Sunday, August 12, 2012

Broderie Suisse - Chicken Scratch Italian Style


In the last couple of years, what we know as Chicken Scratch Embroidery has become very popular among Italian stitchers. In Italy (and France) this technique is known as Broderie Suisse. Swiss Embroidery. It is also known by several other names in English, as is the fabric that it is stitched on: Gingham, Vichy, Checkerboard, ecc.

Origins are unclear and I can't tell you why the French and Italians call it Swiss Embroidery however, they have adopted it and the applications are very attractive and imaginative.

The Italian firm of Fratelli Graziano has many styles of Gingham fabrics (under the name Riviera) suitable for the technique of Broderie Suisse, a larger selection exists in Italy than what we can get in North America. One noticeable difference is their Gingham fabric is made of linen, not cotton. You can however, still find cotton or cotton blend Gingham in Italian fabric stores.


Anna Castagnetti of Ricami a Fili Tesi has her finger on the pulse of embroidery as usual and has just released a book on Broderie Suisse.

A sample page from Broderie Suisse by Anna Castagnetti.

This volume of just over 60 pages (text in Italian) is packed with large, close-up, coloured photographs featuring numerous step-by-step series of many of the basic stitches and some innovative combinations, finishing instructions for 9 projects - each with several different combinations of patterns to choose from. Projects include bags of various sizes and uses, cushions, towel borders and Christmas tree ornaments. Colour choices are vibrant and eye-catching - there is no end to Anna's imagination!

Anna is not constrained by geometry and she applies Broderie Suisse stitches as filling stitches for curved shapes as well as traditionally squared patterns and even produces some three-dimensional ideas!

You can purchase this book on Broderie Suisse from Tombolo Disegni (look under Libri/Libri di Ricamo/Ricami Particolari-ricamo svizzero), send an email to order.

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