“Back-basting” or “Template-free” Appliqué

Template-free Applique

A Canadian Inklingo quilter says that “back-basting” is how she was taught to appliqué when she was young, and it was just called “appliqué,” so it seems to have been around for at least several decades.

Back-basting flower

Layered back-basting is explained and illustrated in The Inklingo Handbook.

Back-basting Applique

Applique by another name?

Has anyone seen what is now called “back-basting” or “template-free” appliqué described in older sewing books, patterns, or newspapers, or with another name?  Since Canada is such a melting pot of cultures, it could have come from anywhere.  Just curious.

Garbage Eve or Charm-Free

Like most families, ours has a few pet terms.  Two of my favs are “Garbage Eve” and “Charm-free.” Charm-free is a pseudo-diplomatic way to describe an unpleasant, self-centered person–which every group seems to have.

Please let me know if you have heard about “back-basting” being called something other than “template-free.”  Calling anything “xxxxxx-free” has a negative connotation for me, so I don’t think I want to refer to such a nice technique that way.

Pseudo, serendipity, and esoteric are all nice too, but the opportunities to use them are sadly limited, especially with sewing techniques. Maybe another time.

Linda & Monkey

PS  Garbage Eve is the night before garbage pickup when “someone” has to go out to the garage and get it ready.

5 thoughts on ““Back-basting” or “Template-free” Appliqué”

  1. I LOVE the term “Charm-free.” Do you mind if I use it? There are a good number of people that I know to whom that applies very well.

    I’ve actually never heard of back-basting. You can bet your bippy I’ll be using it when I do applique again.

  2. It is at least 6 decades old. That is how I was taught to do applique by my grandmother. I used a darning needle and crochet cotton. I made baby sacks for my baby cousin. It wasn’t called applique, it was called “make it pretty”. My grandmother came to this country in the late 1800’s. She immediately set up shop as a dressmaker. I have been sewing or embroidering my whole life. But started quilting in the late 70’s. Her quilts were made on the Lower East Side in NY, and were feather filled.

  3. Such a conundrum! What to call the best technique I have found so far to applique?
    Snikker – we have Friday Eve at our house. And then there is Birthday Eve…

  4. Absolutely charming……….so “politically correct” has existed long before this current fad. Wonderful use of words; our children should know the power of words instead of trying to shortening communication to each other.


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