Oh my gosh, I spent such a long time on trim. I promise it wasn’t all my fault. What really distracted me was Signe Chanel, Chanel’s 2005 behind-the-scenes documentary. I love watching people at work. But it’s one thing, watching someone else vacuum, another when it’s Real. Life. Elves. Making. Magic.
The star of the show (which is saying something) is Madame Pouzieux, an elderly farm owner who knew Gabrielle Chanel herself. You have to watch her on Youtube, she’s pretty hilarious. She hand-weaves Chanel’s trims using secret techniques, a loom she invented, and her own yarn combinations. She also works after midnight (once all the animals are fast asleep, bien sûr), no doubt to fox all those trainees Chanel sent to learn from her. (You can just imagine their little heads waking up, to find that suddenly the threads are all spun and they can’t work out how.) Sadly Madame Pouzieux isn’t alive any more, so I’m guessing her Rumpelstiltskin-like secrets are now with the great couturier in the sky. However, despite her best efforts to flummox the camera, Madame P did let slip a few tips:
– make matching trim by pulling threads from the cloth
– even if you can’t weave, you can knit, crochet or plait threads together
– count the thread numbers and colours in a full repeat, then use the same ratio when making your trim (Madame P didn’t say “use the same ratio”, she just counted and then applied some elvish intuition, but I reckon that if you use the same ratio, the colour balance will be about right
Of course, I could have saved all this trouble by a) using selvage, or b) buying trim. But unfortunately fringe just doesn’t suit me, and the black trim I originally bought and sewed on was a total disaster.
If you want to do amazing trim, then check out this, this and this. After reconciling myself with my limited crafting abilities, I ended up doing a rather pedestrian five strand braid. I made about 5 metres worth, by tying the threads into a knot, and pinning it to a cushion, sort of lace-making style.
I won’t lie. It took ages. No one tells you how boring – and slightly criminal-feeling – it is to pull apart a £50 metre of fabric. And then how long it takes to work out the ratio, recombine all the threads and plait them together. And I’ll be honest, the end result lacks tension and is all a bit haphazard. But I’ll try to sew it on straight and hopefully hide all the knots. And let’s be honest, as it’s all I can manage, it’ll just have to do.
As Madame P said, “An okay trim on a matching fabric will look fantastic.”