Two weeks ago I received the results of my RSN Diploma Applique project: I got 92%!!! I am so extremely happy with this mark. I was not really looking forward to this technique as I didn’t know what to make of it, but I ended up enjoying it so much and I was really happy with the project I managed to create, so I am overjoyed the assessors are happy with it too.

In this post, I will share my marks, the remarks of the assessors (italics in pink), and my reflection on them. As my project is still at Hampton Court Palace, or on its way via Royal Mail I am not able to share new and more detailed photographs of my project but hopefully the main pictures and the pictures in my previous post provide enough details. Please find details about the assessment process in my post about the results of my silk shading project


First Impressions

  • The work is well presented and clean with no alien fibres (10/10)
  • Design marks have been covered/tacking lines have been removed and are not visible (10/10)
  • The thread condition is good. The thread is not fluffy or thin and retains its sheen and twist (10/10)
  • There are no dirty marks, fluffy threads, stains or abrasion to the fabric (10/10)
  • Starting and finishing stitches are not visible (5/5)

“A very good first impression. The work is clean, the threads are in a good condition and no design lines are visible. Well done”

Well, what can I say, of to a great start with full marks for this category. The last minute check definitely paid off as I managed to fix a loose thread at the back that was visible from the front and hide a paint line when my project was already mounted. Definitely not recommended procedure but really happy to have been able to fix it that way. So the most important lesson, check your work before taking it off the frame, and if you do spot a last minute mistake, don’t despair, there still might be a way to fix it.


  • The design has been adapted well to this technique (20/20)
  • The design is balanced and creates a pleasing image (10/10)
  • The image has been placed squarely on the grain and the background fabric is appropriate to the technique (10/10)
  • Have the proportions of shape been maintained and are they consistent with the source image (10/10)

“A suitable design for this technique which shows thought and accuracy in translation to stitch. Well done”

When I talked about possible appliqué designs with one of the tutors last year, I really didn’t know what to pick. She asked me what images I liked, and I mentioned the vintage railway posters we have on display in our living room. I showed her the one of the Peak District as it is my favourite and she said “that would work well!” Once I got my fabrics, the design started to come alive and quickly envisaged what I wanted to do with it. So happy this is the design I ended up doing and that the assessors liked my interpretation of it.


  • There is evidence of at least 3 different padding technique (10/10)
  • The padding chosen is appropriate for the areas of the design (10/10)
  • No padding is visible underneath the fabric or edges (8/10)
  • The padding is smooth, firm and even (10/10)

“A good range of padding techniques have been used and they are appropriate in the areas that have been chosen. No padding is visible along the top edge of the train – if this was left open deliberately the padding could have been a red felt and would therefore have been less obvious. All padding is smooth firm and even.”

Well, I knew the padding along the top edge of the train would come up. The train is stuck onto the viaduct so there was no other way than that there would be padding showing. I had mentioned it to two tutors what (if anything) I should do about it. It was agreed that I should leave it as it is, as the use of red felt, or even hiding the padding with stitches, would have attracted more attention to it. The natural felt matched the viaduct and is far less distracting. I can happily live with it though, as you can only see it when looking at it side on, and not when it is hanging up on the wall.

Choice and application of fabric

  • There are a minimum of four fabrics which are of a suitable weight and texture for each area (25/25)
  • Fabric are smooth with no obvious puckering (unless required for visual effect (20/25)
  • Fabric have been applied on the straight grain (unless the design requires a deliberate placing off the grain (20/25)

“A good variety of fabrics have been used in appropriate areas for texture relating to the design source. Most fabrics are smooth but the fine organzas have bubbles in several areas across the design and the upper hill has a large crease in it. Fabric have been generally applied straight on the grain, although some are ever so slightly askew eg blue shot silk shadow in the middle ground, the padded hillock in the middle. It is nice to see a hand woven fabric included.”

Really happy with these marks even though I lost a couple. So glad my handwoven fabric received a special mention. The organzas, and especially doing a frayed edges (also see next section) was a nightmare. I didn’t really like how it looked, and the stitches (even though I was using translucent thread) were very noticeable. Slackening my frame to help to create a smooth application of the organzas didn’t really work as well as I had hoped. Also keeping all fabrics on the grain when using padding (especially the toy stuffing) doesn’t always go to plan either as they do move slightly askew. More pinning in order next time I think…..

