How it All Got Started

Handkerchief in embroidery hoop, design of holly berries and leaves in progress in one corner. Berries and leaves are shaded in a lifelike manner.

Finishing a custom design


Broiderie Stitch began in desperation. My boyfriend (now husband) and I took a chance on a job opportunity and moved to South Carolina – but it fell to pieces almost as soon as we stepped out of the car. His parents offered to let us stay for a bit while we found our feet, but after a few weeks of endless applications, we were at the end of our rope. They were about to send us packing when my mother-in-law saw me stitching. ‘You should sell that!’ she said. I didn’t think anyone would want it. Plus, we were far too broke to start anything, I told her. I didn’t even have a chair to sit on! But the next day I went out and bought eight dollars worth of snowy white linen (all the money we could spare) and hemmed up three handkerchiefs. The first was embroidered with purple pansies (a design we still feature in the shop), the second with a yellow rose, and the third with a letter A sketched out on the back of an extra application. That last handkerchief was the start of something big, though I didn't know it yet.

Even though I didn't sell anything at first (indeed for the first month!) things started to turn around. I landed a job just days before we were due to return home to Massachusetts, ashamed and penniless to fail so soon after spreading our wings. We leased our first home. I sold one handkerchief, then another, and another. I struggled with linen suppliers, broken sewing machines, and long hours. Often I would be up all night hemming handkerchiefs to go out the next day after working an eleven-hour retail shift. It was grueling. But just after a year of working nearly full-time and running an online shop, the endless hours paid off. I was able to quit my job, move back to New England - victoriously! - and focus on embroidery. 

It soon became apparent that the shop was far too much for one person to handle. I was very nervous about hiring, but when I met Jen, I knew immediately that she would be perfect for the job. Even better, she has become my very best friend. Without her steadfast loyalty and good sense, Broiderie Stitch would not be what it is – and my work would be far less colorful. She hasn’t been the only one over the years (some that started as, and some that became, very dear friends) but she and I are the only current employees in the studio. With her help, I’ve been able to research historical techniques and scripts to share with the world.

Every time someone purchases a piece of handmade needlework, learns or teaches a new technique, or supports a local artist, they help stem the tide of forgetting. Each country, each region, has its own distinct style - loving mothers adorning their children's clothes with powerful magical symbols, bridal presents of beautiful tapestries telling stories and histories, charming toys for baby, and a thousand items to decorate the home. Each of these is a language, a history - and often it seems there has been more forgotten than anyone could ever learn! We’re dedicated to keep these crafts, this heritage, around for generations to come.


Closeup shot of a woman's hands (Jen's) holding embroidery hoop with work in progress, monogram R B in progress on corner of handkerchief
Jen stitching an order