Croft Mill

A Guide to Broderie Anglaise Fabric

Broderie anglaise is a beautiful type of fabric with a delicate and elegant aesthetic. It is quite versatile and can be used to make a variety of garments such as blouses, dresses and shirts to name just a few. Many sewers also use broderie anglaise for different crafts and for creating soft furnishings like bedsheets

In this edition of the Croft Mill blog, we will look in more detail at broderie anglaise fabric.

The term 'broderie anglaise' is French and means 'English embroidery'. Though the fabric originated in eastern Europe in the 16th century, it will be forever associated with England as it became so popular there in the 19th century, when it got its current name.

The defining feature of broderie anglaise is eyelets, small oval or round holes that are first cut out of the material before being bound with buttonhole or overcast stitches. These holes are arrange to form patterns; usually floral in nature, the patterns form flowers, stems, leaves and vines. Often, extra embroidery stitches on the material are used to enhance these patterns.

In Victorian times, the designs were first laid out using transfers. The holes were either punched out before the edge was finished using an embroidery stiletto or were alternatively cut out using scissors after the material was embroidered. By as early as the 1870s, embroidery machines were being used to create broderie anglaise in a stunning and diverse array of patterns and styles.

Broderie anglaise reached its first peak of popularity between the years 1840-1880 and was primarily used to craft children's wear and women's undergarments. The fabric underwent a resurgence in its popularity in the 1950s as a dress trim. One of the most famous examples of the fabric being used on a dress is that worn by Brigitte Bardot in 1959 at her wedding.

Created using a whitework needlework technique, finished broderie anglaise fabric incorporates several different features of needle lace, embroidery and cutwork, resulting in a unique aesthetic that is a delight to behold.

Here at Croft Mill, we have an eclectic collection of broderie anglaise fabrics to choose from in White, Cream and Black colour options. Please browse our website for more details and don't forget that we have a fully-stocked haberdashery with all of those sewing essentials. If you need any further information or advice, our skilled team is always available to help.

We'd love to see what YOU have been making using our fabrics so please send your photographs to us and your creations could be featured in the 'Inspiration' section of our website!

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