" In all periods there are to be found in pieced quilts both unique and conventional designs; within the framework of the latter each maker had full liberty in terms of colors, arrangements, sizes of the blocks and her own variations. So no two are ever alike; each reflects the sensibilities and visual skills of its maker-- Jonathan Holstein.

Raw Materials

The basic material for appliquè is cloth. Cotton cloth, which was being used traditionally, continues to be used today. Voile is also used to give it a more classy and delicate look. Multi coloured threads as well as fabric swatches are required as per the design.



Tools & Technology

Cloth, patches of coloured fabrics, thread, stencil, scissors

Colouring Material:  Colours (red, black, white, yellow and green)

Basic Material:  Pieces of coloured and patterned fabric cut in different sizes. Basic Material:  Different types of silk, brocade, needle, thread




Applique, which is a French term, is a technique by which the decorative effect is obtained by superposing patches of coloured fabrics on a plain basic fabric. The edges of the patches are sewn in some form of stitchery. It is distinct from patchwork in which small pieces of cut fabrics are usually joined side by side to make a large piece of fabric or for repairing a damaged fabric. The basic material for applique is cloth. Flat motifs are first cut from cloth and specially prepared motifs are made separately. If more than one of the same cut motifs is required, than a stencil is used. These cut and specially prepared motifs are then superimposed on a base cloth in predetermined layout and sequence. The edges of the motifs are turned in and skilfully stitched on to the base cloth or stitched by embroidery or without turning as necessary. The specially prepared motifs may be coloured or white. Some of the specially prepared motifs have exclusive embroidery work and some have mirror work. The stitching process varies from item to item and come under six broad categories, namely, (a) bakhia, (b) taropa, (c) ganthi, (d) chikana, (e) button-hole, and (f) ruching. The layout of various motifs and patterns vary according to shape of the piece. The canopy has large centrepieces, which may be a square. Several borders of different widths, one outside the other then bound this centrepiece, till the edge is reached.

Tracing: An actual-sized drawing of the design is transferred on to a large piece of tracing paper. Tracing paper is placed on top of the design and the design is traced out. Holes are pierced on the tracing paper along the design and water erasable ink is used along the dotted line to transfer the design on to the fabric.  

Pasting: Fabric is placed on to the background fabric and stuck with glue (called 'lai' in the local language, it is made out of wheat flour, gum and water). Cutting of shapes / design: Once the fabric is prepared and the required design is traced on it, 1/2 - space is left between design motifs to allow for the seam when cutting out the shapes. The shapes are cut out leaving 1/8 - 1/4" all around the drawn line for turning under.  

Tidying: The shaped edges are turned over on the drawn or stitched line. Corners are made sharp and edges smoothened. The fabric patch should retain the shape of the template used to cut it.   Stitching: Then using a blind stitch or appliquè stitch, the cut fabric is sown with matching thread on to the background fabric. The stitching is started with the background pieces first, working up to foreground pieces.  

Finishing: The product is given final finishing touches. Any extra threads are cut, and edges smoothened.