Counterchange ornament is often used in applique work. For this purpose the design must be so constructed that both the device and the ground are identical in shape and area (see figs. 44 and 46, Plate No. 66). An economical and effective method of applique decoration is that illustrated on Plate No. 10. The pattern is designed so that the material ornament taken from the panel on the left-hand side of the plate is used to form the dark pattern in the panel on the right-hand side. The pattern in one appears a little smaller than in the other. This has been caused partly by the corded outline being in both cases light in colour.
For applique of almost all kinds it is well to back the material, which is done in the following manner :
Stretch tightly on a board, with tacks * or drawing-pins, a piece of thin cotton or linen fabric. Paste this all over with a thin layer of paste (Higgins's paste can be used with the very best results) smoothly and completely; put the velvet, satin, serge, linen, or whatever is to be used in the work, wrong side down, press firmly, and see that no air bubbles or lumps remain; and leave it to dry thoroughly, over night if possible. Then, on the wrong (linen) side, draw the design, and cut out carefully the parts to be applied, with short, sharp scissors; if cut from the backing, a sharper and cleaner edge is ensured.
* Those that have been tinned are best; other kinds mark the material.
On the foundation material, which has been previously stretched in a frame, mark the whole design, indicating where the "cut-out pieces must go and any parts that have to be embroidered. Pin the applique pieces into their places and then paste again, and leave until dry. These pieces should be securely tacked into their positions before the embroidery is actually commenced.
There are a variety of ways of treating applique. It must first be stitched to the ground with small stitches taken from the ground into the applique at right angles to the edge. Then, a couching of silk is often necessary to cover the edges before the cord is sewn down. Another method is that in which the edge has either a strand of silk or very narrow ribbon couched down instead of the cord; or, again, the edges can be worked over in satin stitch, or button-hole stitch with a strand of silk under. Admirable effects are obtained by the use of satin stitch or buttonhole stitch to bind the edges.
If the work is to be strained for framed panels, etc., a piece of holland pasted over the back is a good preservative ; it holds it all together in a firm manner. For curtains, or anything where softness in hanging is required, this backing is not desirable. When the applique is worked in the hand, the greatest care is needed in order to keep it quite flat.*
* With reference to the contention as to the rival merits of frame versus hand work. As a general rule amateurs much prefer to do their embroidery out of the frame, being much easier for them to handle, whilst professionals put almost all work into a frame. A variety of fancy stitches, oriental, darning, chain, buttonholing, etc., cannot be conveniently done in a frame; while at the same time for laid work, etc., a frame is absolutely essential.
In applique patterns keep to simple forms, or rather avoid elaborate serrated leaves and thin ornament. There is no reason why thin stems, centres of flowers, etc., should not be worked in silk stitching in conjunction with the applied work.
Applique is eminently suitable for positions where broad effects are wanted, and where fine work cannot be properly seen or is too good for rough usage. A beautiful example of interchange pattern is illustrated on Plate No.11, and other good types of applique work are shown on Plates No. 7, 8, 9 and 10.