Mastering the Art of Sewing with Broderie Anglaise

Mastering the Art of Sewing with Broderie Anglaise

When it comes to sewing, we sometimes avoid choosing certain fabrics for fear that they will be difficult to sew with, especially when you are starting out. One of the more unique and beautiful types of fabric to work with, which can seem a little daunting to sew, is broderie anglaise. In this article, we will delve into what it is and provide some tips for sewing with broderie anglaise to inspire you to give it a try.


What is Broderie Anglaise?

Broderie anglaise fabric, often simply referred to as broderie, is a type of embroidery that originated in 16th century Europe. The term broderie anglaise means "English embroidery," in French but ironically, it is believed to have originated in Czechoslovakia before becoming popular in England. This type of broderie fabric is often designed using small circular holes, also called eyelets, which are cut out of the fabric, then finished with either an overcast or buttonhole stitch. The patterns, often depicting flowers, leaves, vines, or stems, are further embellished with needlework, creating a lace-like effect.


What fabric is used to make broderie anglaise?


Fabrics Galore white broderie anglaise fabrics 

Broderie Anglaise is usually made from 100% cotton although other fabrics can be used. For example, at Fabrics Galore, we have a lovely jersey broderie anglaise which is 80% cotton, 15% polyester and 5% elastane. People usually think of white when they think of broderie anglaise; however, broderie can come in any colour and we also stock a navy blue, black and green version in addition to the more traditional white broderie fabrics.  


Navy Broderie Anglaise Daisy Pattern 100% cotton fabric    100% cotton Green Floral Broderie Anglaise Fabric
Navy daisy dot and Olive Green white flower lines broderie anglaise


What Can I Make with Broderie Anglaise?


Broderie Anglaise is an incredibly popular fabric in the summer months and looks so fresh when made up as a dress, blouse or even a skirt (see our tips below on lining broderie). It is perfect for sewing children’s summer clothes and christening dresses for babies. Broderie edged pillowcases, duvet covers and cushions can also look very pretty.


Tips for Sewing with Broderie Anglaise


Sewing with broderie anglaise can be a rewarding experience, but it does require a bit of skill and patience. Here are some sewing tips to help you work with this lovely fabric:


  1. Carefully determine the right and wrong side of the broderie anglaise fabric before you cut. The embroidered elements will be slightly raised on the right side and feel fractionally smoother.

  2. The most important part of sewing with broderie fabric is the placement of all that detail. For example sometimes the fabric comes with a scalloped edge which you will want to make a part of your garment design such as the hem or on the ends of your sleeves. Plan for this before cutting your fabric.  

  3.  Use the right needle and thread: When sewing with broderie anglaise, it's important to use a sharp needle that can easily pierce the fabric without fraying it. A size 70/10 needle is usually suitable. As for the thread, choose a high-quality cotton or polyester thread that matches the colour of your fabric. But remember aside from the detail this is just another cotton fabric, so take the pressure off. 

  4.  Adjust your machine settings: Broderie anglaise fabric is delicate, so it's crucial to adjust your sewing machine settings accordingly. Use a shorter stitch length (around 2.0mm) to prevent tearing the fabric. This is also a good idea because of the holes in the fabric you want to still catch as much of it as possible for sturdy seams. 

  5. Handle with care: Broderie anglaise is delicate and can fray easily, so handle it with care. Avoid pulling or stretching the fabric as you sew. And it might be good practice to cut the pieces out with pinking shears to reduce the fraying.
  6. French seams or overlocking are often the preferred option for broderie anglaise, as they will be visible through the holes, but you won’t need to French seam your garment if you are lining it.  

  7. Practice makes perfect: If you're new to sewing with broderie anglaise, practice on scrap pieces of fabric first. This will help you get a feel for how the fabric behaves under the needle.


Suitable Linings for Broderie Anglaise Fabric


When it comes to lining fabrics for broderie, it's important to choose a fabric that complements the delicate nature of broderie anglaise. We always think it is best to line your garment with a similar fabric so as most broderies are cotton it’s best to line it with something cotton to.  Lightweight fabrics like cotton voile and cotton mull are good choices. The lining fabric should not be too heavy or stiff, as it can affect the drape and look of the broderie anglaise. If your pattern requires interfacing, always attach it to the lining, not the broderie anglaise fabric.


Best Patterns for Broderie Anglaise

There are so many gorgeous patterns which would look amazing made up in broderie anglaise, so we have picked a few favourite broderie-friendly patterns from our friends at The Foldline. 


Top 19 from You Made My Day at The Foldline


Fibre Mood Mira Dress at The Foldline


Matchy Matchy Ruffle Brunch Set Pattern at the Foldline 



Get Ready to Sew with Broderie Anglaise


At Fabrics Galore, we hope you will try sewing with broderie anglaise fabric as it can be such a rewarding experience. This unique and beautiful fabric adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any sewing project and instantly elevates your summer wardrobe. With the right tools, techniques, and a bit of practice, you can create stunning garments and home decor items with broderie anglaise. Feel free to contact us for advice on sewing with broderie and suitable linings for this pretty fabric.

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