April 13, 2012

Tricia wrote, “Do you have any knowledge of Broderie Perse appliqué? I heard that it is an old technique using chintz fabric?”

Broderie perse is French for “Persian embroidery” though I don’t know exactly why.

According to the book Art of the Needle: 100 Masterpiece Quilts from the Shelburne Museum by Henry Joyce, European-made chintzes were introduced to America in the 1900s. Chintz fabric cost a pretty penny back then, and quilters made crafty use of it by cutting out motifs, spreading them out in pleasing arrangements, and appliquéing them onto a larger background.

“Chintz fabrics were extremely expensive, and by cutting pieces to appliqué on a quilt, a small amount of costly fabric could be used to provide a design for a much larger surface. Only well-to-do women could afford the fabrics and had the leisure to make chintz appliquéd quilts.”

In our modern times, when I think of broderie perse, I think of Judy Severson.

Judy once gave a lecture at my quilt guild, where she showed us glorious examples of the broderie perse method of appliqué that she is so wonderful at. She told us that one of the secrets for success is to find a perfect match in the color of the background fabric that you’re going to use and the background of the printed motifs that you’re going to cut out.

The noted quilt historian Barbara Brackman wrote about Judy on her blog Material Culture. In the post she also includes information on how to see examples of antique broderie perse quilts on the website of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.

Christine Maxwell Bonney has a gorgeous slide show over on her blog Garden Cottage Quilts that shows Judy’s work in addition to some historical examples of broderie perse.

Here’s my one foray into the form.

It’s an example in my book Baskets to Appliqué, to show how you can get creative with the designs. I used fusible web, cut the bouquet out, stuck it in a basket, and stitched it with a small machine blanket stitch. Judy, move over! (Not.)

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Comments

8 Responses to “Broderie Perse”

  1. Carrie P. on April 16th, 2012 9:22 am

    thanks for sharing those links.

  2. Angie SoCal on April 18th, 2012 8:06 pm

    What a lovely basket – a beautiful example of broderie perse, Kay. Curious – did you find that bouquet in home decorating fabric? I don’t see much fabric like that in the stores.

  3. Welcome new readers, and broderie perse fabrics : All About Applique on April 21st, 2012 12:10 pm

    […] my recent post about broderie perse, Angie SoCal asked, “Curious – did you find that bouquet in home decorating fabric? I […]

  4. June Cowles on April 30th, 2012 4:53 pm

    Beautiful! Maybe someday I can do that.

  5. Welcome new readers, and broderie perse fabrics : All About Applique on July 14th, 2017 1:28 pm

    […] my recent post about broderie perse, Angie SoCal asked, “Curious – did you find that bouquet in home decorating fabric? I […]

  6. Martha on April 19th, 2018 7:27 pm

    Broderie Perse Applique is a recent interest of mine. In addition to Barbara Brackman’s book, I found some YouTube videos helpful as they show steps and variation in techniques. More recently completed examples can be seen in Pinterest postings of creations by Darla Jo Hanks and others. There is currently an excellent exhibit at International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, which used broderie perse plus English paper piecing in several richly embellished smaller works made by Molly Anderson over the past 20 years.

  7. Kay Mackenzie on April 20th, 2018 7:51 am

    Martha, thank you for the additional information on Broderie Perse!!!

  8. Nancy S. on November 13th, 2019 7:35 pm

    Thank you so much for this.

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