Sewing Trims -16 Types of Trims for Fabric

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Sewing trims or trimmings makes you think of a catchphrase connected to getting the very best in culinary terms. Something served with all the trimmings is definitely going to be delicious. It will be a feast, a banquet with many extra delights added. The same applies to sewing because when you sew on the trims you add that extra special touch to something you have made.

Sewing Trims, Types of Trim for FabricPinSewing Trims, Types of Trim for Fabric


Sewing Trims TutorialTypes of Sewing Trims1. Sewing Trims – Ribbons2. Sewing Trims – Braids3. Sewing Trims – Lace4. Sewing Trims – Pom Poms5. Sewing Trims – Fringes6. Sewing Trims – Cord, String or Rope7. Sewing Trims – Embroidered Tape8. Sewing Trims – Ric Rac9. Sewing Trims – Bias Tape10. Sewing Trims – Fabric Tubes11. Sewing Trims – Rhinestone Trim12. Sewing Trims – Sequined Trims13. Sewing Trims – Tassels14. Sewing Trims – Knotted Macrame Trim15. Sewing Trims – Gimp16. Sewing Trims – JacquardSewing Trims – TipsSewing Trims – In Conclusion

Sewing Trims Tutorial

Sewing trims can come in many different styles and colors. It can be shiny, wavy, lacy or just pain dazzling with tassels and bobbles. Haberdashery stores are overflowing with a huge variety of trims. Once you have chosen a trim the sewing process will vary depending on the trim on hand.

Generally, trims are there to add interest to the edges of an item you have made. They lend themselves to scarves, skirt hems, sleeves, headbands, veils, shawls, hats, and bags – in fact, the list is endless. 

The most important thing to focus on in terms of sewing trims is the type of trim you plan to use. Then with that knowledge, you will be able to sew your trim onto your garment successfully. 

Types of Sewing Trims

Here is a list of trims and how best to sew them onto your ‘to be trimmed’ item.

1. Sewing Trims – Ribbons

Ribbons come in all sorts of colors, widths, and textures. They are very popular as trim because they can add a flash of color or detail very easily. 

Nylon ribbons are usually broader than their narrow satin counterparts. Ribbons are available in most haberdashery stores and you can buy what you need to trim your garment. 

There are many ways to use ribbons. They can be sewn on plain or ruched and even made into flowers or bows. The beauty of working with ribbons as trim is they are neatened on both sides of the ribbon. Stitch the ribbon on both sides if it is broad or use a zigzag stitch down the middle. Ribbon can be slotted into a seam or on a cuff and naturally, ribbon looks lovely on a hem.


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2. Sewing Trims – Braids

Braids come in different materials ranging from cotton to metallic and other threads that can be plaited. Braids may be designed to create the slotted space for a drawstring or made into loops for a novelty edging. 

Sewing on the braids will depend on where they are to be placed and their function. Thicker braids may require a special needle such as a denim needle and a longer stitch length. It is best to practice first before sewing on the braid.

3. Sewing Trims – Lace

Lace in all its different shades, fabrics, and designs is decidedly one of the best trims. Lace comes in cotton, polyester, nylon, silk, and even elastic varieties. Lace adds an element of beauty and sewing it will depend on the type of lace and its purpose. It may be used to trim and edge or elasticated some undies, but you can be sure lace will need a delicate stitch and careful handling.


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4. Sewing Trims – Pom Poms

Pom Poms can be found as part of a braid or individually made. Handmade or store-bought, these additions to a garment or a hat make a great statement. Individually, a pom pom is best sewn by hand.  Pom poms in a braid will be easy to sew by machine.


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5. Sewing Trims – Fringes

Fringes come in all sorts of different lengths. They can be made of cotton, wool, satin, and sometimes leather or faux leather. They all have a base or header that is the part that secures the fringe to the fabric. 

The adventurous creative seamstress may enjoy making their own fringing. It is easy to do this with fabric that does not fray. Snip into the pre-cut strip of fabric and stop the cut before reaching the top to have the base or header to sew to your garment.

