The modern applique is very simple, and entails a minimum amount of labour for the artistic effects obtained. The piece to be applied is first basted into place, but should not be glued or backed like the appliques of a few years ago. It is better to overcast the applied part to the material with fine silk or cotton the exact colour of the foundation.
There is a choice of several stitches for the outlining of applique. Our illustration showing a corner of a tablecloth shows an edging of satin stitch. The groundwork is iridescent pale blue hand-made linen, with an applique of soft green which almost covers the blue cloth. The green has another piece on it of pale blue. In making applique of this kind, it is best to work the pale blue on to the green before the latter is basted on to the tablecloth. The satin stitch takes longer to do than couching or outline stitch, and requires considerable care in the workmanship.
Just now couching is very popular, as it makes an attractive finish, and yet is so quickly done. It is simply a coarse buttonhole stitch done over two or three strands of linen floss. Sometimes the hem line is finished with a line of couching, which is useful for repeating the dominant colour of the applique.
The method of working outline or embroidery stitch hardly needs an explanation, as every girl is familiar with it. Another stitch is known as the lapped outline stitch. The name explains itself, as the needle goes back so far that the outline stitch is almost doubled. For a portiere and other large pieces of work, a cotton cord is often used in place of couching; it is very decorative, suggesting the lead lines of leaded glass. All kinds of decorative cords can be picked up for a few cents at the notion counter, where basketfuls are often on sale to clear out old stock.
Drawn work may be used as a finish for portieres, table-covers, and window draperies. The threads should first be drawn to the desired depth, and the edges then finished with a double row of couching, hem-stitching, or cross stitch.
Household Linen Lends Itself To AppliquÉ.
The sideboard cloth ornamented with a ginkgo motif has an applique on grey homespun linen. The couching is of biscuit-colour. Orange is introduced in the seed-pods, which gives opportunity for a brilliant spot of colour.
The sideboard cloth or bureau scarf with the seed-pod motif is made on coarse unbleached linen. The applique is in olive green, while the seed-pods are outlined in golden brown floss. The same shade marks the hem line. This is done in outline stitch.
The sideboard cloth of craftsman's canvas is appliqued with linens. This horse-chestnut design is very effective for the base of a portiere. The canvas is of dull olive green, while the applique is made from old rose and green bloom linen. The nuts are also in soft old rose. All the applique is outlined in brownish yellow.
The seed-pod motif has also been used for ornamenting the portiere beneath the grill work. The groundwork is almost corn-colour, while a good russet shade is used for the pods. The stems and outlines are all warm green. This portiere is the first attempt at applique of a young bride who had become enthused with seeing some beautiful work from the craftsman's workshops.
Very unusual is the beautiful applique of dragon-flies. The groundwork is black net, while the applique is fine green felt, imported from Norway. It is beautifully worked in satin stitch, and all the stem lines and the wings of the dragon-flies are embroidered in silk. The flowers are done in beautiful tones of yellow outlined with the finest embroidery. Our illustration shows only the ornamentation at the top of the curtain. There is as much work at the base as there is at the top of the curtain, the colouring, of course, being the same. Three or four pair of these exquisite curtains were made for one room, the colour scheme of which was emphasized in these curtains.
There is hardly any needlecraft to-day which gives such infinite scope as appliqued portieres. Fortunately we are at last realizing what is good in art, and modern craft-workers vie with each other in trying to produce original and beautiful results. Greater strides seem to have been made in portieres than in almost any other kind of decorative needlework. Aim at the effect, and endeavour to get beautiful results without too much elaboration. The work is apt to lose in decorative value by being too closely covered with stitches. A rich effect can be obtained by the use of handsome material and very little needlework, depending mostly for the results upon the beauty of the design.
Applique Of Green Felt On Black Net.
The illustrations of portieres shows some beautiful hangings worked by the pupils of the Pratt Institute at Brooklyn. They are partly of applique, while the background is made interesting by swirls worked in embroidery.
The portiere with the dragons is made of silk crinkled tapestry, a charming imported material, obtained at any upholsterer's in a complete line of colouring. Some of these tapestries have a plain surface, while others are made in a two-toned weave, giving a changeable effect that is quite interesting. The silver grey is one of the most beautiful shades for ornamenting with applique for portieres. Nile green also makes a good background, and is shot with a darker colour. Then there is an old gold toning to brown which makes a very beautiful background for appliques, providing the stitching and applied design are chosen to harmonize. The dragons can be purchased at any first-class East India house. They are made of cotton, and when used for applique they are very beautiful when they are almost covered with silk stitchery. In the dragon portiere very little of the original creatures is visible, as they are almost covered with silken stitches worked in various directions to suit the contour of the dragons. Quite a number of colours are used. A pearly grey silk is chosen for the high lights. There is something very beautiful and graceful in the needlework swirls on the background. Heavy plush is appliqued on the bottom of the curtain, but a plain band would be more decorative.
The portiere with the trellis-work at the top is formed by a panel of corded silk being let into the plush. Six beasties bought ready-made are charmingly scattered at irregular intervals on the silk. In doing this panel a trellis of chenille is worked first. Variation is given to the background by a paler shade being introduced in the middle width of silk which is run horizontally across the portiere. The designs are basted on before the trellis is worked, and they seem to stand out more, because the trellis pattern does not appear behind the heads of the beasties. It will be noticed that they vary somewhat, not only in design but in their treatment. The effect of seaweed is cleverly indicated in the designs on the background.
A Well-Designed Applique With Embroidery.
One of the illustrations shows more difficult and intricate work. It is made from an Oriental piece of brocade, which is brought into relief by the beautiful shading which emphasizes the design. The pale delicate tones should be seen to be appreciated. A quaint brocade of small pattern is used for the side hems. Stitchery is also added to these. Such a work of art would be a treasured possession in any family, and yet what infinite pleasure it would give the worker, not only in the doing of the work itself, but in the choice of colouring.
The embroiderer finds out for herself many ways of individual treatment. The design can be strengthened by outlining it with a colour which goes well with it, and it can be made to look flat by the colour of the groundwork being used. Silver and gold gives the appearance of richness, and a double outline causes the pattern to stand out in strong relief. Such needlecraft brings into play all the artistic faculties. In it the skill of the needle-worker can be carried to its limit. It must not be forgotten that the success of the whole depends upon the design. Such work calls peremptorily for skilled needlecraft, which must of necessity be effective, and lend itself to dignity of design and nobility of treatment.
Oriental Brocade With Applique And The Outlining Of Parts Of The Brocade.