This inexpensive sewing staple is sold in all sorts of styles -- metallic and matte, satin and chenille -- at craft and fabric stores, and online (try www.masterstrokecanada.com or www.hancockfabrics.com). Vintage varieties can often be found at yard sales and flea markets.
Use our techniques to transform trim into seasonal sundries. Kids can help create stockings, ornaments, or gift bags; making shams or a table runner is a more ambitious endeavor. Whichever project you choose, rickrack will give the holidays a charming twist.
Gift Bags with a Twist
Make simple felt sacks (sew side seams; fold bottom corners toward the center, and tack with thread) and embellish with rickrack handles and a bright ornament. The sturdy grips are nothing more than two lengths of intertwined trim.
Use snippets of ribbon and lengths of rickrack to craft a homespun holiday. For candy canes, twist red and white trim together, then set with fabric stiffener. This method is used for wreaths, too. Oversize rickrack is hand-gathered into poinsettias. For all these ornaments, loops of silver thread provide the finishing touch.
Rickrack Techniques and How-Tos
Twisted trim (above, left) can be used to make gift-bag handles or holiday ornaments. Because of rickrack's wavy weave, two pieces of it can be made into a single strand with interlocking points. Use embroidery or other fabric scissors to cut two equal lengths of a single color, or one in each of two hues for a candy-stripe effect. Intertwine the two pieces. The result will look bumpy; press it with a steam iron on high heat. Snip the ends evenly, and glue them together. Allow to dry.
The wider the trim is, the bigger the flower will be (above, center). Cut a thirteen-point piece of rickrack. We used contrasting thread to demonstrate, but you should use a matching color. Baste and tightly gather points on one side of trim, and knot (top); without cutting thread, secure folded ends with a running stitch (center), and glue to prevent fraying. Snip wire from floral pips; attach to front with contact cement.
Make a work surface for pinning and coating ornaments (above, right). Cover a piece of corrugated cardboard with clear packing tape to prevent rickrack braids from sticking to the surface. With your fingers, shape finished lengths of rickrack twists (see "Twisting," above) into a circle, cane, or leaf, using straight pins to hold in place on the cardboard. With a small art brush, generously coat ornament with fabric stiffener, which is white when wet (as shown) but dries clear. Run a length of thread through the top, and knot to form a loop.