Trim for Curtains


Trim for upholstery, including trim for curtains, is called passementerie. There are many types of passementerie that can be used to trim curtains, including decorative fringes, braids, tassels, ruffles, pompoms, ribbons and rosettes. They may be made of natural fibers but manmade material is more common. You can sew them on or attach them with fabric glue. Trim can make a striking difference to the overall look of your curtains.

Decorative Braid

  • Decorative braid usually has two finished edges so it can be attached to the outside of your curtains. It can be used to cover seams, or to put an attractive edging to your fabrics. Braid may be woven, knitted or stitched. Gimp braid is a kind of braid with one straight edge and one scalloped edge.


  • Fringes consist of a row of cords with one end sewn, glued or woven in place and one end free. In bullion fringe, the cords are doubled and twisted, making the fringe heavier. Fringes may be made from yarn, cord, fibers or ribbon.

Tassel Fringes

  • Instead of lying in a row, the strands of yarn in a tassel fringe are gathered into tassels which lie side-by-side. Tassel fringes can add an opulent feel to drapes made from thicker fabrics.

Pom-Pom Fringes

  • Pom-pom fringes consist of a row of small fuzzy pom-poms attached to a band of fabric. Pop-pom fringes in restrained colors can look elegant when sewn to curtains made from thick fabrics. For a lively, playful effect, choose a pom-pom fringe in a bright primary color and use it to trim voile curtains.

Cords and Tie-Backs

  • There are many kinds of decorative cord. You can sew cord trim to your curtains in loops or swags; some cord has a lip of fabric which allows it to be sewn into seams. Use decorative cord to make tie-backs for your long drapes. Other materials for tie-backs include fabric, leather, ribbon and braid.

Rosettes and Buttons

  • Traditionally, rosettes and buttons have been used to trim upholstered furniture like sofas and armchairs, but you can use them with your curtains, too. Rosettes can be sewn along the bottom of curtains to add decorative detail and weight. Rosettes and large, decorative buttons can also be sewn onto the tabs of tabbed curtains.

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  • "Interior Textiles: Fabrics, Applications, & Historical Styles"; Karla J. Nielson; 2007
  • "Sew a Beautiful Window: Innovative Window Treatments for Every Room in the House"; Sally Cowan; 2001
  • Photo Credit Martin San/Lifesize/Getty Images
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