How To,  Sewing Tips

Adding “Pouf” with Horsehair Braid

Previously I blogged about my recent haul from Wawak Sewing supply company, including a pair of 144-yard spools of horsehair braid, one white and one black. Then a friend asked me “Why do you need so much?  What do you do with it?” Fair enough, since most people buy it by the 3-yard package…..


I make a lot of costumes,  and horsehair is great for adding body to necklines and princess seams….plus of course hemming. I love it for hemming, to add “pouf”.  Actually I use it 2 ways for hemming, the “typical” way, and another way that I made up.

You’ve probably  seen the typical method of applying horsehair braid to a hem: place the braid on the OUTSIDE (“right” side) of your hem, line the braid up along the edge of the fabric, and straight-stitch:


Then  flip the horsehair over to the INSIDE:


From the INSIDE (“wrong” side) it looks like this:


Turn the horsehair braid  again to hide the raw fabric edge:


Stitch again:


….and voila! Hem is full of body and volume:


(If this were for a dress, not a costume, I would hand-stitch of course.)


Here is the other method that I use all the time, which I completely made up.  This is for hems that have a flounce or ruffle.  Let’s say you have a petticoat or ruffled dress that needs more “pouf”:


You can add horsehair to the seam allowance connecting the flounce to the skirt! First measure the sweep of the skirt:


Then  measure the horsehair: the sweep times 2 for front and back, and again times 2 to double it (you can use 1, 2 or even 3 layers of horsehair):


Placing the garment flounce under the sewing machine foot,  fold the horsehair in half to double it, and slide it under the seam allowance:


Straight-stitch all around the sweep, tucking in the horsehair as you go:


…and voila! Instant poufiness:


Do you have favorite uses for horsehair??



  • Omotayo

    Thank you for this tutorial, I never thought to use it in a gathered seam.
    Would soft or stiff horsebraid be best for sewing hems using woven cotton fabrics?

  • [email protected]

    I find that the width of the horsehair is what affects the stiffness, or body. For lightweight fabrics and children’s sizes, I use narrow horsehair(1/2″). For heavier fabrics and adult sizes, I use 1″ or even 2″ width.

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