Applique Patchwork

also known as

Puzzle Patchwork

The following information on Applique Patchwork is from The Dictionary of Needlework: An Encyclopedia of Artistic, Plain and Fancy Needlework, 1887, by S.F.A. Caulfeild and Blanche C. Saward. It has been edited for use on this site.

Applique or Puzzle

The pattern shown below is a useful one for using up odds and ends of material, but a difficult one to adjust.


To work: Prepare a number of pieces of cretonne or silk, 4 inches long and 3 inches wide, and slope off one corner of some of these, to form a curve, leaving the rest perfectly square. Cut a few larger pieces, 5 inches long by 3 inches wide, and out of scraps cut some odd-shaped pieces, either of the right length or width.

Arrange these various pieces upon a lining, to form the design shown in the illustration; but, instead of stitching two pieces together as in ordinary Patchwork, lay one over the other, and turn under the edges of the top piece, and Run it to the bottom. When all are in position, and Run to each other and the lining, work round the edge of every patch with Herringbone Stitches made with bright-coloured filoselle. The whole beauty of this design depends upon the judicious selection of the colours and patterns of the patches used.

applilque patchwork

Click on image to see more detail.


Please note that this is an original Victorian pattern and therefore reflects the materials available at that time. If you choose to create this wonderful pattern, be advised you will have to substitute materials for those no longer readily available to most patchwork artists.

As can be seen, both the names "applique" and "puzzle" fit this particular pattern. Taking time to arrange and rearrange, although time consuming, will prove to be worth the work. It can make a world of difference in just the right placement on one bold color or a patterned piece.

Other Applique Patterns

Other applique patterns, although different from this Victorian one, you may be familiar with are the "Dresden Plate" and "Sunbonnet Sue". Both of these patterns are traditional American designs which are made from both patchwork and applique. A number of Amish and Hawaiian quilts make use of this technique as well.


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