Sewing Tips for Trim

Kate Miller-Wilson
trim on quilt

Sewing trims can take your project from simple to spectacular, but it's important to use these products correctly if you want a professional look. By keeping a few tips in mind, you'll be able to create a beautifully embellished project any time you want.

Six Sewing Tips for Trim

From choosing the right trim for your project to getting the perfect look the first time, these tips will help ensure your sewing success.

Choose Trim Carefully

There are thousands of sewing trim options in every fabric store, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. When choosing a trim for a sewing project, keep the mood, scale, and color of your design in mind. Pick a trim that complements your design. For instance, if you're making a retro-style apron, you may want playful ric-rac and cute eyelet lace. For a pair of formal drapes, heavy braid and gold fringe may be more appropriate.

Draw Your Design

Unless your pattern calls for a specific trim and layout, you'll be using your own design skills to give your project a finished look. To do this, sketch out your project in advance, and include the trim in your sketch. For instance, you may want to make a sequined spiral on a throw pillow cover. First draw the pillow design on paper. Then, if your motif is complex, use a fabric pencil to draw it on the fabric for your pillow. This helps make sure your trim ends up exactly where you want it.

Baste Trim Before Sewing It

In most cases, it helps to hand sew your trim to the project before you permanently affix it with your sewing machine. This type of temporary hand sewing, called basting, is a great way to keep the trim in place as you work with the project. It gives you greater control over the placement. To do it, pin the trim in place, and then use large hand stitches to hold it there. Remove the pins, and then use your sewing machine to sew over the trim again.

Use the Right Sewing Machine Foot

For many trims, especially those with a flat edge on one side, you'll want to use your sewing machine's zipper foot. This is usually the best choice for fringe, piping, ruffled or pleated lace, pom-poms, and some other styles. For flat trim, like decorative ribbon or flat lace, you can use a standard sewing machine foot to maintain extra control over your project.

Pick the Best Stitch

Different types of trim require different sewing machine or hand sewing stitches. For some very delicate trims like elaborate beadwork or rows of sequins, you may have better results sewing the trim by hand. To keep your stitches hidden, try to slide the thread under the sequins or beads and catch the fabric on either side of the trim piece. For many other types of trim, machine sewing offers more durable and professional results. Experiment with an extra piece of trim to find the stitch width that works best for these items. For some trims, like decorative cord or braid, you may want to use a zig-zag stitch to hold the trim to the fabric.

Don't Forget the Ends

When adding trim to a project, it's important to remember the raw edges of the trim. Some items, like braid or knitted lace, may unravel on the raw ends. To prevent this, use a dab of hot glue or anti-ravel serum. Then fold the end under, and stitch it in place. This will help your project remain durable and attractive for years to come.

Trying Out Trims on a Dish Towel

If you'd like to experiment with some fun trims on a small scale, try decorating a dish towel. This is an easy sewing project for beginners, and it makes a great canvas for showcasing fun sewing trims.

Things You'll Need

  • Plain dish towel
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Fabric pencil
  • Fun trims to try

What to Do

  1. Lay the dish towel on your work surface. Use a fabric pencil to draw a design on the fabric. Consider a simple leaf image or several random stripes.
  2. Lay the trim on the towel, following the lines you drew. Use pins to attach the trim.
  3. Using large hand stitches, baste the trim to the towel, and then machine sew the trim in place.
  4. Attach edge trim, such as piping, lace, or fringe along the top and bottom edges of the towel.

Express Your Style

No matter what you make with trim, you'll find that it's a great way to express your style without taking a huge risk. You can use trim to embellish just about any type of project, including placemats, cozy throws, crazy quilts, clothing items, baby burp cloths, curtains and much more. Trim gives any sewing project a little more style.Trim is affordable, and it's easy to use when you keep a few tips in mind. Try several different trim styles to give your projects a unique, professional look.

Sewing Tips for Trim