All About Chainette Fringe


      We sell chainette fringe in about 30 colors and a dozen different lengths, and I am often asked questions about the characteristics and care of chainette fringe. For this reason I’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions. I hope it will help you when trying to decide if this particular type of fringe is the best choice for your project and in caring for items embellished with chainette.

      What is chainette fringe?

      Chainette fringe is, as the name implies, composed of a chain similar to the chain you can create on a serger. Cut lengths of chainette are doubled over and stitched horizontally across the top creating a header. The stitching holds the numerous chains in place. Narrow chainette usually has 3 rows of stitching at the top and longer chainette fringe will have 4-5 rows of stitching. Chainette fringe hangs open at the bottom in single strands as opposed to being looped at the bottom.

      What can chainette fringe be used on?

      Chainette is one of the most versatile of fringes. It can be used for home decorating, apparel, and craft applications. Home decorators add it to valences and draperies; crafters use this pretty trim on purses, Santas, Victorian tassels, and more. But the most applications are found in the area of apparel: shimmery tops and skirts, shawls, belly dancing costumes, reproduction flapper dresses, costumes, etc.

      Why does the picture show stitching at the bottom of the fringe?

      The thread and stitching you see at the bottom of chainette fringe is called the ‘pull cord.” It’s there to keep the fringe neat and in place while you are working with it. When you’re finished stitching or gluing your fringe in place, you simply pull on one of the threads of the pull cord to release the fringe. Tip: Sometimes chainette fringe doesn’t have a pull cord at the bottom and can be a bear to work with. I use narrow blue painters tape to hold the strands in place while stitching. Remove it gently so as not to pull the chainette strands out of the header. Don’t use masking tape for this purpose; it’s too sticky.

      What fibers are used in making chainette fringe?

      The two main fibers used in manufacturing chainette are rayon and polyester. Polyester fringe is usually 100 percent polyester while rayon chainette can be 100 percent rayon or have a 90/10 mix of rayon and polyester. Rayon chainette has the subtle but distinctive sheen of rayon. Polypropylene and cotton.are also used in producing chainettte fringe. Polypropylene adds strength, but be aware that chainette with polypropylene should never be ironed as it will melt.

      How do you care for chainette fringe? Can I put it in the washing machine?

      As a general rule, chainette fringe should be dry cleaned. Items embellished with longer lengths of chainette fringe should also be protected in a mesh bag during the dry cleaning process. If the item includes other trims in which the fringe can tangle, it is best to remove the fringe prior to cleaning.

      If the chainette fringe is labeled washable, you should hand wash in COLD water to minimize fuzzing of the ends. Do not use hot water. Machine washing even on the delicate cycle will cause the strands of the fringe to separate unless the fringe is specifically marked machine washable. The separation of the fiber chains at the very ends is not a flaw in the fringe but simply characteristic of this fringe. NEVER put chainette fringe in the clothes dryer as it will separate and fuzz. Line dry instead. And never iron chainette. Let it hang, and it will straighten of its own accord. If you attempt to iron it, it may melt.

      I want to use long chainette on a lampshade I’m making. Can I dye it?

      Rayon fringe is, in my opinion, the best choice for dyeing or tinting; polyester fringe does not take dye well. Be aware that the thread used to stitch the header may not be rayon, and consequently may take dye differently from the fringe itself. If that’s the case, it’s easy enough to cover the header with another trim.

      Polyester chainette does not, in my opinion, dye successfully. Be aware that the bottom of all chainette will tend to fluff out at the ends when wet. I don’t find this objectionable, but if you do you will need to trim the ends a ¼ inch or so after tinting or dyeing.

      What is the best color of rayon chainette to dye or over dye?

      You can create some interesting effects by over-dyeing colors such as lavender, light pink, etc. Long wine chainette, for example, can be dipped about half way up its length into black dye creating a lovely Victorian shaded appearance.

      White or natural, however, are usually your best choices if you want a very specific color or tone. Natural color chainette is totally untreated rayon with no brighteners applied. It dyes extremely well.

      Always test your colors on a small piece of the fringe to see if you like the effect. Use dyes especially created for fabric. My personal favorite is Dylon, a powdered dye, which allows me to custom mix colors in small batches. If you want a two or three tone effect, dye the fringe first with the lightest color, followed by successively darker shades.. Remember the longer you leave the fringe in the dye bath, the darker it will get. Experiment and have fun! If you desire an antique appearance, be sure to read our article on using potassium permanganate which produces a lovely antique appearance and is permanent.

      I hope this information is helpful to you.

      By Florence Dove Google

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