6. Sewing Trims – Cord, String or Rope

Cords and strings have a variety of uses. They are usually twists of cotton fibers and do the job of making drawstrings, piping fillers, ties, and straps. They may be considered for decoration and are used in home decor but sewing them by machine is a challenge because they are not flat. 

As a decorative enhancement, a zigzag is probably the easiest way to machine stitch the cord or string. Couching the cord would be another way to attach the cord or the thicker version, rope.

7. Sewing Trims – Embroidered Tape

Embroidered tape has embroidery in the weave and often has sequins or beads to decorate the tape. It has many uses in the home decor line and in embellishing bridal gowns and items needing to look flashy or exotic. Embroidered tape can be stitched along the edge with care avoiding the beads and sequins.

8. Sewing Trims – Ric Rac

Ric rac is one of the best trims around.  It is easy to sew by machine and comes in different widths from narrow to jumbo. Ric rac can be sewn on top of the fabric by sewing down the middle in a straight line. 

It can be stitched into a seam with half the ric rac in the seam and the other half showing.  This creates a shell or wavy edge and is a lovely way to trim a collar or a cuff. Ric rac can decorate the edge piece of an item like a pocket by being sewn at the back with part of the ric rac showing over the edge. 

Marking a line down the center of the ric rac with a marking pen helps to keep on the straight and narrow if you decide to sew ric rac onto a garment. Ric rac is a little stretchy and can be maneuvered around corners if that is a necessary technique to complete the item you are sewing the ric rac onto. 

Undoubtedly, when it comes to trims, ric rac is a winner for adding color and texture to your chosen item.


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9. Sewing Trims – Bias Tape

Bias tape is another of those colorful wonder trims. You can use store-bought tape or make your own by cutting fabric along the bias at a 45-degree angle. Cut the tape to the width of your choice. 

The bias tape will always be stretchy because of the cross-grain fibers.  Once you have chosen or made your tape there are different ways to use bias tape and different decoration ideas. 

Bias tape can be a single or double-fold variety. This refers to the number of folds after the tape has been cut. Double fold is great for neatening edges and can be used to trim a seam or neaten a raw edge.

Sewing bias tape simply requires a straight sewing stitch or a zig-zag to catch the edges. The tape itself decorates as a sew-on border or an edge neatener. It is a good idea to pin and tack over long areas because of the stretch element.

Getting the length of bias tape fitting accurately before you start ensures there will be no pulling or puckers. This pre-tack or pin process will enable you to be sure you have the right amount of tape for the length you plan to cover.


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10. Sewing Trims – Fabric Tubes

Fabric tubes, once they have been made, are very useful for making straps, loops, and drawstrings. Fabric tubes may also be known as rouleau loops. These very thin tubes are best made of fine soft fabrics. 

They are made with fabric strips cut on the bias, stitched along the edge, and then pulled through the tube made by the bias. It is best to join the fabric to get the right length before sewing the tube and turning it. 

The fabric tube used as a drawstring needs a stopper to prevent it from pulling through the casing and out the other side. A button or a bead sewn on the end is ideal for this purpose.

FURTHER READING:How to Make a Spaghetti Strap

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11. Sewing Trims – Rhinestone Trim

Rhinestones and crystals can be sewn onto some ribbon in a pattern and then the ribbon is attached to the garment. It is also possible to sew them directly onto the fabric. Each rhinestone design you make yourself is individualized and will have to be stitched according to your pattern and the size of the rhinestones. 

It is possible to set the stones in place with a bit of fabric glue just to get the design right. Then stitch over the stones with a hand stitch. Couching is probably the best suggestion. 

Rhinestone trims may also be patterned together to make an applique trim. Rhinestones may come as open clasps. They are pressed onto the fabric with little soft pins or clips that mesh together with pressure once they have been placed on the fabric. 

