When most people think about applique, visions of patched elbowed jackets on professors and coloured knee patches on children’s jeans spring to mind.

In the context of sewing, applique is an enhancing needlework in which fabrics of differing shapes and patterns are stuck and sewn onto larger fabrics to form a beautiful design or pattern.

The term Appliqué itself comes from the French and Latin words 'appliquer' and 'applicare' which mean “to attach or apply” and in very basic terms is the process of one material being attached to another.

Appliqué has been known around the world and used in daily life for almost 2,500 years with the oldest surviving example of Appliqué is an Egyptian Canopy Quilt from 980 B.C.

Without access to the vast supplies of fabrics and materials we have today, the first forms of applique were seen on more natural materials like leather, canvas and hides.

Designs were simple shapes with simple stitching based on day-to-day symbols, family crests, animals, flowers etc.

More recently applique is used as decoration or embellishments, especially on garments.

The basic forms of applique start with a main textile being produced, like a blanket, shirt or jacket and attaching a detailed design to this.


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