Craft stores exist because there are so many components to crafting. No matter what type of crafting you do, there seem to be a million different materials for you to choose from.
Fabric crafts are a prime example. When constructing something from fabric, there is a sea of trimmings to add to your fabric crafts. Whether you’re making clothes, handbags, pillowcases, blankets, or something else, you’ll surely be using at least a few trimmings.
So, what are the different types of trimmings? There are tons of trimmings that get attached to clothes and fabric projects, such as buttons, lace, and lining. Garment trimmings can be broken down into categories, such as fasteners, embellishments, and construction.
Although you may think your clothes are simple because they don’t have large embellishments, they all use at least one trimming: thread. Beyond this, you might be surprised how many different trimmings there are to use.
Below is a comprehensive guide to the most commonly used trimmings for textile projects. We’ve separated them into the three categories listed above to give you a sense of what each type of trimming is used for.
Buttons are one of the most common types of fasteners. Buttons are always sewn on one side of the garment, while a button hole is created on the other side of the garment.
Usually, buttons have 4 holes in the middle, and the sewist will need to sew through the 4 holes in an X pattern to secure the button properly.
The button is slid into the button hole, holding the two sides of the garment together. While buttons are most often used for jackets, cardigans, and pants, they’re also sometimes used to secure pillowcases.
Zippers are another fastener used in high quantities. You can find zippers on nearly all fabric projects: dresses, pants, jackets, some blouses, pillowcases, and handbags. Zippers work by using two sets of teeth that, when nestled together, create a closure.
The sets of teeth on each side have around a ½ inch of fabric. This fabric is the part that’s sewn onto the garment along the edges to allow the teeth to join freely.
There are different types of zippers, such as invisible, metal, coil, and plastic.
3. Hook And Eye
A hook and eye clasp is usually found above an invisible zipper, or sometimes in place of a button on pants or skirts. They’re also used for bra clasps.
This type of clasp works by having two components: a hook, and an open loop called an eye. Each component is sewn on the two pieces of fabric that need to be joined.
The hook should slide into the eye, holding the fabric together. The hook and eye clasp is easy to use, but may take a sharp eye and dexterous fingers to sew on since they’re generally very small.
Snaps are another closer that are easy to use once on the fabric, but require special skill when installing.
Rather than sewing on a snap, it’s attached to the fabric with a riveting tool. Each of the 2 snap components are made up of 2 parts, for a total of 4 different pieces.
The female snap, or the snap with a divot in the middle, and the male snap, or the snap with a raised bump in the middle, are installed on the two pieces of fabric that need to be fastened.
The riveting tool will stamp the 2 pieces of each snap, male and female, together through the fabric. The metal is joined through a cutting of the fabric rather than sewing.
5. Grommet (Eyelet)
A grommet is also installed through punching two pieces of metal together through the fabric. It’s impossible to sew a grommet onto a garment effectively.
A grommet, also called an eyelet, is a metal hole. It’s what you loop shoelaces through on your shoes and what your hoodie strings come out of on the hood of your jacket.
Sometimes, grommets are also used on other clothing items that lace up, such as corsets or dresses. They work by providing a hole for a string or ribbon to pull through and tie, creating a closure.
6. Hasp And Slider
Although the name may sound unfamiliar, you are most likely familiar with a hasp and slider. It’s the type of fastener used on overalls.
The hasp is the fastening part, where the loop hooks around the metal button. The slider is the adjustment part, where you can tighten or loosen the strap of the overall.
The hasp and slider fastener is also used on suspenders. The slider segment of this type of fastener is often used independently of the hasp, as seen on bra straps.
7. Drawstring (Waist Tie)
A drawstring or waist tie are simply pieces of string or fabric that are used to cinch the waistband of a garment.These are common on casual shorts or lounge pants, but can also be used on dresses to accentuate the female curves.
Drawstrings are usually made by sewing a “tunnel” into the top waistband of pants or shorts, then running the string through a grommet on one end and back out a grommet on the other side.
Waist ties on dresses are freer. There are two loops sewn onto the sides of the garment, and the fabric tie is drawn through those loops and tied in a bow on the front or back of the dress.
Even though lace is technically just another type of fabric, it’s often used as an embellishment trimming.
Lace is generally sewn on top of another solid type of fabric, but it is also used on its own as an edge trim. Sometimes small segments of lace are sewn onto the end of a hem.
Although many people may think of stiff, old floral doilies when they think of lace, there are many different types and patterns to lace.
The variety is one of the reasons lace is so popular as an embellishment. It can be added to all kinds of different fabrics to create many different looks.
Sequins are a shiny embellishment generally used to provide a shiny bit of fun, like on Christmas sweaters.
A recent trend has been to use sequins that are a different color on each side. The sequins are sewn onto the fabric in such a way that you can brush your hand over them to lift them up or put them down, revealing a different pattern each way.
Because they’re shiny and colorful, sequins are often used on children’s clothing.
Ribbons can be used in many ways on fabric, depending on the type of ribbon. There are thin and thick ribbons, shiny or matte ribbons, patterned or solid color ribbons, glittery or plain ribbons, and the list goes on.
