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Broderie Perse : The pretty patterned Applique technique

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Do you have small scraps of fabrics with pretty designs which you want to keep forever. Broderie Perse is your method then – cut them out, applique on the fabric you wish to use for your projects.

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Broderie Perse  applique is the name given to the method of appliqueing pretty pictures on another piece of fabric. Designs from printed fabric are cut out and then they are stitched on the fabric. This is a method usually used to embellish quilt blocks.

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Tips for successfully doing a Broderie Perse applique

It can be a difficult or easy technique depending on how you cut, and then sew the designs on the foundation fabric.

Choose designs with the same background (color) as the foundation fabric. This will make it look truly integrated into the fabric. With this work, you do not want the design to stand out. You want the design to look like a part of the fabric.

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Cut out the floral motif. Place it in position. 

If the backgrounds are different, you can still use the design. You will have to ensure that the background is either cut away completely or folded to the inside so that it is not visible.

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You will have to decide whether to use the flower shapes individually or as a whole. It is always better to stitch small motifs.

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You have to use a needle turn method and stitch with ladder stitch for a neat look which is the best. If you do not mind the visible stand-out effect, use blanket stitch (hand sewing) (as in the picture above) or satin stitch along the outline.

Here are 2 ways of doing the Broderie Perse:

Raw edge applique with a sewing machine

Keep the motif on the fabric – adhere it there with the help of fabric glue or double sided fusible web. Then sew along the edge with satin stitch (closely done zig zag stitch) with the sewing machine.

Related posts : How to do a satin stitch; zig zag stitch.

Needle turn applique with hand sewing

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This will give your edges a very neat look – the applique will look truly a part of the foundation fabric.

In this, the design is cut with some extra all around and then this extra is folded under the design and the edge is stitched using ladder stitches or blanket stitches.

Cut out the design 1/4 inch larger than along the design outline. This portion will be folded and turned under using the needle (hence the name – needle turn applique) and then stitched.

Ladder stitch is usually used to sew the applique because the design will look like it is floating on the fabric. No stitches will be visible on top or edges if you do the stitching correctly. But you can use a blanket stitch too.

Related posts : How to do needle turn applique properly; How to do a blanket stitch ; How to do a ladder stitch

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After you have cut out all the shapes, pin them in place. And start stitching. Do not limit yourself to floral designs for your applique – cut out all the interesting prints you find and use them for your broderie perse applique. Maybe you can make your own artwork this way.

Obviously there are many other artists/sewists who does this applique work a lot better than me. You can browse with those pictures for your inspiration. 

Related post : How to do applique with a sewing machine ; How to hand applique; How to applique letters.

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Author: Sarina Tariq
Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
1 thought on “Broderie Perse : The pretty patterned Applique technique”
  1. Sandra

    Hi Sabrina,
    Here are a couple of suggestions for machine embroidery.

    Place a sheet of paper underneath the item you want to machine embroidery. This keeps the fabric from getting jammed down into the sewing plate of the machine. I use typing paper, junk mail, the kids homework (watch out for anything with crayon on it), but not newsprint (too thin and the ink gets on the fabric). If you use the paper, you won’t have to glue the applique down or use fusible webbing. Practice a bit and you will learn how to hold the applique from moving around. The paper helps this. As you are appliqueing use a zigzag stitch where the zigs and zags just barely touch each other or are a little father apart. If you use a tight satin stitch, the thread will get caught down into the sewing plate. Try making a sample of both and see which one you like the best. Also, use a color of thread that is a little darker that what you are appliqueing. If you use a thread that is lighter, the applique will look faded. A slightly darker thread will make the applique pop.

    Happy sewing!

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