Horsehair braid can really add a bit of oomph to your skirts. It's perfect if you love the retro style or if you just fancy a bit more volume in your hems.
Horsehair braid is made of either nylon or polyester. It will sometimes have a thread running through it that you can pull to make one side shorter. You'll need to use this thread if you are hemming a circle skirt, but not for a straight hem.
The type of Horsehair Braid that I've used in the example below is polyester and it doesn't have a thread running through it. This is no problem at all for straight hems, however If you are hemming a circle skirt with this type of horsehair braid, it's a good idea to run the iron over it to create a shorter side. Click here to see the Horsehair braid we have available at Sewing Gem.
Here's how to prep your horsehair braid ready for inserting in to a circular hem (if there's not a thread for pulling up).
1. Set the iron to a low heat. Test this carefully on the horse-hair braid first, as you don't want to melt it. I started with a synthetic setting on the iron. Cut the length of horsehair braid required for your hem. If you're not sure cut a little extra for overlapping the ends.
2. Keeping it flat, run the iron over the horsehair braid in a circular motion. This will lengthen one side and shorten the other slightly, which will make using it in a circular hem much easier to sew.
This is how it looks when placed in a round - as it would need to be for a circular hem.
Here you can see what the horsehair braid looks like before ironing and after ironing.
Here's how to attach horsehair braid to your garment:
1. Use a small strip of fabric to wrap around the short, raw edge of your horse hair braid. I like to use the iron to press it to the right size and around the edge. Then stitch it in place.
2. Take your horsehair braid and line it up with the raw edge of the hem on the right side of the fabric.
3. Stitch around the edge of the hem.
4. Turn the horsehair braid to the wrong side of the garment. I use an iron on a low heat to help press it around the edge, wrapping nice and tightly.
5. Now you'll need to catch the top edge of the horse hair braid. You have two options here, either hand or machine stitching.
Hand stitching will give you the most professional results as you will not see a line of stitching from the right side of the garment. This is what I've done in the images below. Machine stitching is obviously a quicker option.
Happy hemming with horsehair braid.