[HNW] Applique documentation?

Chris Laning claning at igc.org
Mon Aug 11 21:42:53 PDT 2003

Having volunteered to write an article about applique before 1600, 
I'm unhappily finding that I'm coming up rather short when it comes 
to both examples and information. I'm hoping I can pick other 
people's brains <g>.

I'm particularly concerned about techniques -- I know applique _was_ 
used as a decorative fabric technique, and I know some plausible 
techniques that make it lots easier -- what I can't seem to find is 
information about whether anything was done in period that was any 
more sophisticated than plunking down cutouts of one fabric on 
another and starting to sew.

Two things that I find a considerable help in doing applique now are 
glue and paper. Manipulating cloth on top of cloth means that any 
slippage between the two can create ripples and twerks on the 
finished project. Pinning and basting are often only partly 
successful in preventing this, especially if one or both fabrics are 

One solution is to lightly glue the applique down before stitching -- 
and I'd love to know whether this is a period practice. In modern 
times I use light-tack spray adhesive or an ordinary gluestick for 
this (the latter being basically concentrated "milk glue", and both 
types wash out of the fabric later). I would speculate that a light 
coat of something like fish glue might have been used in period, but 
I really don't know.

Another solution is to back the applique with stiff paper, which 
provides a firm edge and prevents the upper cloth from distorting. I 
know that a parchment or paper backing was used for beadwork, but I'd 
love to know whether it was used for simple cloth-on-cloth applique 
as well. Modern needleworkers have re-invented this method as 
"freezer-paper applique".

TIA --
O    Chris Laning
|     <claning at igc.org>
+    Davis, California

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