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Welcome to the World of Boutis

....where we celebrate all things stitching.

Seamsfrench has moved to a new website where the focus is on boutis. However, all other techniques have not been left behind. Framing boutis with other needlework, has opened the door to many possibilities for me.

Please come see me at 

It would be my pleasure to welcome you there. 


Most needleworkers understand the language of quilting and embroidery, but until recently, the word "boutis" was a treasure that remained mostly hidden within the borders of France. Thanks to the efforts of France Boutis and other like minded associations, boutis is slowly being recognized and admired around the world.

Although our focus will be on Traditional French Boutis, from time to time we will celebrate other forms of needlework as well. No matter which part of the world we are from, or where our various experiences and interests have taken us, the language of "Stitches" does not need words, it is common to all of us and can be understood in any dialect or language. 

If you would like to know more about boutis and maybe even try it for yourself, check out the introductory level boutis kits in my newly opened ETSY shop.


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Boutis: Traditional French Needlework

" Piqûre de Marseilles" or "Boutis" is a traditional French hand stitched and corded needlework technique, which uses embroidery stitches to create intricate channels that will later be stuffed with yarn, thereby creating a raised design with three layers. It's origins, and it's name, can be traced to the port of Marseilles in southern France to the 15th century. Traditional boutis was a technique invented to embellish otherwise plain white cotton with intricately patterned channels that would later be stuffed with a plump white yarn to give it relief. The resulting corded whitework created an elegant, embossed textile that was much sought after. Not only was it aesthetically appealing, but it also provided warmth and absorbency, so could be used for bed coverings, toilette linens (like towels), clothing items, home decor, etc. The first two photos below are from the collection of Mme. Monique Alphand, a well known French expert and collector of antique t

Amish Hand Quilting in France with Esther Miller

Esther Miller, was born into an Amish family in the U.S., and now lives in Germany where she has for many years taught the techniques and methods of Amish hand quilting to anyone interested in learning these skills. As a child, she would closely watch as the women of her community worked together on a quilt, and eventually she was rewarded with a needle of her own and encouraged to join the group. Through the years, she has mastered these skills and techniques and now generously shares them with anyone who has a genuine desire to learn. Esther Miller in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace France. An example of her own work, Esther brings this intricately and perfectly hand stitched wall quilt to class as inspiration for her students.  Last week, at the "European Meeting of Patchwork" in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, in Alsace France, , I had the privilege of taking a 2 day workshop with Esther. The Amish quilting method requires a free-standing simple

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 "colibri" is ready to set off on her own. As this was my first attempt at designing so large a boutis piece, it was 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. The process of stitching and cording a work of boutis subjects the fabric to a lot of handling and manipulation that can distort the design. For this reason, once all of the stitching and cording is complete, the boutis must be washed, blocked and squared.  The first step of washing is to remove all traces of the marking pencil as well as any soil that may have collected over the many months of working w