A decorative edging made of strands of material fixed along one edge only. The collective term is passementerie, or just trimmings.
* Fringes can be cut, shaped, looped, bullion twists in linen, wool, silk, cotton or floss–silk thread, long, short, fan topped, straight topped, elaborate or simple, hand made, bespoke or machine made.
* Fringes change the way fabric moves, in effect they add weight to whichever edge they are fixed. So, pelmets hang better with the added weight of fringing and swags swag more evenly, curtains drape back with more panache and door curtains stay in place with the added hem weight. Of course weight can be added without fringe, but not as effectively.
* Use for lampshades, pelmets, swags and tails, curtain sides and hems, cushion edges, bolster ends, footstools, and chairs.
* Choose carefully as the chosen design will greatly influence the style, grandeur and presence of the piece of furnishing to which it is applied.
* Fringes around the lower edge of chair seats are quite old fashioned, but on the right piece, in the right place….
* Deep fringes on their own can make quite fun pelmets.
* Deep bullion fringe around the skirts of sofas and armchairs are a very traditional finish that works remarkably well in formal rooms; fringe can be taken on and off, replaced or cleaned when shoe polish marks become a problem.
* Deep fringes, again preferably on the heavy side, can be used to weigh a curtain, perhaps a heavy door curtain; to replace a torn hem; to extend an existing or re-cycled curtain; to lengthen a piece of fabric that is not quite long enough.
* As with all trimmings, any weight or length of fringing can be applied to any material in any colour, mixed or plain, complementary or contrasting – depending on the look you want.
* If the fringe is to add lightness in texture and form, then a self colour may well look best – without visual interruption the shadow and play of light will be the attraction. The fringe may well not be notable in it’s own right, but the effect of light entering the room through fringing is similar to the effect of dappled light from a leafy branch, and can be transformative.
* Self coloured fringes work remarkable well – blue and white fabrics, for example, look good with blue and white fringing. Off white with off white. More of the same, with a textural change.
* When the fringe creates a strong contrast to the main fabric, especially if darker, your eye will immediately go to it as you enter the room, and it may continue to draw it. This can look fantastic, but the room has to balance, so before you buy just make sure that’s the impression you want. Or if it’s too late, then re-dress the balance in the room with repetition – use the same tone of colour in cushions, a side chair, floor rug or photo frames.
* Fringes that are in direct sunlight, especially at an east facing window will fade more quickly than anything else – if that matters to you then use sheer curtains or soft blinds to protect.
* It’s always important to work with the architectural style and the level of formality in the room. Fringing can be traditional, formal, fun, and bang up to date and made of hessian or glass, string or feathers, and as mad as you like.