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Living on the Edge With Braiding
Sally Cowan, Keeping You In Stitches

Some of the commercial braids today can put you in a bind. Various types are available, such as wool, silk, rayon and cotton. They can be applied to a new garment or to give life to an old one. Braids were most popular around the 17th century. Men's coats were braided according to their position in life. Because so much gold and silver was used, tailors went out of business during that time.

Today, we think of braid and binding as a decorative touch to our garments. Binding comes in many colors and widths. Most of them are already folded and ready to apply. Machine stitching saves time and also is a more secure way of applying the braid or binding. Binding has never been difficult to apply, but one usually runs into trouble on the corners. Mitering is necessary. A miter is when you turn a corner on a straight run of fabric. Let's use a neckline as an example. Sew the binding to the end of the front edge. Now sew across the corner, catching both sides of the binding (see illustration) Stretch the binding just slightly and continue around the corner. Be sure to fold the binding so the corner miters. You will have to mold the binding around the corner and perhaps take the time to baste in place first. Press.

If you are using the binding/braid on a rolled lapel, it would be better to sew one side by machine and finish the other by hand. Fashions today are calling for more detail. It is that small detail that gives any garment a rich look. Add with care and you will discover that most people won't believe you "made it yourself."


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