A step beyond the process of onlaying is INLAY, where a material is laid not on to the other but into it, both being perhaps backed by a common material. The process is, in fact, precisely analogous to that inlay of brass and tortoiseshell which goes by the name of its inventor, Boule. The work is difficult, but thorough. It does not recommend itself to those who want to get effect cheaply; and it is suited only to close-textured stuffs, such as cloth, which do not easily fray.

The materials are not pasted on to linen, as in the case of applique. The cloth to be inlaid is placed upon the other, and both are cut through with one action of the knife, so that the parts cannot but fit. The coherent piece of material (the ground, say, of the pattern) is then laid upon a piece of strong linen already in a frame; the vacant spaces in it are filled up by pieces of the other stuff, and all is tacked down in place. That done, the work is taken out of the frame, and the edges sewn together. The backing can then, if necessary, be removed; and in Oriental work it generally was.