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Fabric colouration and decoration: Appliqué

In the area of study: Design you will learn about fabric colouration and decoration. This tutorial focuses on applique as a method of fabric decoration and will provide you with the principles of applique, end-uses for applique and how the traditional principles of applique can be applied in a non-traditional way.

This material addresses aspects of the following syllabus outcomes:

The student:

H1.3 identifies the principles of colouration for specific end-uses.
H6.1 analyses the influence of historical, cultural and contemporary developments on textiles.

Extract from Stage 6 Textiles and Design Syllabus © Board of Studies NSW 2007.

Methods of fabric decoration: Appliqué

Appliquer is a French term meaning to ‘put on’ or apply. In appliqué, one layer of fabric is placed over another layer and is sewn in place, traditionally by hand. Appliqué is a decorative technique achieved either traditionally by hand or machine by superimposing patches of coloured or plain fabrics over a base fabric. The method used to secure the edges of the ‘laid down’ fabric tends to define the method of appliqué, e.g. needle turn appliqué. The main methods of appliqué are needle turn; buttonhole stitch; machine stitch, traditionally or by a freehand method.


Appliquéd freeform shape featuring freehand machine embroidery background. Courtesy: M. Johnson

Select a link below for more information about various aspects of appliqué and student activities:

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