Broderie Anglaise

Also know as

English Embroidery

A wonderful likeness of Broderie Anglaise is shown in the painting
Broken Vows, by Philip Calderon, 1857.

This embroidery is a kind of White Embroidery. It often goes by the name of Madeira Work and Irish Work. Whatever name it is called by, it is a very beautiful embroidery.

The following article is from The Dictionary of Needlework: An Encyclopieda of Artisitc, Plain, and Fancy Needlework, 1887, by S.F.A. Caulfeild and Blanche C. Saward. The article has been edited for use on this site.


Broderie Anglaise

An open embroidery upon white linen or cambric, differing from Madeira work in being easier to execute, but of the same kind. True Broderie Anglaise patterns are outlines of various sized holes, arranged to make floral or geometrical devices.

To work: Run embroidery cotton round the outlines, then piece the holes with a stiletto, or cut with scissors and turn the edges under and sew over with embroidery cotton. The art in the work consists in cutting and making all the holes that should be the same size to match, and in taking the sewing over stitches closely and regularly, as shown in Fig. 1, below.

broderie anglaise doily

Fig. 1.
Click on image to see more detail.

When used as an edging, a scalloped or vandyked border is worked in Buttonhole Stitch, as shown in Fig. 2, the outer lines of the border being run in the same manner as the holes, and the center frequently padded with strands of embroidery cotton.

broderie anglaise scallop edge

Fig. 2.
Click on image to see more detail.

Do not cut away the waste linen outside the Buttonhole until the work has been once washed, as it will then wear longer, and there is less fear of cutting the embroidery cotton in the process. When English Embroidery is used for an insertion, it requires no edging.

The work is adapted for trimming washing dresses or underlinen.


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