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The Art of Appliqué: An early form of puzzle piecing

Updated: Jan 4

Appliqué, a versatile and artistic sewing technique, has been used for centuries to embellish fabric and create stunning designs. From traditional hand-sewn methods to modern machine appliqué, the world of appliqué offers a myriad of possibilities for creative expression. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at various types of appliqué techniques that have stood the test of time.


1. Needle-Turn Appliqué:

One of the oldest and most traditional forms of appliqué is needle-turn appliqué. This meticulous hand-sewing method involves delicately turning fabric edges under with a needle before attaching it to the base fabric. The result is a seamless and polished appearance that showcases the artisan's precision and patience.


Needle Turn Applique

2. Raw-Edge Appliqué:

For a more contemporary and textured look, raw-edge appliqué is the go-to technique. In this method, fabric pieces are attached to the base fabric with their raw edges exposed. Often used in art quilts, this approach imparts a casual and free-spirited vibe to the design.


Raw-Edge Appliqué

3. Fusible Appliqué:

In the fast-paced world of sewing, fusible appliqué offers a quick and efficient solution. Fusible webbing or interfacing is used to bond fabric pieces to the base fabric, making it suitable for machine stitching. While it provides speed, it can result in a stiffer finish compared to traditional methods.


4. Reverse Appliqué:

Adding depth and intrigue to designs, reverse appliqué involves layering fabrics and cutting away the top layers to reveal the fabric beneath. This method is commonly found in traditional and ethnic textiles, offering a captivating visual effect.


Reverse Appliqué

5. Machine Appliqué:

Harnessing the power of modern technology, machine appliqué involves using a sewing machine to attach fabric pieces to the base fabric. Various stitches, such as zigzag or satin, can be employed to create intricate designs quickly, making it an excellent choice for those seeking efficiency without compromising on aesthetics.


Machine Appliqué

6. Bias Tape Appliqué:

For a clean and precise look, bias tape appliqué comes into play. Strips of fabric cut on the bias are used to outline and fill in shapes, adding a professional touch to the design. This technique is often used for lettering and intricate patterns.


Bias Tape Appliqué

7. Broderie Perse:

Taking inspiration from historical quilts, broderie perse involves cutting motifs from printed fabric and appliquéing them onto a solid background. This technique allows for the creation of intricate and visually stunning designs reminiscent of bygone eras.


Broderie Perse

Click on the button below to watch the step by step tutorial on how it's done.



A limited selection of variations has been presented herein. An extensive range of variations can be generated, such as enhancing the appearance by incorporating sponge or cushioning inside, adding depth through hand embroidery, and so forth. The world of appliqué is a rich tapestry of techniques, each offering a unique approach to the art of sewing. Whether you're drawn to the meticulous craftsmanship of needle-turn appliqué or the modern efficiency of machine appliqué, there's a technique to suit every style and preference. So, grab your fabrics, needles, and sewing machine, and embark on a creative journey through the enchanting realm of appliqué.


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