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Home > Sewing Guides & Inspiration > Sewing Trims Glossary

Sewing Trims Glossary

Acetate: is a manufactured fiber which resists shrinkage. Its yarns are pliable and supple and will always spring back to their original shape. Care should be taken when working with this fiber since its resistance to abrasion is poor.

Beading: A lace or embroidery which has slits through which ribbon may be drawn.

Braid: is a woven or braided flat narrow trim. Braided fabric trim is often used to edge draperies, valances, pillows and upholstered furniture.

Bias tape or bias binding: is a narrow strip of fabric, cut on the bias or cross-grain. It is stretchier and has a greater drape compared to a fabric strip that is cut on the grain. It is often used to the finish raw edges of quilts, placemats, etc. Single-fold bias tape is bias tape with each raw edge folded in toward the center, wrong sides together, and pressed. Double-fold bias tape is single-fold bias tape which has been folded in half and pressed, with the single folds to the inside.

Brush Fringe: A brush fringe is a cut fringe with a flat skirt made of yarns.

Brush Fringe Trim

Bullion Fringe: is made of cords, rather than yarns. Primarily used on the bottom of upholstered furniture, window treatments and the edges of accent pillows.

Borders: are flat woven trims which are similar to gimp and braid but are wider.

Binding: is a strip of fabric that encases the edge of another piece of fabric.

Cord: is made by twisting together plies of yarn into a rope. Twisted cord can be composed of 2, 3 or 4 plys.  Cording with an edge (a thin strip of plain tape attached) can be sewn into the seams of upholstery or pillows. Cords with out edges may be used as embellishments on pelmets; chair ties or can even be affixed to the top of craft projects with glue.

Cord with edge trim

Cotton a natural material made from the soft fibers that grow around the seeds of the cotton plant. Theses fibers are then spun into yarns to create breathable, machine washable fabrics.

Faux Fur is a knitted fabric which is manufactured to look like real fur.  

Fold Over Band is a braided or knitted band folded slightly off center which is used to provide a finished edge. It is commonly applied as a binding over raw fabric edges.


Fringe has a decorative heading, with hanging cut threads (brush or flat fringe), looped threads (loop fringe) cords (bullion fringe), or tassels (tassel fringe).

Grain The lengthwise and crosswise grain of fabric refer to the directions parallel to the warp and weft, respectively. 

Gimp, is a narrow ornamental fabric trim used in sewing or embroidery. One or both edges of a gimp can be plain, cut, or have scalloped loops. It can be used to embellish pillows, foot stools and draperies. Traditionally gimp fabric trim is used to cover upholstery tacks.

Jacquard:  a woven fabric constructed by using a special jacquard attachment on a loom. This attachment provides flexibility in designs and enables the individual control of each of the warp yarns. Brocade and damask are examples of jacquard woven fabrics.

Jute: Jute is a fiber obtained from the round or long pod jutes of the family Tiliaceae. It is grown extensively in Pakistan and India.

Lace: Lace is an openwork fabric produced by a network of threads that are twisted together and sometimes knotted to form patterns.


Loop Fringe: is similar to a brush fringe except the yarns at the base of the skirt are looped, not cut. The bottom edge of a loop fringe trim can be straight or scalloped.

Nap is a fuzzy texture created when fiber ends extend from the basic fabric structure to the fabric surface. A fabric may be napped on one or both sides.

Nylon is a manufactured fiber that is very strong and resistant to abrasion. It is easy to wash, elastic and has a lustrous finish.

Passementerie is the term used to describe an immense variety of trimmings and decorative edgings. Gimps, bullions and fringes are all examples of passementerie.

Piping: is a decorative cord that is covered with fabric which has been cut on the bias. Piping is often sewn directly into the seams of apparel and upholstery items.

Ply: refers to the number of yarns twisted together to make a composite yarn.

Quilt Binding a ruffled or box pleated fabric (or lace) with a bias-cut header of fabric that is commonly used to finish the raw edges of quilts, apparel or pillows.

Quilt Binding

Rayon: is a generic term for a manufactured fiber derived from regenerated cellulose.

Rickrack is a flat narrow braid woven in zigzag form, used as a trimming for clothing crafts or home deco items.

Sequins: Small plastic or metallic discs that are sewn or otherwise attached to a fabric to add drama, texture and decoration.

Sequin Trim is Sequins have been knitted into bands with elastic for Stretch Sequin banding or with metallic yarns for decorative Sequin trimmings.

Shrinkage is the contraction of a fiber, yarn, or fabric after washing and drying. Most natural fibers have a tendency to shrink 4-6%.

Tassel is a hanging ornament consisting of a head and body of cut yarn, looped yarn decorative beading or bullion fringe.

Tassel Fringe Trim is a tassel trim is a plain or decorative gimp with attached tassels.

Tassel Fringe trims at Murray the Monster Store

Tiebacks: Tiebacks are decorative pieces of hardware, fabric, or tassels designed to hold curtains back from windows to allow light passage, or to add a decorative touch to the window treatment.

Twill tape is a flat “twill-woven” ribbon of cotton, linen, polyester, or other fabric.


Venice Lace  is a heavily embroidered flat trim which is made using a needlepoint rather than an embroidery technique. It is heavier weight than standard lace and typically features floral or geometric patterns, which are attached to each other by thin bars of thread.

Viscose A synthetic man made fiber, which is commonly referred to as rayon.

Yard is a unit of measure that is the equivalent of 3 feet, or 36 inches or 0.9144 metre. (common abbreviations: yd or yrds)