How to Add Decorative Trim to a Dress

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Things You'll Need

  • Trim

  • Iron-on hem tape

  • Scissors

  • Iron

  • Pins

  • Sewing machine

Adding decorative trim to a garment can change the entire look and spruce up clothing that needs revamping. If you have experience sewing, it is simple and painless, and will save you from having to make or buy a whole new dress. Use your creativity to come up with the look you want, or even try copying something you've seen in the store. Adding trim is a dress making trick that can not only dramatically change your dress, but also the way you feel in that dress.


Adding Trim Using Iron-on Hem Tape

Step 1

Lay out your dress and place the trim on top where you want it. Try moving it around to find the right placement; you may be surprised where it ends up.

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Step 2

Cut the iron-on hem tape to the length and width you need. Be sure that the width is slightly smaller than the trim; if it is wider, you will be able to see it on the dress and it will leave a residue on the fabric. Cutting the hem tape too thin will not allow the trim to properly adhere to the dress, and after washing it may fall off completely.

Step 3

Iron the hem tape onto the back of your trim.

Step 4

Lay the trim onto your dress with the hem tape touching the fabric. Carefully pin the trim exactly as you want it to lie.

Step 5

Iron the trim onto the dress, removing pins as you go. Follow the hem tape instructions with regard to your iron's heat setting.


Adding Trim by Sewing

Step 1

Lay the trim on the dress where you want it.

Step 2

Pin the trim exactly where you want it to be. Pins positioned across the trim and not along the length of the trim will work best when sewing.


Step 3

Sew the trim onto the dress, removing pins as you go. Do not sew over the pins; it will break your needle. When selecting thread, either use a color that will not show on the trim or use invisible thread.


Dresses that will be washed multiple times need trim that is very securely attached. The most secure method is to use both methods by ironing on the hem tape and then sewing on top of that. Be sure that your needle is strong enough to penetrate the trim, hem tape and dress fabric.

If your trim is ribbon, treat the ends of the ribbon with a non-fray solution (such as Fray Check), and then turn under the ends before sewing it onto the fabric.


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