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Hello Fabric Fans!  We are starting a new educational series on upholstery and home decor sewing topics called SPOTLIGHT ON TECHNIQUE!  Our first series will cover the wide and varied world of trims: what types exist, how to use them in your decorating, and how to apply them to your projects.  Whether you sew yourself, are a designer, or are relying on professionals to transform your space, a knowledge of what decorative options exist can fire your imagination and lead you into unexplored and wonderful territory!

Part 1: Gimp…By Any Other Name?

This week we explore gimps and braids!  Gimp…also known as narrow braid, scallop trim, decorative braid, French gimp, scroll gimp, et cetera…is a flat trim, usually less than half an inch wide.  But “gimp” is another word for any kind of flat trim.  For our purposes, we’ll be talking about simpler gimps and braids today – around 1″ inch or smaller.

Part 2: Pretty…What do I do with them?

From the top, 1. French Gimp, 2. Looped Gimp, 3. Flat Scroll Braid, 4. Decorative Braid, 5.Braided Gimp, 6. Scroll Gimp

The trims pictured above are all gimps or braids…or braided gimps!  They are used to cover upholstery tacks or staples and to embellish any home decor item: draperies, pillows and cushions, bedskirts, valances, cornices, lampshades, tablecloths, placemats – the list is endless! They can also provide a base onto which decorative tacks are nailed.

  1. The first – pretty & narrow with decorative loops – is a half inch French Gimp.  This a classic gimp and Fabric Farms Interiors carries it in a wide range of colors.  Ideal for a decorative edge on furniture or soft furnishings, it can be layered on top of a wider gimp to create dimension!
  2. The 2nd is a wider gimp, a 1″ gimp with a loop fringe. The larger size makes a bigger statement or balances out larger furniture. It can also provide a decorative base for tacks or other trims.
  3. At 1.25 inches, this Flat Scroll Braid is the largest trim displayed.  Bold with scalloped edges, it would create a statement on furniture and look regal trimmed on the edge and bottom of curtains.
  4. This is another braid, 7/8 inches wide, featuring a jute braid on a bright cream background. This would be gorgeous embellishing a lampshade in a nautical or earthy neutral decor scheme!
  5. A smaller scale trim, this braided gimp adds subtle texture and would not overwhelm a smaller piece of furniture.  It could also be used with wider spaced decorative tacks.
  6. Half inch Scroll Gimp comes in a vast array of colors and is perfect for embellishing furniture, pillows,draperies, and lampshades!

Part 3: How to Apply

Gimps, and other flat trims, should be sewn to curtains, tablecloths, pillows and cushions. Use fabric or hot glue to adhere your trim to upholstery or lamp shades. Think about how your finished item will be used: will it need to be dry cleaned or washed? Will it need weight in order to drape properly? Or will it simply be on display?  Make sure that the trim matches the application and have fun adding dimension to your home decor!

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