WHAT IS IT?
This stiff plastic meshlike trim made of nylon thread was formerly made of horsehair. Horsehair braid can be white or black, and it comes in many colors as well. It’s available in different widths; wider ones will have a thread running along one side to help ease it into a curved shape.
Horsehair braid trim detail
Skirt without horsehair braid
Skirt with horsehair braid
WHEN DO YOU USE IT?
Horsehair braid adds structure to the hemline of garments. Use it anytime you want to stiffen a hem. It’s especially effective for circle skirts, as it helps to define the shape of the hemline. You can add it to curved hems as well as straight hems.
Tips + Notes
- As an alternative, adding a hem facing (page link) or interfacing (page link) to the hem allowance will also stiffen the hemline and add structure.
- The wider the braid, the more your hem will stand out.
HOW TO SEW HORSEHAIR BRAID
Here are two ways to apply horsehair braid. The first method is best if you don’t mind the trim showing on the inside; the second method covers the trim completely.
Measure the hem of your garment. Cut the horsehair braid the length of your hem plus two seam allowances. Overlap the ends of the horsehair braid and sew across the ends.
Cover the overlapped seam with seam binding or strips of fabric, and edgestitch (page link) the binding in place. The cut ends of horsehair braid are scratchy, so covering them will make it more comfortable to wear.
Reduce the hem allowance to ½” (1.3cm) if it’s wider than that, and trim off the excess. With the wrong side of your garment up, overlap the hem ¼” (6mm) on top of the horsehair braid and pin it in place. Edgestitch (page link) the horsehair braid all around the hemline.
Turn the braid to the inside, folding the hem ½” (1.3cm) toward the inside of the garment so it’s not visible from the right side, and press. If the hemline is curved, pull up the threads on the upper edge of the horsehair braid trim, easing the trim to fit the garment. The braid will curve inward at the upper edge.
Slipstitch (page link) the upper edge of the braid to the fabric or underlining.
For this method, choose a horsehair braid that’s the same width as the hem allowance. Or change the hem allowance on your pattern to match the width of braid you’d like to use. Press up the hem allowance on the garment. Tuck the horsehair braid trim into the fold of the hem, and pin or hand baste (page link) in place.
Finish the horsehair braid trim together with the hem edge. Seam binding or bias tape finishes this type of hem nicely. (See page link for bound seam finish.)
Topstitch (page link) or slipstitch (page link) the hem in place. Topstitching by machine can be a nice way to show off the curved hem, but it will be visible on the right side. Slipstitching by hand produces a nearly invisible hem.
Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine