colours in the fan and flowers. Then there are the sticks on the fan - it would be difficult and time-consuming to applique them in position on one fan, let alone six that I have used in the project.

This design lent itself to Broderie Perse. The fans were so pretty that they cried out to be showcased on their own. I simply cut around the fan shape very carefully, including some adjacent flowers. Other flowers were then cut out to add to the design where I felt they were needed. 

The steps involved are:

*   Choose the motif and cut out roughly an inch outside of it.
*   Apply a piece of fusible webbing to the wrong side.
*   Cut out carefully around the chosen design, using very sharp, small scissors.
*   Fuse everything in place.
*   Finish the edges and other embellishment by machine or hand embroidery - blanket-stitch, zigzag, satin stitch, straight stitch or whatever you choose.

For Elegancia, I used a clear mono-filament to stitch the fan and flowers to the background.

One of the key things in making Broderie Perse work is the choice of background fabric. 

You can see that the background fabric from which I cut the fans is black, so by choosing the same colour on which to applique the motifs, the process is seamless. Imagine what it would look like if the fan had been appliqued onto, say, a white fabric. The black fabric between the fan sticks would stand out like a sore thumb!

It IS possible sometimes to get away with a different colour background. In my Persian Rose cushion, I have cut away all the background fabric from the motif. You can see that the leaves, roses and buds have no background fabric showing:

This meant that I could applique them to the burgundy background without worrying about any colour clashes. I then blanket-stitched around the cut edges and continued the blanket-stitching around the flowers to pick out the shapes:

Broderie Perse is a technique that I really should use more often. There is no way that I can draw or paint anything like the fabulous artists who produce such beautiful images on their fabric. Then there's the time-factor, Broderie Perse is quick! I recommend you try it out!

Talking about quick projects, my husband and I are going on an overseas trip in a few weeks, so it was time yesterday to think about how we were going to carry all our travel documents, passports etc. I found a travel wallet pattern at Spotlight and made a few modifications to suit what we needed and made one for each of us in just a couple of hours. Hubby's is just plain dark green, but mine uses some pretty blue oriental fabric left-overs - entirely appropriate since we are off to Japan:

Plenty of pockets for all the documents:

Now I think I'll go through my stash and pick something pretty to do some more Broderie Perse!

Happy stitching


Melody said...

Lovely stitching, Val

Regina vicentini said...

Bom dia Val!
Lindo este trabalho e fiquei entusiasmada para fazê-lo. Parabéns amiga! Tenha um lindo domingo e uma semana na presença do Senhor! Beijos

Gina E. said...

I thought I'd left a comment here, but it must have got lost in cyberspace...I noticed your Elegancia project in a recent mag that I bought, so this blog post is very timely, as I may not have thought about attempting it, but you described the process very well.
I love the blue oriental fabric you've used for your travel wallet - it won't be hard to find when you need it! Have a great trip :-)

Createology said...

Very lovely and practical. Just what I appreciate the most. This would have been handy for my recent travels. Creative Bliss...