How to do Boutis...French Quilting

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4.12.09

How to do Boutis...French Quilting


One of the projects I'm working on for next year's art festival is a piece of french quilting. The title is "Ronde Fleur" which means round of flowers. French quilting or 'boutis" (pronounced boo-tee), is not something you hear about in America. It is very popular in France where it originated and in Japan. A lady named Segolene, a very well known quilter from France, spent a morning teaching me the basics of this art, since almost no one in America does it.
Instead of putting batting between two layers of cloth and then quilting it, which is the American way to quilt, you put the two layers of cotton together, draw the design on top, and quilt it with tiny stitches. Then you thread a tapestry needle with cotton yarn and pop it between the the two layers of cotton pulling the yarn between the grains of the cloth. You pull it through from one side to the other of a part of the design and then clip off the excess yarn, leaving the ends to 'anchor' the piece of yarn. You do this over and over again laying a layer of side by side pieces of yarn. Once you have filled the leaf or petal or whatever, you poke all the ends into the cloth leaving no edges of the yarn showing. Eventually they cloth threads close back together so that you can't see where you popped the needle through. This is not easy!! It took me a lot of trial and error to start getting it right.
I made these two pillows for my son Andrew and his wife, Elisabeth, for their wedding this last Spring. They wanted two pillows for their little ringbearers to carry. The one on the left I call "Love Birds" and did it all by hand. The one on the right I did strictly by machine in about half a day and it held Andrew's ring.
Here is a picture of the book showing how to 'pop' the thread through the layers of cloth. If you are at all interested, I would be glad to give you a little demonstration. I think it is the most beautiful form of quilting I have ever seen.

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