September '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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64 || P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5 EMBROIDERY BUSINESS A ppliqué has been a part of fab- ric decorating for centuries, but when we look at the variety of modern materials used to add dimension and texture to background fab- rics, we wonder what the early masters of this technique would think. I think it's safe to say that they would probably be amazed and proud of what they started. Derived from French and Latin words meaning "to attach" or "join together," appliqué has been augmented and en- hanced over time by a vast array of fab- rics and embellishments, which we stitch to a background to create a pattern or a picture. Developed by innovative fabric manufacturers and the creative minds of inspired and artistic designers, the modern appliqué technician takes these products to new heights. Sometimes, even, inno- vative minds use items that were never imagined for appliqué. USEFUL APPLIQUÉ One of the practical uses for early appli- qué was patching and strengthening worn clothing, but questing minds have turned it into so much more. For instance, Ter- rie Casey of TK Embroidery in Portland, Oregon, saved a pair of her husband's jeans using a Band-Aid embroidery de- sign. When snags turned into jagged holes and tears, she used all sizes of the design, embroidered on scrap denim, to patch the imperfections. We don't often think of quilts as appli- quéd designs, but the pieced art that is incorporated on to the background square is appliqué at its finest. An appliquéd quilt square directly sewn on a sweatshirt, either on top or cut out from behind using reverse appliqué, would make a wonderful gift for the quilter in your life. I used this technique when a customer's mother left be- hind some unfinished quilt proj- ects. We used them to make shirts for each of her five daughters, three of whom were quilters as well. Add- ing the mother's digitized signature made a memento with an everlast- ing impression. Appliqué is a fine choice for items that need to be seen and appreciated from a distance as well as up close. As such, banners and flags use stunning appliqué to make a statement. In the Middle Ages' appliqué, which was often very elaborate, was used on he- raldic flags and ecclesiastical gar- ments and banners. A modern day banner made for a school by Debra Baker of Stitches by Baker in Ala- meda, California, was a multi-hoop mara- thon. "This was a seven-hoop project with many alignment issues," she states. The base fabric was heavyweight 100 percent wool. The red fabric was lighter weight wool with a gold metallic thread border. The second hooping was the left side of the laurel with a portion of the white ap- pliqué in the middle. She had to allow for the material to be partially stitched down while one side was finished, then smoothed it down to do the other side of the laurel in appliqué, and lining up the black outline. To finish, she aligned the letters in the middle, and did the upper and lower letters, all in metallic thread. Ethnic folk garments have always relied heavily on appliqués. Some have evolved from simpler styles to elaborate costumes using a combination of appliqué and em- broidery. An example of this are the com- petition costumes seen in Irish dance, which were surprisingly simple back in the middle of the 20th century. A trip down memory lane—or for the younger set, a trip down the Internet's highway—reminds us of the poodle skirt that was just a circle of felt with Pieces of Fun Fanciful and practical appliqué B Y H E L E N H A R T M O M S E N Helen Hart Momsen, owner of Virgin- ia-based Hart Enterprises, has been a member of the embroidery industry for more than three decades. Wide- ly published in the industry's trade press, Momsen's monthly Hart of Embroidery column ran in NBM's Prin- twear magazine for more than 12 years. She continues to con- tribute to the publication as a feature writer. Momsen founded the Embroidery Line, an Internet forum where embroiderers can share ideas and offer assistance and encouragement to newbies and veterans alike ( She has established an educational Facebook page, Helen Hart's Em- broidery World, as well. She developed and sells the Hart Form, a business-ordering aide used by many professional embroi- derers. She is additionally an authorized Wilcom Distributor. Momsen is also the author of two embroidery-related books: Professional Embroidery: Business by Design and Professional Embroidery: Stitching by Design, and a series of instructional e-Books available on the Web at This windshield screen is a great example of an innovative use of appliqué on unusual fabrics. (Image courtesy Lynn Tittle, Sew What? Custom Embroidery) ● Beginner

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