Attaching this kind of rhinestones to a piece of fabric ribbon makes sewing the string of rhinestones easier because you will not spoil your fabric and essentially you are sewing the ribbon decorated with rhinestones.

FURTHER READING:How to Attach Rhinestones

12. Sewing Trims – Sequined Trims

Sequined trims come with all the pretty sequins threaded in a line overlapping each other and creating a bright shiny line of decoration. Sequins can be added on in their ready-made rows and machine-stitched or hand-sewn individually. 


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If you decide to machine stitch the sequins you need to have their raised sequin edges facing you to make the sewing process easier. The sewing process can be a straight stitch right through the sequins or a zig-zag stitch to go over the line of sequins. 

If you stitch through the sequins it is important to have a strong needle and thread to cope with the added thickness of the sequins. Choose a long stitch to sew with and try it out first on a scrap to be sure your needle and stitch are suitable for the sequins you have chosen. There are so many sequined trims available this is a really shiny glitz and glam way to trim a garment.

13. Sewing Trims – Tassels

Cheap and cheerful tassels are easy to make yourself or buy and attach anywhere that takes your fancy. There is room for a single tassel at the end of a scarf or multiple tassels as a fringe effect or the edge of a cloth or hem of a dress. 

Tassels can be store-bought like fringing or individually for you to sew on. The kind of tassel will determine the sewing method. Tassels on a ribbon or braid will sew on easily by machine, while individual tassels are best hand-stitched or set in a fold of fabric.

Sewing Trims - FringingSewing Trims - FringingPinSewing Trims – Fringing

14. Sewing Trims – Knotted Macrame Trim

There are so many macrame-related projects ranging from the easy straight forward simple knotted designs to more complicated bands with tassels and fringes. Sewing your finished design will largely depend on the thickness of the macrame and the place it will be stitched. Typically an art and craft project, macrame can be seen hanging and decorating many houses.  A macrame trim to sew onto a garment would need to be made of a fine thread for it to sew successfully. Sewn by hand or machine, macrame makes an interesting edging. 

15. Sewing Trims – Gimp

Gimp is a specialized braid and used in upholstery projects, but can be added as a trim to jackets and collars or cuffs. Gimp can be used to disguise a tear or raw edge of an upholstered project or home furnishing. Gimp is often attached with glue and used to hold the fabric to the wooden edges of an upholstered chair. 

16. Sewing Trims – Jacquard

Jacquard trim is a form of an ornately printed ribbon. The design is part of the fabric or printed ribbon. It is not embroidered onto the trim. Jacquard trim is ornate and classical but is easily attached as you would ribbon.

Sewing Trims – Tips

Here are some tips to help you get the best out of sewing trim.

PREWASHING – Always pre wash your trim especially cotton trims because they can shrink or color run.PRESSING – Press your trim so it lies flat and is easier to sew.STORING – Tape the ends of your trims to prevent unravelling, especially on braids.BASTING – Try to avoid pins because with some delicate trims they may leave holes.  Rather baste your trim in place. Press and sew.NEEDLES – Always look for the sharpest needle or change your needle for a new one to sew on your trim.  Special care should be taken if the trim has beads or sequins.MACHINE SETTINGS – Check the tension of your machine before starting to sew the trim.SEWING – If you are sewing on both sides of the trim remember to sew from beginning to end in the same direction starting at the same end. Then start the second row from the same starting point to get even stitching and a parallel row of stitches. This will help you avoid puckering.SEWING FEET – Check the foot you use suits the trim. Open toe foot or satin stitch foot are great for seeing the edges and sewing trims.HAND SEWING – If the trim is bulky or beaded rather hand stitch to avoid snagging your machine.

Sewing Trims – In Conclusion

Sewing trims are without doubt an easy way to finish off a garment or accent an item for your home. There are options to make your own trim or to use trims available from online stores or shops. Check the basic elements before you go ahead and always make sure you have enough and don’t go short.  Adding all the trimmings to your sewing will always bring extra life and vitality to the item you are sewing. 

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