I’ve always been rather fond of rick rack. It reminds me of my childhood. The dress I wore to my first day of kindergarten was trimmed with white rick rack and I remember seeing it on countless aprons and kitchen curtains during my youth.
In truth, rick rack or waved braid, as it was first known, has been in existence far longer than I have. 🙂 I haven’t been able to track down an exact date yet, but it was certainly available when this papier-mache milliner’s model was made in the 1830’s.
The waved braid on the dress above is an exact color match to the dress fabric. Both the braid and fabric are cotton and I am speculating that they were dyed to match. The dress is original to the doll. Three rows of waved braid circle the skirt and the bodice is adorned with a lavish combination of braid and knotting.
By 1882, when the following paragraph from The Dictionary of Needlework was published, waved braid was certainly common place and was being used to trim children’s clothing. It’s not a far leap from children’s garments to doll clothes, which explains why waved braid is often seen on doll clothing from this era.
“There are also waved cotton braids, used for trimming children’s dresses, which are sold by the gross, cut into lengths. The numbers are 11, 17, 21, 29, and 33. There are also waved worsted braids for children’s use, which are sold in knots of 4 or 5 yards each, and sold by the gross pieces. The numbers are 13, 17, and 21.”
In the 1880’s it was also popular to do crochet work using waved braid. Some fantastic laces can be created in this manner. I don’t crochet, but if you do and would like to read more about how to make this type of lace, follow this link.
No matter what name you call it by, waved braid, snake braid, corrugated braid, rick rack ( alternately ricrac, ric-rack or ric rac) is a very authentic choice for trimming historically accurate, mid-1800’s reproduction doll clothing.