Denim Fabric Trim • Denim Trim • Denim Sewing Trim
Denim Trim Ideas
Trims & Embellishments for Denim Fabric
Don't forget to have some fun at the end of your denim project by using trims and embellishments for accent.
Denim makes a rich canvas on which to show off your originality and sense of style.
Some tips for accenting denim fabric
- Use a compatible contrasting print to face hems, collars, cuffs and pockets. Use flannel around the insides of pant cuffs, then roll for interesting jeans!
- Select decorative zippers, colorful buttons and decorative gripper snaps.
- Trim denim with studs, appliques, faux fur, decorative braid, rhinestones, embroidery stitches, cross stitching and trim such as piping, lace or eyelet.
The following is a description of some of the ways to use trims and embellishments with jean fabric. We also carry books on the subject - please use the books link at the top of this page to view our selection.
Applique relies upon the effective use of fabrics to produce geographies of pattern and color that consist of everything from unadorned bands and borders to graphically complex designs. Abstract or realistic, folkloric or refined, the use of applique with denim expresses a passion for the properties of fabric and the versatility and power of design.
Beading bestows timeless beauty to garments including denim. Its effect can be ethereal, whimsical, or weighty. Beading marries equally well with leather, velvet, and silk chiffon and is compatible with every fiber, weight, and texture in between. Many blouse, dress, jackets, and vest patterns lend themselves to the distinctive touch of beading.
- Buttons are the most used sewing notion and come in 1-hole, 2-hole, and 4-hole varieties.
Their shape and color can enhance or detract from your project, so take time in selecting the ones that will
- Choose your buttons before making buttonholes or loops. Thick edge, highly domed and ball
buttons will require much larger buttonholes. Make sure the weight of the button and the weight of the fabric
are compatible; or think about how to make them work together. Make sure the fabric texture and button texture
are compatible; be careful of delicate surface fabric with irregular finish buttons.
- Single or high-contrast buttons call attention to themselves. Think about the placement.
Is that where you want to draw attention?
- Remember to check buttons for care requirements - some are dry-clean only while typically denim is not. Special buttons may be too fragile to risk even dry cleaning. Decide if you are willing to remove them every time the garment is cleaned.
- Fiber-reactive dyes are formulated to work well on cellulose fiber, such as
cotton-based denim. Dyes are transparent, so the base color of the fabric will affect the
coloring process. Celluloid fibers like denim are also the choice for discharging (bleaching).
- Remember that any dying done and not properly color-fast will crock, which is the rubbing off of surface dye onto other fabrics or skin.
- If you like the look of freestyle embroidery, here are a few tips to remember before you start:
- Pre-shrink denim, if not pre-shrunk already, by washing and ironing.
- Cut fabric at least 1" larger, or larger, all around than the finished size or to fit an embroidery hoop. Oversew or tape edges to prevent fraying.
- Use a hoop or frame for all but the heaviest denim fabrics, and make a test piece to choose suitable threads and crewel needles.
- Work with threads no longer than 18" and always begin sewing with the away waste knot of waste backstitch method.
- Follow the design lines without reference to the fabric weave.
- Finally, block or press piece after completion.
- Manual embroidery machines are used to produce satin-stitch, chenille, and ornamental
embroideries. Most machine embroiderers price by the level of complexity of a design, which translates into
the amount of detail and the amount of lettering that needs to be punched in a design.
- If you run an industrial embroidery machine, digitizers can turn your hand illustrations into embroidered pieces and can provide compatible formats and file types for your machine. All custom patterns should be sewn out on as close to the same material you will be applying them to as possible.
While there are still rivets on jean pockets, the heat conducting crotch rivets were removed in the 1940's after the Levi CEO suffered an embarrassing campfire burn. Exposed rear pocket rivets were covered with fabric layer after numerous complaints from cowboys of scarred saddles and teachers from scratched school chairs.
Today, there is a wide variety of rivets and hardware to choose from to accent your denim project. Rivets come in silver, gold, copper, and bronze. There are also a wide selection of shapes (round, square, star, and triangular) as well as designs and colors on the rivet's face.
For overalls and other projects, there are overall buckles, snaps, toggles, frog closures, and zippers.
Shredding and Patchwork
1980s style has been revived for the new millennium with sandblasting (not acid-wash), bleached thighs, and careful shredding to give the currently popular low-rise jeans a retro look that's reminiscent of the jeans that mom wanted you to get rid of as a kid. Some designs have patches with cut-out designs, and others use patchwork to give the jeans a unique style of their own.
- Ribbon trims are easy to make and have many wonderful uses on denim. It makes up
quickly and gives a finishing touch to many clothing items. Traditional woven ribbons of satin taffeta,
organdy, grosgrain, and velvet are suitable to most trims.
- Cut or craft ribbon is fabric that has been cut to ribbon widths and stiffened to
prevent raveling. It can't be manipulated into gathers or smocked.
- Any width of ribbon 1/4" or larger can be used to create ribbon trims. The width
you choose for a particular trim is determined by the scale of the clothing article being trimmed.
- Cord can be used in bindings and pipings and comes in varying density, flexibility,
and resilience. This affects the character of the piping when used as a core. Because bindings and pipings
are limited to the edge of the garment and emphasize the seams, they are easy to use effectively. Cord
comes in different types such as polyester cable cord, Sienetwine, #5 and #3 cottons, sash, and rattail.
- Ball fringe is a fun trim with jean fabric: much like cord in it's use on the edge of
garments. A cotton bobble (or ball) fringe was traditionally for edging curtains, throws and cushions but
can be used to dress up denim jacket pockets/cuffs or trim a denim skirt.
Keep in mind that manufacturers typically advise dry cleaning because each ball is held together with a small metal piece which over time could create rust. It can be washed and dried without issue but you should know the risks going in before you use it.
All these fabrics can be used to accent denim, either as patchwork or trim around seams, collars, or cuffs.
The majority of this information is from "Fine Embellishment Techniques" by Jane Conlon.