Apparel Construction from A to Z: Appliquè

Like I stated in my Blogging from A to Z theme reveal that Fashion's Sense will focus on aspects of apparel construction this year. When I normally talk about fashion it is about trends or things that I like. It is rare that I write about the design side of things. In fact, this is the side I am most knowledgeable on as it is what my degree is in. Since this is the Blogging from A to Z April Blogging challenge, I am starting off with some information about a design/sewing technique called appliquè.

What is Appliquè?

Many of you probably have some understanding of what appliquè is or at least what it looks like. In layman's terms, appliquè is two or more layers of fabric cut out into a design that is sewn on top of a garment or garment section as a decorative design detail. I know that still sounds kind of jargon(ey) but believe me, it is not.

Parts of Appliquè

I bet you did not know that appliquè has parts did you? This could be because of the type of appliquè you've been exposed to. Due to technology's aim to make things easier there is such a thing as iron-on/fused-on and glue-on appliquè which simplifies the appliquè process for craft(y) purposes. I am here to give you the more traditional parts of appliquè to help give you inspiration for your next fashion project/experiment.

  • Appliquè pattern/template/stencil: These terms are used interchangeably. It just depends on what your source material is when learning to appliquè. I will use the term stencil as it is an easier term that will convey the gist of it all. The stencil is your appliquès design or shape. Remember making stencils on cardboard or corkboard paper then transferring the shape onto your canvas or drawing paper by outlining the stencil? The same premise applies to your appliquè stencil. It is used to create the design shape of your appliquè fabric pieces.
  • Face Fabric: The fabric seen on the finished appliquè design.
  • Interfacing: Interfacing is used to stabilize the appliquè face fabric. You can use traditional interfacing that you baste to the face fabric or fusible interfacing also known as fusible web.
  • Underlining: Fabric that is used to support the face fabric for stability or modesty. This is not a necessary layer for all appliquè. However, if your face fabric is sheer, lace, or net you will need an underling so the interfacing is not seen.
  • Batting: Is used to help create a three-dimensional or raised appliquè. 
  • Embroidery Thread: Some people use regular sewing thread for appliquè. However, I feel embroidery thread or floss looks better as it has more texture to it and it is sturdier. It is also better when you hand sew your appliquè.

Two Basic Ways to Apply Appliquè

Basically you are going to hand sew or machine stitch your appliquè. Some people try to be sly and say they hand sewed their appliquè work when you see that definite machine satin stitch at play. Just because you need to use your hands while working with a sewing machine does not mean you hand sewed anything. Sorry. I had to get that off my chest.

Have any of you applied an appliquè design detail to a garment before? How did it turn out?

Image Credits: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis via Wikimedia Commons

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