Waved Braid or The Amazing Things You Can Do With Rick Rack

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.

Waved braid and knotting trim the bodice of this 1830's doll's dress. (click on image to enlarge) Collection of the author.

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.”

Waved braid trimming the neck and sleeve edges of the original chemise that belongs to one of my antique Izannah Walker dolls.

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.

This is the lower edge of a doll's petticoat, from my collection, that is trimmed with tucks and an extravagant use of waved braid.

Having the patience and perseverance to hand stitch the points of waved braid together, with a single thread, is rewarded by the spectacular effect you can achieve for very little money.

A close-up of white lace created by combining crochet with waved braid.

The use of colored braid with crochet gives an entirely different effect to this antique lace.

This waved braid lace is destined to grace the petticoat of one of my Izannah Walker dolls. It will look just perfect peeping out from below Turkey red skirts!

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.

~ by paulawalton on December 28, 2011.

2 Responses to “Waved Braid or The Amazing Things You Can Do With Rick Rack”

  1. […] to know more about mid-1800′s dress trims?  Click here to read my post on waved braid. Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  2. […] * Did you notice the waived braid trim on her chemise and petticoat???  Read more about waved braid here. […]

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