Magical Braid Application?

Hi, all! Hope you’re doing well.

A memory came back from, oh, 20-25 years ago. How to finish this kind of multi-thread, multi-cord woven braid so that it seems to disappear neatly in the middle of the fabric. Turning it under would of course create an unsightly bulk due to multiple levels of braid components. The following way is a way to end it in the middle of somewhere with no bulk in sight.

If memory serves me right (cue “Iron Chef”), Kenneth King via Sandra Betzina’s book (the original “Power Sewing”) taught me this technique. If I am wrong, someone correct me.

While embellishing this dress with brown braid down the front, I remembered Kennth King/Sandra Betzina’s method. While I didn’t use it in the dress project above, I started to obsess, as I do. Therefore, I pulled out the front of an old cut-up dress and with a scrap of the remaining brown braid to try out the disappearing braid trick.

Here are some bullet points and thoughts:

1. My braid was flat on the wrong side, but I don’t think that’s a requirement.

2. Use a length of braid that is at least 4-5 inches longer than the desired end point — the extra will be unraveled later, which is the beginning of the magical process.

Unraveling the braid beyond the end point.

3. Sew down the braid on base fabric on both sides with up to the end point. Sew crosswise to secure the end point.

4. Unravel the unsewn part of the braid: Take time to locate the threads that keep the fancifully woven braid together. If you pick out one element of the braid, the thread holding it can be easily located. Usually, it’s unravels easily.

5. With a blunt tool such as an awl or a tapestry needle, unravel up to the crosswise stitches at the end point. Separate all the decorative threads and cords that make up the braid, stopping at the designated and secured end point.

Last cord destined for the wrong side.

6. Thread a tapestry needle or any large-eyed needle with the a single unraveled cord, bring it to the back of the fabric at the ending point. Repeat with all the loosened cords/threads. Now, you have this wild party at the back of the project.

Wild thread party on the wrong side

7. Lay down the loose cords in a somewhat orderly fashion, turning them back on the fabric; and hand-sew to secure about 1/2 inch or so down from the juncture — catching the fabric without catching the braid on the right side.

8. I applied Fray Check at the hand sewn line, and let it dry.

9. Cut away the loose cords just a smidgen away from the fray check.

We’re done.

I believe this technique works very well in tweed, or a lofty wool. Did the Chanel sewing crew use this method? Take a look at these images from Chanel Haute Couture, Fall 2022. No new and innovative offering in the collection, but do you think they attached the pocket braid with the disappearing way?

Now, my creative friends, chime in. Images of a tweedy Fall item with a disappearing braid embellishment are dancing in my head.

Keep cool and sew…..


3 thoughts on “Magical Braid Application?

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