Breton Work

Cover of the book 'Broderies en Bretagne,' by Jean de la Varende (1947). Cover of the book 'Broderies en Bretagne,' by Jean de la Varende (1947).

Breton work is a form of embroidery that was popular in the 1870's and 1880's in Northern Europe and North America. Breton work uses a machine-made net. It is thus sometimes classed as a form of embroidered net lace. Its name is derived from traditional Breton embroidery (France), which was often used on both men and women’s regional dress.

Breton work was mainly worked using chain stitch, point de pois, point russe and satin stitch in coloured silks and gold thread. The designs are geometric, but sometimes include small stylised flowers and leaves. This type of work was chiefly used to decorate the borders of garments, neckties and small items such as book markers.


  • CAULFEILD, Sophia Frances Anne and Blanche C. SAWARD (1882). The Dictionary of Needlework, London: Upcott Gill, pp. 207-208.
  • MORRIS, Barbara (1962). Victorian Embroidery, London, Herbert Jenkins, Ltd., p. 162.
  • VARENDE, Jean de la (1947). Broderies en Bretagne chez les Bigoudens (Breton Embroidery), Pont l'Abbe (Finistere): Le Minor.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 6th July 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 07 May 2017 19:33