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Boutis Tabletopper: Assembly

Back in the summer of 2012 in Montpellier, in the south of France, it was my good fortune to participate in a series of classes in boutis with Madame Francine Born. (See my post of Sept. 9, 2012 "Backlit Boutis").

Below is one of her designs; the piece that we worked on in that course.  It is a fairly traditional design and uses a variety of traditional boutis stitches. Held up against the light, it's easy to see how light and shadow are integral to this particular style of needlework. In order to keep that translucent quality in the finished product, the finished boutis must be set into the surrounding fabric in a way that keeps both front and back of the boutis uncovered. Linen is a natural paring with the white boutis, so in keeping to a more traditional look,  I set my finished boutis piece into a linen and white cotton surround. At the time, I was uncertain as to how I wanted to continue from there, so it got packed away.
Previously, I had already set the boutis into the linen and cotton surround using reverse applique.

Recently, while reorganizing (yet again!), I kept it out and decided it was time to finish it. It will become a tabletopper, with the boutis medallion in the center and a quilted surround. Mme. Born sometimes combines quilting with boutis as well, so I assumed the "boutis police" would be OK with it.

When attaching the backing and the batting to the boutis, it's important to maintain it's translucent quality. Below I have outlined my method for doing this. (I had used the same method when attaching the boutis into the linen top.)
To find the exact location of the boutis medallion, I centered the wrong side of the backing fabric over the right side of the  boutis. Using a padded surface, such as an ironing board or "The Quilter's Cut and Press" board, I carefully placed pins flush with the edge of the boutis. Next, I drew a seam allowance line 1" inside the perimeter. (The 1" distance was just a safety measure in case I had goofed up on the placement.)

Next the center is cut out along that line. When ready to applique, it gets trimmed down to the normal 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Attaching the batting follows the same procedure, and then gets basted to the wrong side of the boutis/linen top. Once basted into place, all of the excess batting is trimmed away.

To complete the quilt sandwich, the prepped backing is centered over top of the batting and the boutis linen top and hand appliqued into place.

All 3 layers of the tabletopper are sandwiched, the boutis is still translucent, and it's ready to be quilted.


  1. Wow, that's quite a tricky process! But it certainly worked beautifully. :D

    Are you planning to hand quilt it too? I love the fabric you have chosen for it, I'm very interested to see what's next!

    1. It is a bit of a process, but once I figured it out, the rest was easy. I am actually planning to machine quilt, which I'm sure is a serious taboo in the world of "purists", but I'm of the opinion that tradition and contemporary can play together nicely in certain instances. I hope it will be OK.

    2. I actually thought all along that this will look quite good with some of your beautiful FMQ, but I didn't want to offend any purists either! It is a rather stylized, modern design, after all. :D

    3. Thanks, I appreciate your opinion on the FMQ. I believe that the only way to keep traditions alive and interesting in the age we live in, is to adapt them and keep them valid to life today. I'm pretty sure that Mme. Born would be OK with this as well.

  2. First of all, I'm in awe once again over the intricacies of the boutis process. And second, I love that you found a way to finish an older project rather than let it languish in a drawer. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

    1. Thanks. There are many unfinished projects languishing in my cupboards, so I have been keeping one UFO on my current pile of projects so that I can easily pick it up when I have a little time. And, it feels just as good to finish an older project as it does a newer, fresher project.

  3. Beautiful! I'll be anxious to see it totally quilted and finished.


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