How to Hem a Wedding Dress with Horsehair Braid

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A wedding dress, with no doubt, is fairly costly. And most of the time this cost is for the labor that goes into the making of the dress rather than for the fabric or other supplies. However, if you choose to make it by yourself or want to do some fixing, hemming the dress with a horsehair braid is a necessary skill. Keep reading the article to know how to hem a wedding dress with a horsehair braid.

If you are reading this blog now, it is most likely that you know what a horsehair braid is. Still, let me explain for the sake of it. It is a type of netting that is now manufactured from nylon or polyester, though it used to be made with genuine horsehair. This works as a stiffener to stabilize hemlines, give body to puff sleeves, or add decoration to hats and costumes. It comes in various different styles for you to from. 

How to Choose Horsehair Braid

When it comes to using it for a wedding dress, generally it is used in the hemline of the gown or trying to add a perfect swingy fullness to them. Choosing the right type of horsehair braid is important before you start using it. It comes in various widths and weights. A wider width will give you more body to your hem and a narrow one will be subtler.

There is a "heavy style" horsehair and "soft style" horsehair. Which style to choose depends on what type of fabric you are using. For example, for delicate fabric, a soft style is more suitable. But for a sturdier fabric, heavy style works better.

The braid is flexible and has thread woven through it at the top. This can be pulled to create curvature to the braid to better fit the hem. Which is helpful for gowns or circle skirts. The braids with narrower width don't have this string at the top because they are easier to shape on their own. So, don't worry if yours doesn't come with the string.

Why to Use It 

The benefit of this stability is that the skirt will keep a smooth line at its bottom, and if there's a train, the train will less tend to crumple upon itself. Which allows the wearer to move freely.  Also, one of the benefits of the horsehair braid's stretchiness is that it stretches and scrunches to go around the curves of your dress, if you want to mold it to your desired shape in some areas then make it smaller stitches to ensure it stays that way. 

How to Hem a Wedding Dress with Horsehair Braid

After you choose which horsehair braid to use, it is time to sew it down to the hemline of the dress. Here is a step by step guide:

Supplies You Need

  • The Fabric or Dress you will be hemming
  • Horsehair braid of your choice
  • Matching thread
  • Scrap fabric or ribbon that matches your dress (this will be used for binding)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine (if you are not handstitching all the way through)

Step 1: Preparing the Fabric

Mark where you want the hemline to be. You can either pin up the fabric to mark the new hemline or you can use a washable fabric marker to mark the hemline. Some fabrics stain from fabric markers, and you cannot get rid of the mark completely. Purchase a test square of fabric before marking directly on your dress. Make sure the length of the dress is your desired length+the width of the braid + ½" extra.

Step 2: Enclosing Raw Edge of the Braid

Choose your desired width of the braid. Pre-cut the length you need or you can cut it after you finish sewing. The cut edge of the trim can be scratchy. Best if you enclose it in some type of binding. You could use the same fabric as your dress or any matching ribbon.

  • Line up the raw edge of the binding with the horse hair. Sew in the first groove of the binding.
  • Leave half an inch extra of the binding beyond the width of the braid and cut the binding.
  • Now to bind the edge of the braid by taking the fold of the binding on the other side. And stitch it down.
  • Cut out extra fabric

Step 3: Sewing the Bottom Edge of the Braid

 Now as you have prepared the braid, it is time to sew it on the dress. 

  • On the right side of the dress,match the bottom edge of the dress with the bottom edge of the braid. You can at this point pin the braid to the dress. If you think that can ruin the fabric then skip that and try to keep the alignment by being extra steady.
  • Now you can start sewing down the braid on the right side of the dress , ½ " from the hem.As the horsehair braid is stretchy, do not pull it while sewing.
  •  When the two cut edges meet after you finish sewing, handstich the two cut edges in zigzag style.

Step 4 : Stitching the Seam Allowance onto Horsehair

Take the braid and flip it out. You will see the hem if it is a sheer fabric, if not then you will not see it.

Hold it taut and give it a good iron. Then do an edge stitching all around the hem. This step will make sure the braid won't bubble up when you turn the braid inside the garment and will be crisp. You could do a blind hem at this edge if the fabric is solid(not sheer). This will hide the stitch and won't show on the outside of the hem.

Step 5: Sew the Other Edge 

 This is the final step of sewing. You can hand sew it or use a machine.

  • Turn the horsehair inside the garment.
  • Align it properly and sew the upper edge down to the dress. Use catch stitch for this part.
  • Lastly, give it a good iron to flatten out the braid.

Conclusion

A horsehair braid is a pretty impressive hack or tool to use to amp up your dress. It gives the dress that perfect billow that the bride looks for in her dress to swirl around. Use it the right way and it can change the whole game when it comes to dressmaking.

Hope this article helped to hem a wedding dress with a horsehair braid.

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