Struggling with broderie perse

I am struggling with this new-to-me technique, broderie perse.

applique 1I understand the concept, and I did a bit of online research to see exactly how it’s done.  However, I wasn’t able to find a lot of specific how-to information out there.  It was mostly historical information; it seems that broderie perse has fallen out of vogue.  A post on Barbara Brackman’s blog states that quilters would not cut very close to the actual outline of the shapes, but rather loosely in the background around the shapes.

Well.  That’s not going to work so well with my chosen appliques.  The background, seen here in my previous post, is more of a bluish periwinkle.  That won’t work with the black background of the quilt.

So I decided to try invisible thread; Superior’s MonoPoly in Smoke.  It really is very, very hard to see – so much so that I had to get a magnifying glass to thread my machine.

applique 2But I don’t like the little holes the needle leaves in the applique. I used a size 10 needle, which is the smallest needle I have.  But it was still leaving those ugly holes, and since the appliques are fused, I doubt the holes will close back up after washing or steaming.

applique 3So I switched to Bottom Line, which is a fine (60 wt) thread.  Didn’t care much for that look, either.

Back to brainstorming.  I briefly considered a denser zigzag, but that’s a TON of work, going around all those shapes, and I think in the end, it will detract from and obscure the appliques.

I’m actually considering pulling off all the flowers and doing a different type of applique for the borders, but the perfectionist in me is mentally stamping her foot and pouting because these flowers are so stinkin perfect for the quilt!

So.  Does anybody out there have any ideas, suggestions, or broderie perse resources I could check out?  I would greatly appreciate it!

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11 thoughts on “Struggling with broderie perse

    • Hi Brenda,
      The appliques DO have fusible webbing on the back already, but I don’t trust that the fusible will hold with time, use, and laundering. Everything really needs to be sewn down securely.

  1. I’ve never done this technique, but did a quick search for you. Have you read through this website for her instructions? The link is for Part 7a, but scrolling down to the bottom of this page, there are links to others pertaining to this technique. It appears the one right after this one may be what may help you.
    http://www.deborahwirsu.com/2014/07/09/applique-techniques-part-7a-broderie-perse-the-story-behind-the-technique/

    This is the other I mentioned with more detail on this technique by machine
    http://www.deborahwirsu.com/2014/07/16/applique-techniques-part-7b-making-broderie-perse-by-machine/

    Sorry I can’t be of any more help than this. Good luck.

    • Hi Vicki,
      Thanks for the links! I checked them out and realize that in my previous searches on the topic, I HAVE read both of them. Her applique looks better than mine because she’s using matching thread and a very tight, close zigzag. I’m not sure matching thread will work for me because my appliques are quite tight and small, and I’d need to change colors quite often, sometimes every quarter inch. But I will keep playing with the zigzag/blanket stitch idea and see if I can make it work!

  2. This technique is the first I learnt when I started quilting classes, and that was not at all what I had expected quilting/patchwork to be!
    We did it by hand, using a blanket stitch – I hope this is the correct name for what we call in French “point de feston”. And the thread we used was the one that is used for cross-stitch. My flowers had been cut in a rather thick fabric so I used 2 or 3 strands of thread to make sure I covered the border of the flowers properly.
    Hope this helps!

  3. What kind of fusible are you using? I’d try some other brands/types. I recently took a fusible class with Sue Nickels. She recommends and uses only a specific brand, Soft Fuse by Shades Textiles.
    Also is your needle brand new? if it was used before, make sure the point isn’t dulled, that could be making the big holes too.

  4. Have you ever heard of Di Ford? She is an Australian quilter and an expert on broderie perse. She makes beautiful quilts. She has writen several books to. Two years ago she created a mystery quilt for Quiltmania called Mountmellick. The mystery quilt was accompanied by you tube films on the techniques used, including broderie perse. The films are stil available on you tube. I hope this Will help! Good luck!

    • Oh, thank you so much, Marina! I will definitely check her out!

      I did finish the applique on the Neon Kaffe quilt a couple of weeks ago, just haven’t had a chance to blog about it yet. I went with a very small decorative stitch, sort of a modified zigzag. Once the viewer steps back from the quilt a couple of feet, the stitching is undetectable. 😀

  5. No pressure….but I would love to see some pics of the fabulous and beautiful Neon Kaffe – such eye candy. Please…lol. Thanks.

    • I would suggest you contact Interweave Press in Loveland Co. (according to my magazines) which publishes a magazine called Piecework. I have a couple but no info on what you are looking for. If you are not familiar with this magazine it is a Craft and History by hand. Wonderful read even if you never make anything. Sure they could help you.

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