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Tips & Tricks of sewing TRIMS to fabric

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Some important pointers in sewing trims

You should prewash the trims as well as the base fabric before attaching them together – if it is polyester or other synthetic fabric and or trim which will not shrink, do not worry. But natural fabrics almost always shrink after wash and you will have puckers because of the different ways they (fabric and the trim) shrink.

Some trims have a ‘lip’ which you can hide inside the seam – but some trims do not have this. You will have to hand sew this to your fabric. Use invisible stitches to do this. 

Try to iron the wrinkles out of any trims you are using. With delicate trims like satin ribbons, you should steam press rather than directly apply hot iron. You can also use a pressing cloth to keep the face undamaged.

Use the sharpest needle on your sewing machine – It is better to sew ribbon trims with a new needle. And use large needles.

If you want to keep the trims from shifting you maybe tempted to use pins – but be warned that they leave holes – with silky ribbons, pins are a complete no no. Use some other means like sticky tape/binder clips to keep them in place.

When sewing along the edges sew from the same edge i.e start from the same edge on either side. This will ensure that you do not get puckers.

Ensure that your sewing machine tension is correct and that bobbin thread does not show on the face of the fabric – because we are most of the time topstitching the trim on to the fabric. You can also use an invisible thread on the bobbin if you want to be absolutely sure

Time to time, flip your fabric over to check that the trim is being sewn properly and evenly. It is a pain to use seam ripper after paintakingly sewing the whole trim.

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Related posts : 20+ different fabric trims ;10 best types of lace and lace trims; 15 types of ribbon you can use for sewing, crafts and embroidery

How to go about Sewing trims

Method 1. Top stitch

Some trims like these can just be top stitched on the fabric surface.

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But you may need better ways with different trims.

To sew trims on a fabric surface, keep in fixed in place (with basting stitches preferably or using fabric glue). If the trim is very narrow, just top stitch along the middle of the trim. If the trim is wide, stitch along either edges.

Alternatively you can use an open-toe foot or a satin stitch foot, sew a wide zig-zag stitch over the trim.

You can use a transparent foot for more clarity on where you are going. Or a zig-zag foot. In fact, this is oft recommended by experts, as you can see clearly, especially when sewing pompom trims.

Tape trims like twill tape is used to reinforce the seam or extend the seam allowances. You can center the tape over the seam line inside the garment and straight stitch in place. A fold over trim is also top stitched. Fold-Over trim is first wrapped over the raw edge of the fabric. Hand-baste it. Then topstitch close to the inside edge.

Method 2. Using special presser foot like the braiding foot

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A similar method is to use a braiding foot – it is useful to sew narrow trims like cords and ribbons on a fabric surface. You can learn more about the braiding foot here.

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A Piping trim is attached with a zipper foot, so that you can stitch as close to the trim as possible.

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Method 3. Hand stitching

You can use a small slip stitch or whip stitch by hand stitching to attach the trims. Hand stitching can be done in a way that you do not even realise that there are stitches.

How to add lace trims to edges?

Lace trims are one of those accents which add a lot of femininity to a garment. You can sew the lace trim after completing the hem and keeping it on top of the hem with a straight stitch or set it so that it will project down from the hem. I prefer the second look. Checkout how to add lace like that.

Crease / Mark 1/2 inch up from the edge of the fabric. This is where you have to add the lace. 

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You have to start pinning the lace trim from center back – Keep the lace trim (right side down) on the right side of the fabric, the lace outer edge (the one with the scallop) up towards the waist – Header of the lace trim should be on the creased line you had made earlier.

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When you reach the back again, overlap the lace trim about 1/2 inch. This portion needs to be joined together.

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Take off the pin at the joining where you have overlapped the lace trim. Stitch the lace trim together with a 1/2 inch allowance.

Repin the lace trim again to the fabric. Top Stitch the lace trim to the fabric along the header; You will have to stitch with a very small stitch length (1); Use zig zag stitch optimally.

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Leave a lille extra for turning under

Turn back the fabric edge from under the lace trim to the back of the fabric. You can handstitch it there with small whip stitches or sew with machine. 

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You can hand stitch the turned-under fabric edge there or stitch with a straight stitch on the sewing machine, Catching the fabric edge and the outer fabric. The picture below is the back of the fabric with the turned under edge.

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Another way is to finish the edge of the fabric with rolled edge finish and then keep the lace trim just above it and stitch in place.

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Then you turn the lace and press. You can also top stitch at the seam catching the trim and the rolled edge – this will keep everything in place.

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A favorite finish with lace trims is to make pin stitches along the edge like this.

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Check out this post on pin stitching for learning more.

One another way to attach lace trims is with insertion stitches. You can check out this post for more details on insertion stitches.

