A flat trimming, or passementerie, used decoratively to frame or to edge fabrics, or functionally to cover the fixing methods such as the staples or tacks holding upholstered covers. Braid can be very narrow, at no more than a 3-4 millimetres wide to 8-12 centimetres wide, or more.

* Flat braids can be anything from the plainest of plain colours and fibres to the most heavily designed, woven with multi techniques and/or multi-colours, and used to contrast or complement. Braided edges and borders are typically used on curtains, bedcovers, boxed and scatter cushions, tablecloths, and blinds.

* Any amount of ‘off the shelf’ braids can be bought from mass producers, or alternatively something special can be commissioned from a bespoke maker. In this case, the choice lies between manufacturers who have been around for centuries , even having provided exquisite passementerie for Versailles, or very contemporary designer makers who work with very different materials and colour combinations.

* Antique textile collectors or good flea markets are the best resource for really lovely early pieces, many of which are in good condition, or may not have been used at all.

* Every ethnic community and every child across the globe has a hand at making braids from whatever materials are available; these pieces are used as bracelets, to edge skirts, make waist bands, belts, headbands, ties, carrying straps, etc.

* Each country, culture and tribe has its own distinctive type of trimmings and braiding, yet within all this diversity there is a recurrence and similarity of style, colour and design that illustrates how these might have been every bit as influenced by the trading routes of the past as they are now by global travel and commerce.

* As with all craft techniques, some peoples have latched onto one more than another. Beaded braids and edgings remain the hallmark of some tribal costumes and communities, such as the Xhosa tribes






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