A braid is a length of semi-flexible, flattish, decorative (interlaced, knotted, woven) band that may be made of two or more different types of thread. They are often, but not necessarily, made from types of metallic thread and may include additional items such as beads. Braids are usually between 1.0 - 8.0 cm in width.
One thing that has become clear while writing TRC Needles and working on the TRC Collection database is the need for a consistent definition of various groups of objects. This problem applies especially to braids, cords and ribbons. Standard encyclopaedia and dictionary definitions are often too general or even contradictory, and the problem is compounded by different English UK and USA forms.
China ribbon is a term for a narrow, inexpensive ribbon (between 1.5 and 3 mm wide), which is sold since the nineteenth century in various colours, as well as in shaded forms. It is and was used for threading women’s underwear, children’s dresses, book markers, as well as for various types of ribbon embroidery, including China ribbon embroidery.
Cord is the term for a narrow, flexible woven band that is normally round or square in cross-section and monochrome in appearance, although multi-coloured cords also occur. Cords are usually between 0.25 and 1.0 cm in diameter. They are often used as a couched line in some forms of applied decoration such as passementerie.
Lace, also known as military lace or navy lace, is a term sometimes used for a flat, semi-flexible, decorative woven band that has a metallic thread weft. Such bands are usually between 0.5 - 8.0 cm in width. This form of lace should not be confused with other forms of lace, such as bobbin lace and needlelace.
A ribbon is a narrow, flat and flexible woven band that may range in appearance from simple and monochrome to being decorated with multi-coloured and repetitive (embroidered or woven) patterns. Ribbons may also be made out of velvet, satin or some other complex weave. They are usually between 0.3 and 10 cm in width.
Rik-rak is a term for a narrow, flat and semi-flexible band that is deliberately woven into a zig-zag. They are normally, but not inevitably, monochrome in appearance. Rik-rak is usually between 0.5 and 1.5 cm in width. This form of band was developed in the late nineteenth century, initially to finish seams and hems and later as a form of decoration, especially on garments.
A trim is a decorative or plain band of some kind that is fastened in some manner along one or more edges of an object. Sometimes a trim is also used to decorate the main part of the object. The aim is to produce a contrasting effect, such as a fur trim on a leather ground, or an orange band on a blue ground material, etc. A braid, cord, ribbon or tape may be used as a trim.
A trimming is a strip of cloth, lace or band, etc., in which one longitudinal edge (head, header) is plain and runs straight, while the other longitudinal edge (foot, footer) is normally wavy or scalloped in some manner, or provided with tassels etc. The foot is the edge that is normally left showing, so that the wearer and viewer can ‘admire’ its appearance. Not to be confused with trimming (1).