What is Ric Rac: History, Uses and Fun Facts



Ric rac is a term that you may have heard before but are not familiar with. It's okay; you're not alone. Ric rac is one of those words that gets thrown around, and people assume that everyone knows what it means. However, unless you're someone who sews or has an interest in textiles, the chances are high that the meaning of ric rac eludes you.

So what exactly is ric rac? We'll delve into its history and usage later on in this article. But for now, let's just say it's a decorative trim made out of flat braid or ribbon with a zigzag shape to create an undulating pattern along its edges – similar to waves on water. Ric rac can come in various widths and colors making it perfect for adding some flair to clothing garments as well as home decor projects.

If you've ever been curious about this mysterious term known as "ric rac," then keep reading because we'll cover everything there is to know about this versatile textile embellishment!

What is Ric Rac? Understand the History, Uses and Facts

Ric rac, also known as rickrack or zigzag trim, is a type of flat braid that features a zigzag pattern. It is an embellishment that has been used for generations in various forms of textile arts such as sewing and embroidery. Its distinctive design has made it a popular choice for adding decorative accents to clothing, linens, and other items.

Origins of Ric Rac

The origin of ric rac can be traced back to the early 19th century when it was first produced in Europe. The braided trim became increasingly popular during the 20th century when it was imported into America from Europe by manufacturers such as Wrights Company.

Initially made with cotton or rayon fibers on hand-operated machines in small quantities only by artisanal craftsmen working from home-based workshops or factories; today ric-rac production has expanded across many countries including China where mass-production techniques have been used making this once rare commodity readily accessible everywhere!

How is Ric Rac Made?

Ric rac can be manufactured using different materials ranging from cotton to polyester fibers with variations seen based on width (ranging between 1/8-inch up to over an inch), color schemes (readily available colors include reds blues greens yellows purples etc.), stitching patterns i.e., wide-to-narrow technique (made by looping yarn around multiple needles at once) versus narrow-to-wide technique (made using fewer needles).

One thing you might not have known about rick rack trimming production methods: sometimes two strands are woven together instead of one – producing a unique look similar but different than traditional single-strand versions!

Popular Uses for Ric Rac

One reason why ric-rac became so famous among designers and diyers alike are because its versatility! This simple ribbon-like embellishment could easily transform any plain-looking item into something fancy just like that!

Here are some common ways in which ric rac is used:

  • Embellishing children's clothing – adding ric-rac to hems, cuffs or collars adds a touch of whimsy and fun.
  • Decorating linens – adding a strip of ric rac trim to bed sheets, tablecloths or curtains can make them look more attractive.
  • Home Decor Project – decorating lampshades or picture frames with ric-rac adds instant charm.

Benefits of Using Ric Rac

One reason why many people love using ric rac is because it is an affordable and easy way to add personality and character to any item. Whether you are looking for something simple or want to create something intricate, this trimming can help accomplish your goals.

Another benefit of using rickrack as opposed other trims like lace: it’s washable! When applied correctly, the ribbon-like trimming will stay put even after multiple machine washes!

Tips for Working with Ric Rac

If you have never worked with rick rack before there are few things one should keep in mind when starting out. First; ensure that the size matches up well with the project at hand. Also remember while sewing on curves be sure not stretch too much else may cause puckering along edges making things appear uneven.

Finally don't forget about color matching! While plain white-off white cotton versions might work great against darker fabrics; brightly colored versions may need careful consideration before being incorporated into projects especially those involving pastel tones where subtlety reigns supreme.


In conclusion, rickrack has been around for centuries serving both ornamental and practical purposes alike across various cultures around the world over time. It serves not only as an embellishment but also useful decorative element giving lifeless items new personality without breaking bank account while doing so! So why not try incorporating some form into your next creative endeavor?


What is ric rac and where does it come from?

Ric rac, also known as rickrack or zigzag braid, is a type of decorative trim that consists of a series of flat zigzagging lines. Ric rac has been used for centuries to add flair and personality to textiles such as clothing, bedding, curtains and more. The exact origins of ric rac are unclear but it is believed to have first appeared in Europe in the 16th century before spreading across the globe.

Ric rac was particularly popular during the mid-twentieth century when it was frequently used on clothing items such as dresses and blouses. Today, you can still find ric rac trim on many different types of products including home decor items like throw pillows or even children’s toys.

How is ric rac made?

Traditionally made from cotton or linen materials, modern versions may use synthetics like polyester instead which can help make them more durable. Ric-rac starts as a long strip of fabric that has been cut on the bias (a diagonal angle) to give it some stretchiness. It's folded at its center point so that both ends face outward with each end consisting of several smaller strips sewn together along their length.

The two sides are then joined by stitching them together along their length using small stitches through all layers except for one side which remains open so you can turn your work right-side out again once finished sewing this seam closed too! You should now be left with something resembling an accordion-style ribbon-like piece – this is your completed rickrack!

What colors does ric-rac typically come in?

Ric-rac comes in many different colors ranging from bright neon hues to subtle pastels or earth tones depending on what kind you're looking for! Some common shades include white/black/gray (great if you want something neutral), pink/blue/green/yellow/red/orange/purple/etc., metallics like gold or silver, and even glitter varieties.

When choosing a color of ric-rac to use, you should consider what it will be paired with. For example, if you're using the ric rac on a white pillowcase or bedding set, then bolder colors like red or blue might work better than more muted tones because they'll stand out against the white background.

What are some ways that ric-rac can be used in crafting?

Ric-rac is an incredibly versatile material that can be used in many different crafts. Some popular uses include adding trim to clothing items such as dresses and skirts; embellishing home decor items such as throw pillows or curtains; creating custom jewelry pieces by attaching beads or other embellishments onto strips of rickrack; making accessories like hairpins/headbands/belts/etc.; and more!

One great way to use rickrack is by applying it along the edges of fabric pieces for a decorative touch. You could also try weaving multiple strands together to create interesting patterns – this works especially well when using different colored variations! Another fun idea is gluing small lengths of rick rack onto cardboard shapes (like stars/holiday ornaments) before decorating them further with paint/felt/sequins/etc.

Is there anything I should know about caring for products that have been decorated with ric rac?

Ric rac typically holds up well over time but care must still be taken when washing products adorned with this type of trim. It's best to wash these items on a gentle cycle using cool water rather than hot so as not to damage any delicate threads comprising your beautiful decoration!

You may also want to avoid drying anything which has been decorated heavily with lots and lots (or long lengths!) Of Ric-Rack all at once because they can sometimes become tangled during drying leading them unraveling from their seams over time – better safe than sorry! If possible air-drying outside helps too since sunshine naturally acts as a disinfectant for most fabrics.

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