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Bits of Boutis

Although the re-org. process is still on and strong in my life, my stitching hands have not been completely idle.

Since my hummingbird boutis has been completed, (see my post of Nov. 23, 2013), I have been working on drafting some smaller boutis pieces. Below are 3 of the designs ready to be stitched.

Rose windows from some of the many churches and cathedrals that I have photographed over the years, were the inspiration for two of these designs. This first piece, which will be a cell phone case, is my first attempt at stitching boutis with dupioni silk. Although Swiss cotton batiste (in white), is the most traditional material used for boutis, a number of the more contemporary boutiseusses are experimenting with silk. Silk is less forgiving then cotton, so consistency in tension, and accuracy in stitch length and placement become more crucial because of their greater visibility. 

In this little mobile phone case, I have used the two most basic stitches of boutis: "point arrière" (back stitch), a stitch used to highlight the main design feature, is used in the central rose; and the longer channels and circular channels are stitched using "point avant" (running stitch), the most commonly used stitch.

Stitching is almost completed on this little mobile phone "sac".

This second design, also inspired by rose windows, is drawn onto the traditonal swiss batiste cotton in white. The basting method that I used here (with stitches meeting in the centre) is Mme. Born's preferred method of basting.

Although not as common, this golden yellow cotton batiste is another traditional colour used in boutis. There's little cicada on an olive branch that decorates this needle fold.

Almost every "boutisseuse" that I have met has one of these little needle folds in her bag of tricks. It seems like a right of passage, so I thought it was time to prove my dedication to the craft and make one of my own!

I like handy little projects like this because it's easier to keep them accessible for stealing those few moments of stitching between other jobs. I'll post progress reports.


  1. They all look wonderful! I will be interested to hear your thoughts on working with silk -- and any pitfalls to avoid! I also would like to start using some silk in my work, so it would be great to learn from your experience. :D

    1. You are very right about the pitfalls when working with silk. The weight and texture of the dupioni responds to the hand stitches quite differently from cotton, which I find much more pliable and therefore, more forgiving, I love working with silk when free motion quilting, but I need to work with it some more before I come to any conclusions about it's value in boutis. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for checking in.

  2. I bet that silk will be a challenge, good luck with it. The designs are all very pretty and will be lovely.

    1. Thanks Cynthia. The silk is definitely challenging, but I'm willing to give it a chance. The pieces that I have seen completed in silk are quite beautiful, so I will perservere. Have you ever worked on silk fabric? I would welcome any insights or advice.

  3. beautiful stitching! I love your designs

    1. Thank you very much. I love cathedral windows, stained or not, and the first two designs in this post are inspired by two rose windows from churches in Paris.

  4. So exquisite Elizabeth. I like how you call use the term "boutisseuse" I have never heard of one. How long have you been doing embroidery. (am I using the right term?).

    1. Hi. Thanks for stopping by. The correct term for "boutis" is "la broderie de boutis", which means the "embroidery of boutis". So, yes, you are completely correct in using that term. And, a "boutisseuse", is a lady who works boutis. (I'm not sure how the male version of that would be spelled. But, there are men working boutis as well.)

      I first learned about boutis when I saw it in Provence about 14 years ago and was very intrigued. It wasn't until I took a class with Monsieur Hubert Valeri about 5 years ago that it took hold and grabbed me. I am now hooked, but there is still much to learn.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks so much. I appreciate your visit.

  6. Breathtaking, and much too nice for a cell phone pouch!

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, but this little "cell phone pouch" is becoming a bit of a "trial" stitch sampler in more ways then one. I'll post an update soon on progress.


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