• Draw your design on a piece
of drawing paper.
• Choose a square of fabric for the
front of the arpillera.
• Choose which other fabrics you
would like to use for your designs
and attach heat bond to the fabric
(follow instructions on packaging).
• The heat bond has a backing similar to tracing paper. Draw your
shapes on the paper backing and
then cut them out.
• Peel off the paper backing from
the cutout shapes. Using the iron,
iron on your shapes to your fabric
• Continue ironing on shapes until
your fabric has all the shapes and
design elements you want.
• Cut another piece of fabric for
your backing as well as cotton
batting the same size. You will
now have two fabric squares and
Left: Robin Phillips. Right: Mitzi Branham.
one piece of cotton batting. Sandwich the batting in between the
two pieces of fabric and secure
with straight pins.
• Using simple overhand stitches,
attach the outside of your fabrics together using a variety of
embroidery floss colors.
• Add embellishments to your
design with beads or embroidery
stitches to add color and to secure
your fabrics together.
Dorros, Arthur. Tonight Is Carnaval.
New York, NY: Penguin Young
Readers Group, 1995.
LaDuke, Betty. Compañeras Women,
Art & Social Change in Latin
America. San Francisco, CA: City
Lights Books, 1985.
Mack, Stevie and Kathleen Williams.
Arpilleras! The Colorful Appliqués of Peru. Tucson, AZ: Crizmac, 2007.
Jane Dalton is an artist, educator, and
author. She offers renewal seminars for
teachers. The student projects in this article were created by North Carolina public
school teachers attending a workshop
entitled Affirming Diversity Through Art.
Students analyze relationships of
works of art to one another in terms
of history, aesthetics, and culture,
justifying conclusions made in the
analysis and using such conclusions
to inform their own art-making.
• heat bond (available at any
• assortment of fabric in different colors and patterns
• background fabric approximately 12" ( 30 cm) square,
two per student
• 12" ( 30 cm) square drawing
• embroidery floss
• embroidery needles
• straight pins
• cotton batting
An arpillera from Peru. Many contemporary
arpilleras feature village life.