It's easy to like rick rack. It's simple, fun, retro and even a bit kitchy.
The trim, also known as ric-rac, is a flat braid woven to form zigzags and used as trimming often on clothing. Although it exudes a retro look and was extremely popular in the 1970s, it actually goes back to almost a century earlier and was a zigzag crochet braid used to decorate collars and cuffs.
If you sew doll clothes, ric rac works on many levels:
- It's cheerful and seems to belong on children's clothing, including children's doll's clothing.
- It comes in many sizes. There's ric rac for Blythe clothes (1/8th of an inch from peak to peak) and for the American girl. You can play with scale, small ric rac on larger clothes, larger ric rac on small clothes. Or mix two sizes. Lots of ways to be creative
- It comes in many colors. again, lots of ways to be creative. Same color, different sizes. Different colors, same size, different everything. You get the idea.
- It's easy to get.
- It's inexpensive compared to other trims.
- It's easy to sew on (more on this further on).
- It's the original chevron fabric.
- It's a classic.
How to Sew Rick Rack:
For doll clothing rick rack can either be placed within the fabric. For this a straight machine stitching line through the middle of the fabric (see image below) works fine. The only time this does not work is for larger rick rack over 3/4" which most likely won't appear on doll clothes.
I use thread the same color as the rick rack for the upper thread and the same color as the fabric in the bobbin. That way your stitching line is nearly invisible on both front and back.
Rick rack can also be applied to the edges of doll clothing or quilts. This is a bit more complicated and for a blog post in the near future.
Types of Rick Rack:
There are three basic types of rick rack: cotton, polyester and nylon. The three materials have a different look, feel and capacity for withstanding heat. Cotton rick rack is soft, can be directly ironed and is the hardest to come by. Polyester Rick Rack is a bit stiffer and cannot be ironed directly. I place a cotton cloth between the rick rack and the iron. It can burn and melt if over heated or heated a second too long. Nylon rick rack, the least expensive, is designed for scrapbooking, not sewing, and melts into fumes even near the iron. I discovered this the hard way. Our smoke detectors were still blaring an hour later when dinner guests arrived.
If you aren't sure what type of rick rack you have, iron a small piece at medium temp for a few seconds before stitching it to something you don't want to ruin.
Sources of Rick Rack:
Wright's Rick Rack (polyester) sold in the little cellophane cover packets is available many places online. It comes in over 20 colors. You can order Wright's here:
Cotton Rick Rack can be found at:
Rolls of Rick Rack (polyester)
- Create for Less carries a cool brand called Cheep Trims in addition to having Wrights and lots of other cool stuff.
And for fun some rick rack craft tutorials. Thanks Ucreate!