Notes on Style ~ Broderie Anglaise

We're testing a new series here on Love My Dress, a series that focuses on our thoughts and observations of various aspects of bridal fashions.  This afternoon, Franky is kicking off our new ''Notes on Style' series with a look at that prettiest of cotton fabrics broderie anglaise, and offers up some wedding day style inspiration for you all. Enjoy…

I've only been a bridesmaid once in my life. Just over 15 years ago my sister and I were attendants to my Mother's cousin when she married her fiance one sunny afternoon in Surrey. The bride wore a gown she had bought in Paris. Her golden hair fell in loose curls framing her face and she carried a bouquet of pale yellow roses.

I'm not sure if she was the most laid back bride ever to grace an aisle, or just more trusting of her maids than I was, but we were charged with picking our own dresses, and given no more instruction than the details of her chosen colour scheme.

I remember a rather fraught shopping trip with my Mother. I was generally disagreeable {in the way that only a teenager can be} and in and out of changing rooms in a whirlwind of hormonal disdain. My poor Mum, trying to appease not only myself and the bride, but my sister too. At 9 years old she idolised Sporty Spice and wore nothing but trainers, tracky bottoms and an Arsenal shirt.

By some miracle, we settled on two complimentary outfits, the elements of which were drawn from a variety of high street stores. Aside from the bright white and pale yellow colour palette, the common theme that tied the two ensembles together was the choice of fabric. Our sweet cotton dresses were adorned with the delicate embroidery known as broderie anglaise.

Broderie Anglaise

1920's broderie anglaise via Vintage Clothing Blog + Victorian Broderie Anglaise

Directly translated broderie anglaise means 'English embroidery', but the needlework technique was never confined to this country. Although its origins are uncertain, broderie anglaise appears to have developed as a form of embroidery among Czechoslovakian peasantry in the 16th Century.

Broderie Anglaise

Victorian Broderie Anglaise

First popularised in England during the 19th Century, broderie anglaise
adorned Victorian underwear, nightwear, baby clothes and linen. This form of whitework {a type of needlework that uses stitching in
white thread on white fabric} is created by tracing a design on to
closely woven cloth in a repeating pattern. A running stitch is worked
around the various eyelets.

Each hole is made as the work progresses,
either through cutting or piercing with a sharp pointed tool. Edges are
then finished with overcast stitch or buttonhole stitch. Small designs
are created by stretching the space between the threads of the fabric.
The edge of the fabric can be embroidered as well, often in beautiful
scalloped shapes.  

Broderie Anglaise

Brigette Bardot and Jacques Chavier via Tuppence Ha'penny

The 1950's saw a resurgence in the popularity of this form of embroidery and it was often used to trim dresses and underwear. The actress Brigette Bardot wore a pink gingham dress trimmed with broderie anglaise when she married Jacques Chavier in 1959.   

I was reminded of my bridesmaid dress recently as I pored over images of the latest collection from my new favourite bridalwear designer, Jesus Peiro. For me, the appeal of broderie anglaise
has never waned. As its summery aesthetic is the perfect antidote to
the cold and wet of November, I decided to pull together a little
inspiration for you…

Broderie Anglaise 

(1) & (2) The Jesus Peiro 3037 features polka dot lace and broderie anglaise inspired details (3) A sweet broderie anglaise frock for your flower girls by John Lewis Girl {and it's currently in the sale too!} (4) High fashion inspiration from Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 RTW via (5) A beautiful bouquet by Gingerlilly via Hannah Mia {see the full wedding feature here (6) & (7) The touches of broderie anglaise on the delicate, sheer fabric of Jesus Peiro 3060 are reminiscent of lace and its early beginnings as a form of embroidery (8) Daisy hair via Hayley Savage Photography (9) 'Daisy' wedding cake with broderie anglaise details by Maisie Fantaisie (10) Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 RTW via

By the way, those Jesus Peiro dresses in 1, 2, 6 and 7 above, you can see them in their full glory in a feature coming up soon on Love My Dress.

Have any of you considered broderie anglaise for your wedding day, either for yourself or your attendants? I think it's a sweet alternative to lace, don't you? Have we any Jesus Peiro brides out there? I'm totally smitten with these gorgeous gowns!

Much love,