The word ‘appliqué’ is taken from French meaning ‘applied’. It is a technique of sewing or pasting one material over another. An appliqué is an adornment attached to a base surface to enhance its beauty. It could be a fabric, a decorative or any other material that is compatible with the base to which it is applied.
In terms of fabric, there are mainly two ways to go about it – one by pasting, and the other by stitching. The former is used when the appliqué is a material other than fabric. It could be pearls, sequence work, etc. The method of pasting is neater but less secure while stitching gives the attachment a longer life. Also, with the advanced adhesives used these days, even pasting has proven to be equally strong. Decorative stitching used for attaching the appliqué enhances the look of the work. To give it a neat and refined look, the edges of an appliqué are folded inside and then bound to the base.
The most common and the most admirable use of appliqué work are in bed linen and cushion covers. The reason is that it gives the usual solid colors and prints a break and provides the necessary texture. Whether the adornment is stitched on the boundary or the center, it looks appeling either ways. The fabric used for appliqué work can be sateen, velvet, elastic and even cotton. Generally, a dark or bright color is used on lighter base and vice-versa. This art can also be practiced at home by those with even the basic understanding of design and colors, and the technique of stitching.