Ric rac, rick rac or rick rack – It doesn’t matter how you spell it, ric rac is one of the brightest and most beautiful trims of our time. Simple but by no means plain, ric rac adds color and a sassy edge to all sorts of creations. Sewing ric rac is easy – it can even be braided for additional color and texture.
Ric rac can be made of cotton and of vintage quality or it can be poly cotton or even nylon. There are various widths from jumbo to mini and because it is woven, it has a bit of stretch enabling it to be an easy to use option.
Once you have mastered the basic sewing techniques for sewing ric rac, you can experiment with different items that would benefit from a bright zig zaggy trim.
Sewing Ric Rac: 4 Ways
There are 4 main techniques you will need for sewing ric rac successfully. They are:
- Sewing ric rac on top of a fabric.
- Sewing ric rac into a seam.
- Sewing ric rac round corners.
- Adding ric rac behind the finished edge of an article, for example, a pocket.
Sewing ric rac on top of a fabric:
Pre-wash or press the ric rac if necessary. Vintage cotton ric rac may shrink and need pressing but the polycotton and nylon versions are generally ready to use.
You will need a line to follow when stitching the ric rac on top of your fabric. Draw this with a fabric pen and then sew the ric rac on top of the line. Stitch down the center of the ric rac.
If the ends are to be enclosed in a seam then the ric rac does not need any trimming or neatening. Where the ends of the ric rac will be visible, you can seal the ends with a stop fray solution.
Ric rac can be sewn on to disguise the line of stitching made by stitching a hem in place with a machine stitch. Put ric rac over the top and follow the stitch line.
Sewing ric rac into a seam:
The line through the center of the ric rac will determine the amount of the ric rac that will show on the outside after the seam is complete. Wider ric rac will mean that more is visible after it has been sewn into the seam.
Mark a line down the center of the ric rac and then line it up with the seam stitching line on the RIGHT side of the fabric. Pin it in place.
Machine baste along this line.
Put the other piece of fabric right sides together and complete the seam by sewing along the basted line.
Turn the fabric to the right side and the ric rac will show between the seam.
Sewing ric rac around corners:
Fortunately, ric rac has a bit of stretch because it is a woven braid and this allows it to be eased into different spaces.
To go around a corner it is best to pin in the ric rac from both sides and allow a little extra braid to fold at the corners. Create a small fold and turning point to ease round the corner.
It is advisable to baste it in place and then sew from the right side. Use your needle to pivot and turn if necessary.
Sewing ric rac behind a finished edge:
- Choose your finished edge, a pocket or yoke edge for example.
- Work from the wrong side and pin the ric rac in place.
- Allow extra trim to turn in for neatening.
- Pin or baste in place and turn over and stitch on the right side before adding the finished piece to the garment.
Now you have mastered the basics here are some tips to add some extra pizazz to your sewing with ric rac trim.
Sewing Ric Rac: More Effects
- Sew several rows of ric rac using its unique wavy pattern to guide each row that is added on.
- Take two pieces of ric rac and weave them together along the wavy line and you will have a beautiful braid to work with.
- Use contrasting colors to create a gypsy look to the trim, especially on a skirt or waistcoat
- Use Ric rac to trim cushions, tea towels, serviettes, and tablecloths – in fact just about anything you can think of that needs uplifting could be a candidate for a ric rac transformation.
So now the word is out on sewing ric rac. A genuine trim that is a must for every season – colorful, adaptable, easy to sew and a great way to add a bit of zest to the art of sewing. Loved for over 100 years, ric rac has the knick knack of making something special out of almost anything.