Ribbons can be sewn onto fabric to create designs on the fabric, or they can be turned into bows and sewn on as an accent piece. Another great use for ribbons is to have them be the piece of string for a waist tie or drawstring.
Although many bows are made with ribbon, some bows are also made from other scraps of fabric or even just from simple pieces of string or cord.
Bows are often used on girl clothes and accessories like headbands and hats. Though usually used as embellishments, bows can also be functional when used in the context of a waist tie.
Some bows are made with wiring in the material to create a stiff and structured bow look.
Embroidery has been used for centuries to add embellishment to fabric work.
Embroidery is simply a design that has been sewn onto the fabric in colorful thread. It uses only thread and special stitches to create a pattern.
It’s important not to confuse embroidery with any sort of functional sewing. Embroidery uses thread, but it does not act as a seam or a way to hold two pieces of fabric together.
Common embroidery designs include monograms, flowers, and company logos or motifs.
Although an applique can sometimes be made with embroidery, it can also be made using other fabrics or even felt.
An applique is similar to embroidery because it adds a small design or pattern on top of the fabric. While embroidery is created right on the fabric it’s intended to be on, an applique is sewn or made separately, then added to the fabric.
Appliques are sometimes used to patch holes in clothing in a stylish way, but they can also be used on whole fabric just to add a little fun to the clothing.
Fringe is a type of trimming that tends to go in and out of style through the years.
Commonly attached to jean jacket sleeves or used for 1920s style dresses, fringe is made by attaching multiple tassels, or flimsy strings, in a straight line along the fabric.
Fringe was highly popular in the 1970s and the 1920s, though it seems to be coming back into style as a type of “retro” chic. It can also be made with yarn and attached to the end of scarves.
Sometimes a fabric is chosen for a garment because it looks beautiful, but it would be severely uncomfortable against the skin.
In this instance, a lining is used. Lining is just another layer of fabric that’s used on the inside of a garment. Lining is typically made using fabric that’s soft, such as silk or cotton.
It’s commonly used in cold weather garments not only for an added extra layer, but to provide a soft cushion against the body when rougher fabrics must be used on the outside to protect against wind and moisture.
Interlining is a type of construction trimming used to add support or reinforcement to a specific area of the garment.
It’s made by adding an extra layer of fabric between the outer fabric and the inner lining fabric. The fabric used is typically rougher since you won’t be feeling it against your skin, but you want a stiff enough fabric for support.
They’re often used on various parts of a jacket or blazer, such as in the collar, cuffs, and front panels.
This added layer of fabric makes the area of the garment thicker and stiffer, helping it to be shaped and molded to look a certain way.
3. Sewing Thread
This one may seem like a given, but sewing thread is the most common type of trimming. It is used in every single fabric project, even if no other trimming is applied.
Sewing thread is used to secure seams, attach trimmings, and even create cinching or gathered fabric, like you see on many skirts.
There are many types of sewing thread, but the most common are cotton and synthetic. Each of these has their own advantages depending on the type of fabric you’re working on.
Typically, thread that matches the fabric color is chosen, but using a thread color that contrasts the fabric is a fun way to add a small pop of color to clothing.
Labels are one of the most practical kinds of construction trimmings. While not always used on homemade garments, labels are always sewn into manufactured clothing and fabric items.
Labels typically have the fabric composition, washing instructions, and location of origin printed on them with ink.
You can also use homemade labels if you make your own clothing. They can be as simple as saying “handmade with love,” having the person’s name on them, or just having the washing instructions.
5. Shoulder Pad
Many people believe shoulder pads to be a thing of the past, gone out of style in the 1990s and early 2000s, but shoulder pads are still used in many garments today.
Shoulder pads aren’t just there for comfort; they give the garment support and structure. While they’re not as widely used in dresses anymore, shoulder pads are still used in many blazers and suit jackets today.
They’re made from a soft fabric that’s sewn around a thin piece of padding. Shoulder pads can be sewn into the garment, or be made to slip in and out of a small hole in the garment.
Interfacing is similar to interlining, but instead of being a middle layer in between two other layers of fabric, interfacing is attached to the wrong side of one piece of fabric.
There’s fusible interfacing, which can be ironed onto the fabric, or there’s interfacing that you can sew on yourself.
Interfacing is also used to make the garment stiffer, but for a different purpose. It’s usually used on a part of the fabric where an applique or embroidery design will be applied to give the fabric a little extra strength to support the embellishment.
Elastic can be used in a variety of ways. It’s usually used to provide a tight waistband without having to manually adjust a tie.
Elastic gives the garment wearer some flexibility, allowing them to gain or lose a little weight and still have the garment fit them.
Like drawstrings, elastic is not typically seen on the outside of the garment. It is pulled through a tunnel made in the fabric, then sewn down at both ends. You’d only want to sew the elastic at the two ends to allow the strip to stretch and contract as needed.
It’s often used in dresses, pants, shorts, and even sometimes in hats or headbands.