Edges of fabric and additional details

  • Edges are neatly and securely worked with a suitable number of stitches
    • The cord is sufficiently twisted, the stitches do not show & more than 10 cms have been worked (10/10)
    • Couching is smooth, the stitches are at 90 degrees to the thread, evenly and appropriately space & more than 10 cms have been worked (10/10)
    • Turned edges are smooth, the stitches are neat and even & more than 10 cms have been worked (6/10)
    • Frayed edges are suitable of a suitable depth & more than 10 cms have been worked (6/10)
    • Embroidered edge (as per the brief) is even in tension, covers the edge of the fabric & more than 5cms have been worked (10/10)
  • Edges are suitable for the design (20/20)
  • The edges work well with each other and do not distort each other (10/10)
  • Additional surface stitches are neatly worked and appropriate (10/10)
  • Additional embellishments are appropriate in scale and securely attached (10/10)

“In general edges have been neatly and securely worked in particular the cord, couched and embroidered edges. The care when working turned edges that the stitches are of an appropriate width and they remain hidden and if layered over a lower fabric , they cover the edge of the lower fabric completely (eg hills, top right). The frayed edges, while effective need a lot more stitches to be secure and stable. All edges are suitable for their position with the design and do not distort one another. The long and short stitches and french knots are appropriate and neatly worked as are the letters. The additional tree is unusual and beautifully worked and applied. Well done.”

So happy with these marks and comments. I love that they really like the tree and that they remarked on the neatness of the letters. I have always found satin stitches really difficult to keep neat so I am really glad it worked out this time, even with the difficult letters. As I mentioned in the previous section, not a fan of the frayed edges, and the turned edges are, especially for the smaller sections, difficult to keep neat. With a bit more practise (stumpwork project coming up!) I am sure I can improve.



  • The board has been cut with 90-degree corners and straight edges (5/5)
  • The design is placed straight on the board with a suitable area allowed at all edges; the fabric grain is straight to the edges of the board (3/5)
  • The fabric is pulled tautly across the board to remove creases, bubbles and puckering (5/5)
  • The board is not significantly bowed due to over tensioning the fabric (5/5)
  • No pinpricks are visible around the edge of the board (4/5)


  • The corners of the fabric have been folded neatly and are square and flat (3/5)
  • The sateen is on the grain, taut and clean with square corners and an even rebate (4/5)
  • The slip stitches are consistently of even size with no slip stitches or pinpricks visible (3/5)

“The board has been cut with straight edges and 90 degree corners. Take care to place the design centrally as the rebate varies considerably between elements. The grain is also a little lost on the bottom corners. Most pinpricks have been removed. On the reverse the corners are neatly mitred, but take care not to push excess fabric around the edges of the board and always pull the mitred edges together firmly to hide the stitches. The sateen is taut, clean but not entirely on the grain and the rebate is uneven. The slip stitches are fairly consistent in width, but very visible in parts. The board has not bowed during the mounting process “

Well, what can I say…. However hard I try, mounting never seems to be my friend. I was actually quite please with my corners and the rebate on the sateen for a change. I don’t get where the comment on the uneven rebate on the front comes from. The actually design is perfectly in the centre of the board, it is just that raw edges of the fabrics used end at different positions but they will not be seen and that is also why I submitted my work with a mount so the assessors would see what the final design area was. I do, however, agree that it might not be completely on the grain. I already found when stitching that the design lines seemed to bow and it was therefore very difficult to mount completely straight. This was definitely the best I could manage.


In total, I got 327 out of a possible 355, which works out at 92%.

“This is a striking and complex applique which you have thought out well and executed with accuracy and imagination. The painted train is a very clever embellishment. Very well done.”

Well, I can’t do anything but glow after these comments. The assessor might have given me more credit, as I don’t feel I planned a lot at all. The design just evolved in my mind and the technique allowed for a lot of sampling to try and get it to look exactly as I wanted it. Also glad that my train got a special mention in the closing remarks!

This was the first diploma module I handed in for assessment. I am still working on my blackwork module and I have started my stumpwork module too. After that it will be advanced goldwork, tapestry shading and whitework. Since travel to the UK is not possible for me at the moment due to the covid-19 restrictions I will be following my diploma classes online and keeping my fingers crossed I will be able to travel to Hampton Court again soon at the beginning of next year.

Posted by:Marlous

6 replies on “My RSN Diploma Applique has been assessed

    1. Thank you! Yes it is. I always try and take on board the comments of previous assessments and pay specific attention to it, but then there is always something that is not quite right. I always try and mount slow and carefully and not rush it, as I know that would be a major downfall.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow! Just Wow. Marlous, Thank you for taking us along on your embroidery journey, it is wonderful to see your progress. I really do enjoy reading about how you developed each area of this Appliqué, learning the difficulties you faced when interpreting the design, and where you have had to adapt to the materials. Weaving your own fabric, painting leather, applying a vanishing tree, and mounting a piece with multiple padded fabrics are all challenges that you have overcome. Can’t wait to see what comes next. Well done, and keep up the good work

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Sally for your lovely comments. So glad to hear you enjoyed reading it. It was quite a crazy project, and much more so than I had original anticipated. The tutors are already calling my next project (stumpwork) epic so we will see what that brings…


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