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You can also sew the trims with a facing. Keep the fabric right side up, keep the trim on top, and then the facing. Sew the trim along the edge. Turn the facing to the back. Fold the edge to the inside and sew in place with hand stitches or machine stitches.

Sewing trims between edges

You can make pretty straps for clothes by adding fabric trims between the fabric folds.
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Decide on the trim you want. Choose one with a good enough lip so that there is enough space for you to sew it in between the fabric edges of the strap.
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The strap sewn with the trim inside
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How to attach Faux fur trims ?

You can cut the faux fur trim from a piece you have or buy it cut from the stores. As the edges of the faux fur fabric do not fray you can cut it and not worry about the cut edges or turning under edges.

Keep the trim on top of the garment, the trim’s lower edge aligned with the fabric’s Outer edge. Pin in place. Topstitch very close to the edge through the two layers. Now the outer edge is stitched in place. Sew the inner edge, also. You can choose a similar colored thread to sew the trim but do not worry if you do not have an exact match thread, as the deep pile of faux fur will make the stitching line almost invisible.

Checkout this tutorial to make capes on the way faux fur trims can be stitched. 

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Do not cut faux fur inside the home. I am talking from the experience of vacuuming for 1 hour after making this collar scarf DIY. I have since wizened up. It is like you have shaved a cat inside. But the texture and interesting element that faux fur brings to a garment is unbeatable.

How to attach fringe trims ?

Finish the lower edge of the fabric with a zigzag stitch or serger. Pin the straight edge of the fringe trim to the lower edge of the fabric. Stitch very close to the edge of the fringe. Alternatively, You can also keep the fringe right side down on the lower edge right side up of the fabric and stitch the edges together. Turn the fringe down. Now bring the seam allowances up and stitch along the seam line.

Checkout the tutorial to make different types of fringe trims. 

How to attach braids ?

They are usually hand-basted in place or machine basted with basting stitches and then stitched through the center ditch. Or you hand stitch carefully. 

How to sew ric rac ?

Ric rac is usually applied as a topstitched trim. For this you should stitch through the center or hand tack at points. You can also insert ric rac into seams, but then this will reduce the width of the trim.

How to attach a ribbon trim ?

Ribbon trim is a favourite trim very often used in bridal dresses and kids’ dresses. You can have a look at this post on making scarves for  step by step instructions to sew the ribbon trims and such borders along the edge of your fabric.

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If you have a double-stitching needle of sufficient width, you can use this to attach the ribbon in one go. Checkout this post on more details on double needle stitching .

When you reach the corners cut diagonally and attach as in the picture below. You can learn mor about sewing mitered corner here.

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How to sew piping?

Pipping is a beautiful trim added to fabric edges/seams. Check out the post on how to make and sew piping  ; You may wish to add the piping on to a v-neckline – you can learn the method in this post on sewing v-necklines

How to sew bias binding?

A single-fold bias tape and double-fold bias tape are both used as accent trims on fabrics.

To attach a double-fold bias tape, fold the tape over the raw edges of your fabric with the wide side of the tape on the underside to ensure both edges are caught when top stitching on the right side.

For more details, checkout the post on bias binding.

How to attach a beaded trim ? 

The main challenge when attaching beaded trim is that the beads will start falling off as soon as the bead trim is cut at the end. To prevent this, you will need to anchor the thread after you have cut the trim.

Always leave an extra 1 1/2 inch when you cut the bead trims, so that you will have enough thread in the trim to anchor it securely. Now remove the extra beads from the trim till you reach the desired trim ending. 

Thread a needle with the thread in the trim. Now anchor this thread by stitching two-three small stitches near the last bead. Cut off the extra thread. The bead trims ends are reasonably secure now.

When sewing trims, increase the stitch length and loosen the upper tension a little; Also take care that you are not stretching the trim.

Most trims are dry-wash only. Check the care label for this and use the proper maintenance to avoid trim puckering afterward. For example, the satin ribbons look really nice when you sew them, but after you wash them at home, you will find that it has puckered and looks not so nice anymore.

And take extra care when ironing clothes with trims. Most trims are sensitive to heat. 

Related post : Identifying which tapes to use sewing – a list; How to make ribbon trims; Sewing tips and techniques.

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Author: Sarina Tariq
Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
3 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks of sewing TRIMS to fabric”
  1. Anonymous

    Thankѕ for finally talking about > Tips & Tricks of sewing TRIMS to fabric – ЅewGuide

  2. Heidi Labusch

    If I am sewing a Pearl ribbon on tulle for a veil, would I put something underneath (thin material/tissue paper) to secure it?
    Is there something you recommend I could use, that is easily removable afterward so the Pearl ribbon is only left on the edge? And no remnants are left.

  3. Liz
    Wonderful detailed information thankyou so much! Reply
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