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Weave a Rickrack Embellishment

Turn retro trim into accent fabric
Threads #196, April/May 2018
Pretty and cute: Woven rickrack is a playful touch.

Rickrack is a zigzag braid with a long history. Many of us associate it with little girls’ dresses from the 1950s and ’60s, but I’ve found a way to give it an update. When rickrack strips are woven together, they form a colorful, textured fabric that’s great for creating unique garment details, such as sleeves, yokes, midriff bands, bodice panels, or pockets.

This trim is available in cotton and polyester varieties, and in numerous colors and widths. “Baby” rickrack is 1/8 inch wide; giant rickrack is 1-1/2 inches wide. If you use cotton rickrack, prewash it to prevent shrinkage later; the rickrack loses about 1 inch per yard.

It’s fun to experiment with color combinations and arrangements. A solid color scheme showcases the intricacy of the weave. Multiple colors can be aligned into a pattern that resembles plaid. Several shades of the same color can produce a monochromatic ombré  effect. Plan the color sequence so you weave symmetrically.

To weave fabric for a garment section, you’ll create a pattern piece from interfacing and weave directly upon it. Work on a pinnable surface so you can secure the rickrack lengths as you go. When the weaving is complete, remove the interfacing. This process is easy, and the possible variations are endless.

Prepare a template

You’ll need a piece of lightweight, nonwoven interfacing as large as the pattern piece you intend to cover with woven rickrack, with at least 4 inches extra on all sides.

1. Trace the pattern. Secure the interfacing over the pattern piece with pins or weights; trace along the cutting lines. Transfer all markings. If the pattern has a hem allowance, omit it and trace along the finished hemline.

2. Draw reference lines. Locate the template’s vertical center and draw a grainline the full length of the…

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