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How to Create a Horsehair Braid

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Remember horsehair braid? It’s that stiff, synthetic, web-like tape traditionally sewn inside the hems of evening and bridal gowns to stiffen them and make them flare out. The Chicago design team of Roger Price and Craig Walton used horsehair braid in an unusual way. They attempted to use horsehair braid as trim, embellishing the right side of the garment. Linda Lee was so taken with one jacket’s dramatic effect that she decided to try her own jacket. Other designers as noted as Christian Dior and Geoffrey Beene have also occasionally used horsehair braid to embellish their garments.

In the end, Linda chose to apply the braid to silk organza rather than tulle since organza is more readily available, comes in a range of rich, exquisite colors, and has a crisp, smooth surface. But tulle can certainly be used, and it would also be interesting to experiment with trimming other, entirely different fabrics like linen, wool crepe, or even wool tweed.

Whether you decide to create all-over trim, or just embellish the pockets, cuffs, or edges of a garment, you can benefit from this technique. Why not elevate this traditional hem stiffener to trim the right side of a garment?

From Threads #70

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