The History of Broderie Anglaise

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Brought to England in the 19th Century, Broderie Anglaise is an ancient technique which is believed to have originated in Czech Republic.

Very popular at it’s time in 1840-80, Broderie Anglaise is created using open worked spaces in varying shapes and sizes. Although it did not originate in England, it continues to be associated with English Heritage due to it’s popularity in England during the 19th Century.

1890 Broderie Anglaise ‘Afternoon Dress’

The technique works by tracing a design out onto a piece of fabric, which is firstly worked with a basic running stitch. The insides of the shapes are then cut, and finished with either an overcast stitch, or a buttonhole stitch.

1855 English Broderie Anglaise


1850-1850, English Broderie Anglaise on a Christening Robe

This exquisite technique, known for it’s traditional white on white finish is extremely time consuming, and was often used to create Victorian underwear, nightwear, trimmings, and for babies’ clothes and linen. These were very fancy, luxurious items.

Chloe Spring 2015 / Valentino Spring 2015

In the 21st Century, Broderie Anglaise is interpreted less as a luxury fashion item, and more suited to daytime and casual wear during the summer seasons. They are also often machine embroidered rather than hand stitched now.

If you would like to learn this beautiful traditional hand technique, London Embroidery school offer an evening class which teaches you the basics of Broderie Anglaise. Book your place , or join our lace series course to learn all three traditional lace techniques, including Lace Appliqué, Broderie Anglaise and Limerick Lace!

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