Book Review – Contemporary Appliqué

Textile Art Book Reviews

At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.

Contemporary Appliqué by Julia Triston and Rachel Lombard is a thorough exploration of how you can use applique to create a huge variety of textile arts and crafts, from 3D sculptures to versions of your children’s art.


Appliqué, what is it?  How can a book be written on just this one technique?  Is it for me?  This publication promises to ‘explore the potential of Appliqué’.  Lets find out if it does…..

Who Is The Book For?

Appliqué is a traditional technique, which can be divided into many forms.  This publication pushes its meaning and use into a modern setting.  We see this as suitable for anyone with an interest in embroidery, who would like to mix up their view of this technique.  Projects and ideas included are varied, thus attainable for those with little knowledge as well as the experienced artist, who wants to freshen their skill toolbox.


Rather than chapters, this publication has been divided into four parts.  In brief:

Part One takes us through Appliqué in its context, guiding us through the basics….

Are we struggling to know where to begin?

Part Two educates us on design skills:

Book Review - Contemporary Appliqué
From plan to final outcome, illustrations outline the process behind the item. (Work by Caroline Whitehead)

Part Three looks at the basics of Appliqué:

Book Review - Contemporary Appliqué
What equipment do we need?

Part Four illustrates the traditional to the contemporary, so we can visualise new ways of using this skill:

Book Review - Contemporary Appliqué
Appliqué? Yes it is, in its three-dimensional form! (work by Karen Suzuki)

What Makes It Special?

Certain illustrations hold more impact than others.  For example this one:

Book Review - Contemporary Appliqué
From sketch to stitch, we can shown how to get a little sentimental over our little one and their drawings…this may be a new way to use them!


As with most Batsford published books, the imagery is of a high standard.  The illustrations are well placed, leaving no confusion.

Book Review - Contemporary Appliqué
If something needs explained, there is always a picture to convey it.

What Is Wrong With The Book?

Appliqué could be perceived as a hate it or love it technique, so the title may not at first appeal to all.  However if we open its pages with an open mind, we are sure to be inspired and may be surprised as to what can be bracketed as Appliqué.  Three-dimensional, sculptural, bonded, cultural….this book covers it all.


We may think we know what Appliqué is, however this book with challenge and ignite our thinking to a whole new level.  A beginner or a skilled artist; it has appeal for all.

Book Review - Contemporary Appliqué
Appliqué for our time, this book flies the contemporary flag well.

If you want to get this book, we’ve got an Amazon link just here!

What Technique Is This?

This is appliqué, one of the most popular way of using fabric to create textile art. There are a few types of appliqué that you can try, and if you need help starting we recommend the Royal School of Needlework’s book.

Appliqué is different to patchwork, in case you were wondering, and if you want some appliqué inspiration, here are some posts to check out!