You know you’re a sewing geek when you get excited by unusual uses of rickrack (alternately called rick rack, ric rac, waved braid, zigzag braid, snake braid or corrugated braid depending on the time period). You may remember the lemonade apron I did last summer where I braided two colors together. I had seen that technique, wanted to try it, and loved the result.

I’ve been seeing another rickrack technique lately that I find fascinating - the combination of rickrack and crochet. Apparently this was very popular in the late 1800s to early 1900s when it was used to trim handkerchiefs, lingerie, pillowcases, towel ends, and clothing.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

variegated pink, blue, and white crochet encasing white rick rack used to trim a baby pillowcase

golden yellow braid with white crochet - I purchased this as is and I assume it was meant to be sewn onto fabric as a trim.

Unfortunately, I never learned how to crochet so will have to wait until I learn to try this out for myself. When my grandmother offered to teach me I thought crochet and knitting were too “old-lady”. If I’d only known how hip they would be now! I hear there’s a new yarn shop in town, and I’m going to check out their class schedule. Maybe it’s not too late after all!

This is another cool use of rickrack—to simulate ruffles on a dancer’s skirt. These are from a square dance-themed tablecloth with motifs in each corner.




And another easy idea - sewing one braid atop another:


bee said...

So I guess I am a sewing geek too! I have been having fun with rickrack, but never dreamed it could be so versatile. Very cool!

Samantha said...

I just found your blog through Turkey Feathers.

I am also a geek when it comes to sewing and a big rickrack fan too!

janet said...

Yay for sewing geeks :)

Dana said...

What about the round crocheted pot holders with rick rack woven through them? I've been looking for a pattern for them. My Grandma made them and I only have a couple left. I would love to reproduce them. I love what you have done! Rick rack is fun!

janet said...

Dana, I don't think I've seen those before. Or maybe I have and just didn't know what it was. I'd love to see a picture if you have one.

Janet said...

I just found your blog thru Whip Up. Rickrack was something my mom used a lot of when I was a kid. I've always liked it.

I can relate to the "old lady" bit about knit and crochet. Across the street from us, when I was a kid, lived a German woman who had been a needlework teacher. She offered to teach me to knit and crochet and I turned her down!!!

fujifunmum said...

Whoa! These are so cool! Thanks for posting.....from one sewing geek to another!

Alberta said...

Janet...when I first started sewing my Mom gave me all her little bits of trim etc...and rick rack was my fave! I can't look at it today without thinking of her!

I love the rick rack with crochet....very nice and timeless too!

Mary said...

Rickrack is back!
I love all kinds of trim-- seam binding, lace edging, crochet, and pom poms. Rick rack wins, easily.

The jumbo size can be sewn into cute flowers and then strung into a necklace or can be attached to any number of projects.

Maybe there should be a Flickr group for sewing geeks.

BTW, I really enjoy visiting your site.

shula said...


Call me a Sewing Geek.

God, I love rick rack.

Junie Moon said...

I'm so glad you posted about rickrack. I've signed up for a swap project requiring rickrack and really had no clue as to what to do. Your post helps.

jd said...

This technique is so lovely! I've taken the liberty of blogging about your and rickrack crochet on my blog. The article will be published April 3, 2009. Please check it out!


jd in st louis
crochet editor