Skip to main content

Boutis: Pouches and More

Although I have not written about boutis in a very long time, it is still very much a part of what I do. Over the last year, aside from making progress on some earlier projects (completing some), I am constantly working on new designs.

With all the time and effort that goes into making a piece of boutis, it's nice if at the end there is a practical use for what I have just made. The pouches that I have been working on can have a variety of uses, such as sleeves for cell phones and sunglasses,  holding sewing notions, etc.  The first six images show three of the little pouches (or sleeves) that have been my experimental playground.

The pattern evolves with each pouch as I work out the design kinks and look for better, more efficient methods and materials. An example is the circular surround enclosing the little butterfly motif below. In it's current state, it looks quite unfinished at the lower end and will need some reworking.

This is a tri-fold pouch which is stitched on a white Swiss cotton batiste.

The reworked version has two additional channels around the perimeter of the pouch which gives it a cleaner finish.

Finding quality, appropriate materials for boutis in North America is also an on-going search. Some of the supplies are available on-line from French sources, but for the sake of convenience and cost, I have been looking for replacements of equal quality closer to home.

Good quality white Swiss cotton batiste can be found fairly easily, however, the colours saffron and purple are also sometimes used in traditional French boutis, but more difficult to find in a cotton as fine as the batiste.

The saffron phone sleeve below is made on a gorgeous, silky like cotton, purchased in person from a Boutis supplier in France, but unavailable on line. I have not found any replacement cotton in colour quite as perfect for boutis.

My cell phone slips nicely into this little sleeve.

I used a Provencal bumble bee print for the lining.

To overcome this problem my friend Karen of Averyclaire Needlearts, who also creates boutis, has started dying good quality white batiste into colours that she likes to use for her work. It makes a very good alternate choice. The purple sleeve below was made using Karen's dyed batiste.

Another sleeve with a few minor design changes.

Aside from the pouches, work on my Notre Dame Rose Window (below) is also progressing. The stitching of all the channels has been finished and I'm now working little needle lace Rosettes into some of the smaller circles. Rosettes and other embroidery stitches are accepted embellishments often used in Boutis.

At the same time, I am re-working my website/blog to accommodate more of a focus on boutis. I am also in the process of developing kits that will be available on Etsy, for those interested in trying this traditional French needlework technique for themselves. The plan is to eventually post some on-line tutorials that will demonstrate the basics of boutis.

In the meantime, this blog and my Facebook page will be up and running as usual.


  1. What beautiful boutis designs! You certainly have been busy. I love them all. And of course, I adore the colours! These will be lovely and easy beginner patterns for anyone just starting out. Gorgeous! You do such creative and lovely work!

    1. Thanks to you, those beautiful dyed batistes will soon be available from you. Your kind words are also very much appreciated. Thanks Karen.

  2. What a lovely boutis embroidery! I first encountered this technique in Inspirations and then tried a lovely kit by Karen rom Averyclaire. Just love it and can't wait for your opdated website!

    1. Thanks Jessica. I fell in love with boutis when I lived in France and love to share my passion for this traditional French technique with others. I appreciate you stopping by and hope you do so again.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Blocking and Squaring Boutis

The door of her cage has been opened. She is free to fly off and find her destiny.

After many months of hand stitching and then many more months of cording, my little "calibri" is ready to set off on her own. As this was my first attempt at designing so large a boutis piece, it has been a bit of a learning curve. All of the tight swirls, curls and circles are a great deal more difficult and time consuming to cord then are the longer more gentle channels. Maintaining an even tension is absolutely necessary throughout the process, so patience comes in very handy when doing the cording.

Once all of the stitching and cording is complete, the boutis must be washed and squared up. After it is soaked overnight in a basin of water with a mild detergent, it gets rinsed gently in several clear washes, then rolled in a towel to remove the excess water. 

The final step is the blocking process. There are a number of ways to block a boutis piece, but I have found that the easiest metho…

Amazing Applique by Yoko Saito

The quilt exposition in Nantes "Pour L'amour du Fil" was filled with a number of highlights. Certainly one of the more memorable experiences was seeing the works of Yoko Saito in person.
"Elegant" is the word that best describes Yoko Saito's quilts. Although her palette is neutral, the lights and darks play very well together to create a perfect balance to the quilt. To say that the applique is amazing is an understatement. The perfectly formed 1/4" circles and the tiny leaves and stems are inspirational. And of course, the hand quilting is perfect. For the final touch, she uses embroidery as adornment in much the same way that the perfect pair of earrings complete the look of the little black dress. The opportunity to see her quilts in person has been truly inspirational.

The photos in order:
- Yoko Saito in her booth on the floor of the show
- "Pointsettia" - by Yoko Saito
- "Spring of Sweden" close -up - by Yoko Saito

Alsace Quilts

A quilt show is a great place to be inspired and to celebrate our craft with other artisans. Spread throughout the town of Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines, as well as 2 other nearby towns, this show did not disappoint in either way. There were many fantastic quilts to marvel at, and even more fantastic people to meet and share ideas with.

When at these shows, time is always at a premium, so I prioritized the exhibits that I hoped to see and did my best to get there. Here are a few of the highlights.

The first exhibit we saw were the Canadian quilts. Just as with the Amish quilts, a church acted as the gallery. Churches make great venues for displaying quilts.

Libby Lehman is very well known throughout the quilt world for her free motion machine quilting and threadwork. As she was the featured artist at this year's show, there was a large retrospective display of her quilts. I am more familiar with her current work, so it was quite a surprise to see her more traditional earlier work. It was a…