How to Get Rickrack to Look Nice on the Ends


Ever wonder how Bonnie gets her rickrack to look so perfect on her machine embroidery projects? Whether you are adding rickrack to a towel, pillow, or tote, these tips help give your projects a clean, professional finish!

 Picture of machine applique embroidered sea horse on tote bag by Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Rickrack is an ageless accent that Bonnie uses on several of her adorable creations. There are ways to make sure your trim doesn’t fray and that the hills and valleys line up right.

 Picture of black cat and purple octopus machine applique on totes for Halloween by Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Rickrack Challenge One: Fraying

If you play with rickrack a little bit, it starts to fray because it is a bias trim. The problem is how you control the raveling when you get to an end.


Picture of Bonnie burning end of rick-rack so that it doesn't fray on Bonnie's Blog at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

When I'm working with a nylon tape or polyester rickrack, I like to take a lighter to it. Just kind of kiss the ends. The flame seals the edge and makes them nice and fray proof. This is a lot like burning the ends of your embroidery thread tails (read more here).

For cotton rickrack, Bonnie prefers saturating the ends with Fray Block from June Taylor rather than Fray Check. Fray Block dries clear and dries pliable whereas Fray Check dries hard and sometimes yellows.

Rickrack Challenge Two: Lining Up Hills and Valleys

When applying rickrack to a project, you want your ends to be perfect, but they usually need an adjustment. I like to leave myself at least an extra couple of inches on each end to play with so that I can get the ends where I want them.


Picture of Bonnie turning back rick-rack so that it will line up on Bonnie's Blog at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Trim and then burn the ends. Turn ends at a halfway point of a valley or a halfway point of the hill, that way your rickrack will flow in a continuous line.

If your project edge doesn’t fall at a halfway point of rickrack, maybe a quarter point will work better. Bonnie suggests folding the end under and then doing a second tuck underneath so that the hills and valleys line up.

See more tips in Bonnie’s video, Ins and Outs of Rickrack. Check back for part two, navigating corners and lining up rickrack ends!

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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