As aesthetic as appliqués


Exquisitely ornamental in the kind of detail they lend to whatever they are made to work on while being ‘easier’ in the technique at least in application, this very essence of applying from which ensues the identity of appliqués is one more functional than what it seems to be.

A popular choice in matters of the fashionable whether through their working upon dresses and clothing or upon accessories or even ceramics and art, appliqués have emerged out of rather humble grounds. But the way they end up altering the very look and presence of whatever it is they decorate has meant that today appliqués are almost exclusive in their decorativeness.

The primary premise of their origin in being pieces of fabric that could adequately serve the purpose in overruling damaged portions of larger textiles very well explains their initial regard in a usefulness that is basic despite the effectualness. A technique devised to strengthen frayed parts of clothes and to extend the life of them in general, appliqués though managed to shine out indeed as add ons that entailed aesthetic value. Because they are themselves designed in various shapes and sizes and as different motifs and patterns as well, the appliqué identity unfurls as one that can even be called upon without any requirement whatsoever of their functionality.

traditional hawaiian appliqued quilt
Source: Facebook

Bringing an element of quirk into even the most basic everyday wear is what is performed by appliqués in utmost convenience. No wonder it finds tremendous favor in commercial production of clothes even as its stemming in history had been almost entirely devoted to the practices of quilting and such. Leather appliqués are particularly well etched in the pages of history with discoveries that date back to the BC era. The span of their popularity has been as widespread as the degree of utility with numerous cultures and societies around the world having their own traditional methods and motifs in pursuing the appliquéd needlework.

Appliqués then have persisted as cultural continuities that are as relevant in the present day expression of ethnic identities. Quilting for instance continues to employ the technique as one of its cherished traditions and as not just a specific geographic exploration of this identity. From the Baltimore quilts of the US to the Hawaiian quilts and the even more distinctive styles of the decorative Egyptian art appliqué textile called Khayamiya or the subcontinental style of what asserts as ralli quilts, the universal appeal of the uniqueness marking the USP of this technique is definite in all its diverseness.

traditional indian applique pipili
Source: The Cultural Heritage of India

And yet quilting isn’t the only or even the most widespread range of utility for this type of needlework to find preference. The traditional significance stands as well in this dimension, particularly with multiple Indian iterations that prevail as the GI status granted Pipili Chandua craft of the namesake Odisha village or the collective khatwa alluding to it as occurs in Bihar. The appliquéd art of Benin is also resplendent in its definite dwelling in history even as it is threads of tradition composing the even more unique reverse appliqué identity of the Mola.

Diverging from this trail of the essential and coming to explore the more general and still impressive identity of appliqués as sightly sews leads one to experience an awe almost of what they afford. Generally employed in contrasting choice of colors so as to work in a dramatic effect are these ‘versatile’ pieces and patches and shapes of extra fabric complementing indeed the stylish character of fashion intended and intensive clothing.

floral appliqué
Source: Utsavpedia

An art of course as well, the versatility of their characterising also extends to the make of the appliqué itself. With choices that go well beyond the defined dimension of them as being patches of fabric such that everything from the obviousness of laces to even the inventiveness of buttons and mirrors have been made elements of this identity, appliqués are amazing indeed. The treading of the middle ground in terms of special still strips of ribbon and wool continues to enhance the prospects of appliqué as an aesthetic exploration of what fashion aspires for as a consideration within its cohesiveness.

Speaking about such statement making sensibilities of fashion also brings us to discover the other expressions through which appliqués have been establishing their individual case as agents of captivating beauty. Everything from the artistic and crafting concerns of intricate jewelry to more elementary choices of shoes and caps and even umbrellas experience a further addition of value through this dimensioned measure of embroidery. Appliqué also often prevails as the tone for various decorative items to double up in their show as being specimens of handicraft.

button applique
Source: Ma & Me Designs

The working in of some appliqué fun into everyday style or making more schematic use of the striking nature of what they embody can be availed through three main ways. Hand sewing, machine sewing and fusing are the distinct types of appliquéing through which can express more variegated styles, rather techniques to ensure that the additional attachments retain their place and position. Attention to the intricacies though is crucial in producing appliquéd pieces that stay true to its ultimate positing as being elements ushering in a whole world of detail.

The extent of the appeal thus conjured can be even enhanced and accentuated by a further imaginativeness made to occur within their tailoring. Appliqués hold immense scope in endowing things with the quirk of a textural embellishment as they are individual design elements themselves. The additional freedom that entails in their highly adaptable nature is such that makes them suitable also in working across layers is another key aspect of why they make for such exciting options to infuse fashion and lifestyle essentials with an essence of fun.

Source: ANY Texture

Consider also in greater practicalness the notion of their prevailing as a sewing technique and the appeal of appliqué still holds in functionality. Certain shapes and cuts of what may not be easily afforded as sartorial expressions can be delivered to perfection with this particular method of sewing. Of course they can be crafted on your own as well which while makes them perfect for DIYing also helps the additional concern of costs. This also means that your creativity is tapped into so as to churn out really striking views and styles that are as unique as they are inventive. Not to forget the primary purpose that they still can be made to serve in shielding minor frays and stretches of cloth otherwise perfectly fine in their being and one begins to realise the many reasons favouring the eternal existence of appliqué even in their arising as some form of a humble hack.

In all their value added intent of enhancing and adorning clothes and accessories or objects, appliqués might also send off an impression of being delicate and sophisticated enough to call for special care to be taken to ensure that their appeal endures. And yet maintenance of appliquéd entities do not generally occur as efforts to be exerted unfailingly. Of course a little attention to these elements of such fun that makes them coveted pieces of art and craft alike would help but there does not assert in any hard and fast rule as to how one should attend to these expanses of elegance.

Appliqués also perform well in pretty much every area and arena. Their accentuated expression does not in any way deter their utility as embroidered upon the most basic of textiles. Similarly unpartisan is the way in which the appliquéd charm can be weaved into any form and gender of clothing or others- be it ubiquitous shirts or traditional sarees and even jeans and handkerchiefs such that the frilly manifestation of their magic does not ever cease to perform the most pleasant of tailored tricks.