Trimming – or trim – is any embellishment you put onto a costume. It doesn’t serve a structure function like a sleeve or a side panel. If you took it away, you won’t suddenly be half-naked. But trims can make or break a costume – especially if you’re doing late Victorian or sugar-fueled anime – both genres just love their trimmings and decors.
Trims can be flat or three-dimensional. They can be made from artificial and/or natural fibers, metallic threads or integrate other objects such as shells or feathers. It can be applied along a seam, on top of fabric or to the edge of a garment, where it might act as a finishing agent, or be a part of an edge that has already been finished by other means.
The trimming of a garment can help indicate its function, the social status of the wearer or simply jazz things up through sheer ornamentation. Yup, it’s a broad category.
Trivia note: in the later part of the 19th century, home sewing machines became affordable for practically everyone, which meant that the time required to make a dress was dramatically reduced. So what did ladies do with that extra time? They added trimmings on to their dresses. Yards and yards of them. Of course, it was a status thing – it indicated that not only could the lady afford a sewing machine, but she could afford the ribbons, lace and beaded trims to adorn her promenade outfit.
As you have probably guessed already, there are thousands and thousands of trimming options out there. How do you know what you’re looking at or looking for at any given moment? Browse the trim category to learn more.