Sewing 101: Adding Trim to a Seam Without Pins – Tutorial

Adding trim to a seam - no pins needed

Trims are often forgotten about, but are a great way to add some interest to a seam or to break up two fabrics. In this tutorial, I’m adding ric rac (rick-rack) to my seam, but the same method can be used to add pom pom trim, braiding, or lace to your seams. Piping is also a great trim to use, but I find it needs a bit more effort to add. You can see my tutorial for piping here.

The best bit about this method is that no pinning is needed! I like to baste the trim down first, which makes it more secure and saves all that time adding pins.

Adding rick rack to a seam - no pins neededAdding rick rack to a seam - no pins needed

To begin, mark a line along your seam allowance on one of your fabric pieces (it does not matter which one). This can be done with tailors chalk, water soluble, air soluble or heat soluble pens. I’ve used a Frixion pen for mine as I prefer something that is easy to remove in case it can be seen in the finished seam. For this reason, tailors chalk would be my last choice.

Lay your trim on top of the line.

Adding rick rack to a seam - no pins neededAdding trim to a seam - no pins needed

If your trim comes all the way around and joins up (as in the hem of a skirt) leave a little tail on each end and bend them towards the seam allowance.

Baste your trim down aiming to stitch on top of the line you marked. You may wish to use a slightly longer basting stitch, or just a regular stitch length. I find it also helps to use a slightly different colour in the bobbin so that you can see your thread in the next step.

Notice that I have stitched slightly to the right of my ric-rac so that I get the base of the wave showing in my finished seam. Anything to the left of your stitching line will show.

Adding rick rack to a seam - no pins neededAdding trim to a seam - no pins needed

Place your other fabric on top. Now flip both pieces over. The bobbin thread from basting the trim will now be facing up.

Stitch your seam, stitching on top of the basting stitches or slightly to the left. If you stitch to the right, then the basting stitches will be visible.

Adding rick rack to a seam - no pins neededAdding rick rack to a seam - no pins needed

For a flat seam, press open, folding the seam allowance to the side you want the ric rac to come from. You can experiment here to see which way you prefer the trim to lie.

For an edge seam, press one of the fabrics back (as above) and then the other.

If any of your basting stitches can be seen, carefully unpick them. At this point, you may wish to do some top stitching close to the edge of the trim. And you’re done!

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Comments

  1. Melissa Lea-Wood says

    Awesome because I am the worst for pinning stuff. I even get my Mum to pin my quilts together I go there on the pretence she has a bigger table and I know her perfectionism wont allow me to continue after about 3 pins LOL

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