How To Make Broderie Anglaise Lace By Hand

broderie anglaise lace tutorial

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to make broderie anglaise lace by hand.

Broderie anglaise lace is a kind of cutwork or whitework lace. Broderie anglaise is also called eyelet lace, Madeira lace, Swiss embroidery or English embroidery.


‘This season broderie Anglaise (English embroidery, or cut-work) and Hardanger embroidery, or Scandinavian stitch, and Spachtel work, a revival of an old combination of cutwork, lace and embroidery stitches, are all rivals for feminine favor. […] Cut-work is a common and descriptive title for broderie l’Anglaise. It consists of cutting holes in the material, turning under the rough edge, covering it with long filling stitches and then working over it with an over and over stitch, or else an embroidery or a buttonhole stitch. The latter is much used, but does not properly belong to cut-work. […]

the daisy petal and locust leaf are made in the same fashion, only there are more of the latter to make and they are somewhat smaller, and, therefore, more trouble. Draw the leaves all around the border of the centerpiece, leaving a piece of the linen extending beyond the irregular scallops which trim the edge of the proposed centerpiece. With a sharp pair of embroidery scissors cut the middle of each small leaf from stem to tip, curve the sides of the slit a little, if this will help any, and turn under the merest edge of the material, sewing it down with long sewing stiches on the right side. Darning cotton is good for this purpose.

FILLING FOR THE RAISED FLOWERS Run another line or two of stitches with the stitch on one line coming against the space in the next. This is called filling, and many more lines are taken where a flower or petal are to be worked in solid satin or over and over stitch. Filling causes the embroidery to have a raised appearance, and the coarser the filling cotton the higher the pattern will be raised. The embroidery and over and over stitches are taken over this filling and edge till all are closely covered. Hold the material as much as possible on the straight edge in doing cutwork. […]

This form of needlework is exceedingly easy, and the woman who cannot embroider may use buttonhole stitch and omit filling. The stem may be omitted or may be worked in stem stitch, a sort of outline stitch, only the stitches are closer together. Stems are also worked in satin stitch. The scalloped edge is finished last in either buttonhole or embroidery stitch, then the rough edge is cut away.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)

Embroidery Design - Victorian Homemade Christmas Presents
Edwardian broderie anglaise pattern & lace jabot (San Francisco Call, 1909)

‘A few embroidery designs in working size are given in the illustration as a convenience for those who wish to make some of these little gifts. The lawn or linen can be placed over the paper, and the design, which will show through plainly, can be traced with a hard lead pencil; or a sheet of transfer paper can be placed face down on the material and the design laid on top of this and traced with a pencil.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)

‘A great deal of the very finest of the French underwear shows little or no lace as trimming, the ornamentation consisting entirely of fine embroidery in scalloping and graceful flower designs. Of course, if bought in the shops, such garments are very expensive, but if the work is done at home the cost is very slight, as the value of such pieces depends on the amount of time used in doing the embroidery.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1907)


In this tutorial, I used non-shiny unmercerized cotton thread which was used in Victorian broderie anglaise: 1855 broderie anglaise lace.


You’ll need:

  • white cotton fabric
  • white cotton thread
  • awl
  • scissor and needle


Broderie Anglaise Eyelets

broderie anglaise eyelets

To make broderie anglaise eyelets, use an awl and pierce a hole through the fabric. If you don’t have an awl, use a big sewing needle, knitting needle or an opening spike for cans.

eyelets tutorial

Stitch round the hole with closely spaced overcast stitches.


Broderie Anglaise Scallops

broderie anglaise scallops tutorial

For broderie anglaise scallops, draw a scallop outline onto the fabric. Sew along the line with closely spaced buttonhole stitches.

buttonhole scallops

Carefully, cut along the scallop edge.


Larger Broderie Anglaise Eyelet Holes

broderie anglaise eyelet holes

To make larger broderie anglaise eyelet holes, draw the desired outline onto the fabric. Sew with closely spaced running stitches around it. Then cut the fabric crosswise up to the drawn outline.

broderie anglaise eyelet holes tutorial

Turn the cut fabric to the wrong side …

whitework eyelet holes tutorial

… and sew with closely spaced overcast stitches along the outline.


Broderie Anglaise Satin Stitch Flower

broderie anglaise satin stitch flower

Broderie anglaise is often combined with satin stitches.

broderie anglaise whitework flower

I embroidered a flower motif with satin stitches, stem stitch, back stitch and colonial knots.

whitework lace flower

Here you’ll find more of my lace tutorials.

14 thoughts on “How To Make Broderie Anglaise Lace By Hand

  1. Hi I have a medium weight cotton fabric plain color, do u think this type of hand embroidery will work with it? Also let me know what embroidery thread must be used for medium weight fabrics.. I intend only to embroider the hemline .. Your work looks lovely thanks for sharing..

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Diya! 🙂 You can use everything from sheer muslin to heavy linen fabric for broderie anglaise. And as embroidery thread you can use ordinary sewing thread, cotton embroidery floss or yarn. Make a small sample to decide which you like best.

  2. I was delighted to find your tutorial on Broderie Anglaise. My older sister (I am 72) tells me our grandma used to make using a special set of delicate tools. She was a sewing maid in service to an earl’s family and made dresses for the children. Finding you online was a link to her too. Thank you.

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