Broderie Anglaise….no, Eyelets!

Broderie Anglaise is a form of whitework embroidery in which round or oval holes are pierced in the material, and the cut edges then overcast.broderie_anglaise0001 The holes, or eyelets, are grouped in a pattern that is further enhanced by simple embroidery stitches on the surrounding material. This form of embroidery involves considerable time and effort and depending upon the overall design, can be pretty expensive.

IMG_1839In my mind, I wanted the look of broderie anglaise, but thus far the ability to cut out so many holes has eluded me…well, sort of…I’m still working on it. In the meantime, the “Eyelet 1″ collection has nine designs, with floral type meandering vines, which sort of give the illusion of broderie anglaise.

The designs are extremely versatile, and can be stitched out just as adornment, without even cutting out the “eyelet holes” or as shown on a child’s t-shirt, embellished with ribbon to give a boost to an otherwise ordinary t-shirt!

The technique is really very very simple…just like cutwork there are three steps to creating the “eyelet”. Water solubleIMG_1827 stabilizer is necessary for stitching out the designs as eyelets. If using fabric which may shrink after washing, it is highly recommended that it be washed prior to adding the embroidery. Every design has three colors. Only one color is needed to stitch out the design and the other two are deliberate stops for your machine. The first step is placement.  Stitch out the first color directly on the stabilizer.  I bet many of you are thinking how the fabric will be attached to the hoop! Well, I never hoop my fabric, ever, only the stabilizer. The fabric is attached using long pins or water soluble glue. As we are using water soluble stabilizer, using a glue is not a good idea as the dampness may cause holes in the stabilizer! I normally pin my fabric away from the embroidery area.

Before pinning fabric to the stabilizer, it wouldn’t hurt to sort of figure out where you will be placing the design. Print out an actual size of the design on paper and use it as a template. If you do not have software which will allow you to print the design, may I plug in a bit about Embird at this time. I have used the software for the last ten plus years and believe me, it is the most affordable and useful editing software out there.

IMG_1828Moving on with our instructions, use air erase pen to mark your fabric, specially if you will be creating a border as in the t-shirt above. This marking and the stitched out placement on the stabilizer makes it easy to know IMG_1829before hand where the eyelets will be. Once your fabric is pinned well to the stabilizer, go ahead and stitch out the next thread color. This is the cutwork guide. The fabric on the inside of the tiny zig-zag stitches will be trimmed away to allow us to create the “eyelet” hole!

I guess you now understand the reason for the three colors! The next step is very crucial and believe me, when I say do not hold the hoop in your hand to trim away from inside the round circles, I mean it! I highly recommend that you remove the hoop from the machine, place it on a flat surface (without anything else on it), and then gently trim away the fabric inside the zig-zag circles, taking care not to cut into the stabilizer. If you were to hold the hoop in your hand and then try to trim the IMG_1832afabric…you may move stabilizer and the fabric, which will throw your design completely off and the eyelets final stitches may be somewhere else! See my picture of the trimmed out fabric…IMG_1843AA

Now the fun part begins…stitching out the design. Once your have trimmed away the fabric from inside the zig-zag circles…take care at this time to trim away as clean as possible. The final stitches will cover up a lot but you don’t want loose threads poking through the final satin stitches. Lovely, isn’t it.

The eyelet designs can be used in so many ways. The best way that I like is to use them to gather little girl’s outfits. The idea came from a dear friend who was visiting me and saw me stitch out the t-shirt at the top of the page. My friend suggested that I use the design totally around the t-shirt and then gather it with the ribbon. Great idea! So, here is my t-shirt for my dear friend’s grand-daughter!

To use the eyelet designs as a draw-string, I had to stitch out the plain eyelet in the dead center of the t-shirt after the other designs were stitched out. This allowed me to run the ribbon all around the t-shirt, and bring out each ends from the center eyelets. Love the shirt and as for the collection….it will be released very soon!



Comments (2)

Joan MurrayMay 5th, 2013 at 5:48 am

As usual very unique and beautiful. Joan

Marjorie PaulMay 5th, 2013 at 11:41 am

Oh, do I like this! And with four granddaughters to sew for, it’s a must have. Too bad I can’t figure something for Jake – will think about that. I appreciate your blog about Broderie Anglaise and how to sew out these designs. I enjoy your Facebook postings, Sadia. Do take care!

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