Since the last post on creating custom trims, I’ve been inventing more combinations and ways to vary the three cord braid shown in this post. Here are a few ideas.
I’m usually frustrated when shopping for pre-made trims. What’s available is wrong colors, wrong size, too rigid, they have 2 yards and I need 5, etc., etc… Much easier to create your own. I’ve developed two trim styles, one based on a three cord braid and the other on a crocheted base. This post will cover trims based on a three cord braid. I’ll explain the crochet base in the next installment.
The cords used for the braid should be 3/16 to 1/4 inch wide. Soft, pliable cords made from tubes of fabric filled with wool yarn work very well. Knitted fabric tubes created with this knitter have volume yet are flexible and won’t result in a stiff finished braid.
This little gadget is available on Amazon. It produces yards and yards of soft, knitted cord in minutes. I’ve discovered a few helpful hints for getting this to work. 1. Use THIN yarn: fingering, lace or sock weight yarn works great. Thicker yarns such as sport weight will cause the tiny latch hooks to jam up and break. I see tons of product reviews of customers complaining that it broke with medium weight yarn. The directions say fine yarns and they mean it. Yarn with a relatively smooth surface also works best; fuzzy yarns and those with slubs tend to get caught on the hooks. Start slowly and make sure the yarn is feeding properly. If the yarn doesn’t drop below the hooks, try adding more weight to the end of the cord emerging from the bottom of the knitting device.
I often fill the knitted cord with a contrast color yarn. The fill adds some volume and is more interesting than a solid color. I created this set of brass tubes to help with turning, filling and weaving the trim.
I’m using the third tube from left (5/32 inch) and a 2.75mm (size C) crochet hook. Exact size isn’t important. Choose a size that is large enough for your filler will slide through easily and is small enough to fit through the middle of the knitted tube.
Insert the crochet hook, hook first into the tube. It will stop when the flattened thumb rest reaches the tube opening.
Insert the rounded end of the crochet hook into a stitch in the knitted tube and thread the hook and tube into the middle of the knitted tube. Hold the open end of the tube against a table or your leg to keep the crochet hook in place. Don’t try and force the hook further into the tube or you will cause damage. The tube can be threaded through the knitted tube but the slightly rounded end of the crochet hook makes it easier.
Make sure the entire length of knitted tube is on the brass tube and remove the crochet hook. Fold a length of heavy thread in half. The thread should be several inches longer than the brass tube when folded (brass tube is 12 inches long so thread should be at least 30 inches). Insert two cut ends of thread into one end of brass tube and push through until the thread comes out opposite end.
Insert end of filler through the thread loop. Pull the two opposite ends of thread. The filler will be pulled through the brass tube.
Holding both filler and knitted tube in your left hand, gently pull the brass tube with your right hand, easing the knitted cord over the filler.
Cut the filler several inches longer than the knit cord. I pull the finished cord gently, pin to my ironing surface and steam to block and set the stitches. Make the cord a little longer than you think you need. If I’m creating trim for a jacket or dress, I break the trim construction into manageable lengths. I’ll do the pocket trims as one length, sleeve trim as one or two lengths. If I’m making a length to do the neck, fronts and hem as one length, save until last when you’ve practiced with shorter lengths and worked out any problems. If I need to fill a very long length, start at the midpoint and work to each end. Much easier than working all the way from one end to the other.
Next post will cover braiding and adding crochet edging to create a more finished look.
Testing out trims to compliment this Linton tweed fabric. Trim turns a right angle corner easily. Beige linen yarn knitted tube with black wool filler yarn woven through black crocheted base. Line of metallic silver chain stitched through middle.
17 thoughts on “Crocheted and Braided Trims using Trim Tubes”
Mary – I do so admire your creativity. All I can do is hope to copy your ideas!! I am so looking forward to the days we can travel again so perhaps I can come along to the classes, or at the very least see all the trims and options you have available over there in the USA.
@janet Scott. That’s what I affectionately call “Cloning Cloning Couture!!”
Thank you for your compliment and reading. I think we are all looking forward to the day when travel and in-person contact is possible. Zoom teaching works but isn’t the same. Stay safe.
Great idea Mary…I have been making my own trims for a few years but was never thrilled with the consistency of my i cords. I appreciate the tip about the gadget.
Thanks Marilyn. I’ve found that increasing the weight makes a big difference with some yarns. More ideas for using knitted cords coming.
Mary your blog is invaluable. I have always found sourcing trim very difficult for all the reasons you mention, and the idea of creating your own tube cords is completely new to me. Thank you once again for the detailed, specific instruction.
Thanks Sue. Yes, so much easier to locate coordinating yarns and even use threads from the fabric. More ideas on the way.
Your trims are so inspiring. Do you ship your set of brass tubes to Germany? I tried to order it on your website but was not successful.
Best regards, Sabine
Thanks for reading and glad you found it interesting. Yes, I can ship to Europe and I’ve emailed you for details.
Dear Mary, what a fantastic invention, and great how creative you can continue with it. If you can find the right matching wool, basically anything is possible. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. A lot of greetings from the Netherlands
Glad you found me. Finding yarns is easier than sourcing pre-made trims. I often combine with fibers from the fabric for a coordinating look.
Oh my! Your cording is just fabulous! The possibilities are endless when you can make it yourself and that seems like a handy gizmo when it works.
Thanks. Yes, unlimited options when you make your own. My cord maker has made miles of cord without an issue. The trick is to stick with thin, relatively smooth yarns and go slowly until the stitches get started.
Thanks so much for posting this! You’ve introduced me to yet another fascinating gadget that I’ll have to make time to try. These trims are extraordinary! Cheers ~P
Thanks. I became so frustrated with pre-made trims that I was determined to find a way to make it.
Mary, your ideas reflect such creativity and charm. I love your resourcefulness and how you make these beautiful creations accessible to anyone with a few resources and willpower. I do look forward to the day we can travel and I can learn from you in person.
Thank you. I’m also looking forward to the day when in-person workshops are available.