Sewing Fringe Tips and Tricks

Sewing Fringe Tips and Tricks

Posted By Paul G September 28th, 2011 Last Updated on: November 12th, 2018


We are often asked how to sew ribbon, flat fringe, or yarn into dance outfits or shawls for Grass Dancing, Fancy Shawl and other dance styles. The trend is to use these materials in very colorful designs. There are probably a number of ways to do this depending on your sewing experience, but Tracia Walksnice Nelson of our staff has had great success developing the method we describe here.

This method uses an iron-on adhesive called HeatnBond Lite, manufactured by Therm O Web. This demonstration uses the 5/8″ wide roll. We will show you how to prepare the fringe for sewing into seams for shawl edges or aprons and along trim lines for capes, yokes, shirts, or dresses. For your project, you need to plan ahead to conceal the taped fringe inside the seam or cover with ribbon on a trim line.

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Based on the length of the fringe desired, select a flat piece of sturdy cardboard. Our example is for two sections of fringe, 8 inches long by 12 inches wide. For these dimensions, make the width of the cardboard 14 inches and the height 8 inches. This 14 inch width will allow you to make two 12 inch wide fringe sections as shown in Photo A.

Using a ruler, mark a horizontal line in the center of the cardboard on both sides, as shown in Photo B. Draw vertical lines one inch in from the edges, giving you the 12 inch width to follow as you wrap the fringe around the cardboard. Now tape the top edge of the 14 inch width of the cardboard, and also along the bottom of the cardboard, with wide scotch tape. This will allow you to slide the fringe together easier as you wrap it on the cardboard.

Photo B

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If you are doing color patterns, you can mark where the colors change along the center line on both sides of the form. Cut a starting slit on the top right edge of the cardboard and again on the bottom left edge for the ending of the fringe wrapping.

Cut two 13 inch lengths of iron-on adhesive tape. Tack into position along each side of your center line with the peel off paper backing facing the cardboard form. Tack them down with a piece of Scotch tape at each end . Do this on only one side of the form as shown in Photo C.

Photo C

To begin wrapping, tuck one end of the fringe into the top right slit and wrap the fringe around the cardboard. (If you have color changes in the pattern, make more starting slits for each color along one edge.) When you have finished wrapping the 12 inch width, cut off the strand and tuck the end into the left slit. See Photo D. As needed, slide the wrapped fringe strands so they are neatly together along the form.

Photo D

Cut two more 13 inch lengths of iron-on adhesive tape and using scotch tape on the ends, tack in place over the other two but on top of the fringe, this time with the paper backing facing you. See Photo E. Then use the instructions on the HeatnBond package for ironing until the adhesive turns milky in color. Photo F.

Photo E


Photo F

Turn the form over and cut the fringe along the marked center line. Photo G. Remove the paper tape covering from both sides of the adhesive covered block of fringe. Cut the two pieces apart between the tape lines as shown in Photo H.

Photo G

Photo H

You are now ready to insert these two fringe sections into a planned seam or along a trim line. If you can't sandwich the fringe into a seam, plan to cover it with a ribbon as shown in Photo I.

Photo I

Copyright 2005 by Loren Woerpel, Noc Bay Publishing, Inc.


Home » Native American Articles » Pow Wow » Craft Tutorials » Sewing Fringe Tips and Tricks

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Philaina Michell

This has been very helpful. Thank you!

Tonya Whitefawn

Brilliant idea making fringe this way, especially for a project as big as clothing and not small like a medicine bag where you could do that by hand, well now this is the way to do it.
I’ve been doing it by hand for 40 yrs now, I thank you and my hand thanks you (wink)!

B J Clack

Thanks for this instruction. i was trying to take the colors (6) from a trim to create a fringe on the hem of the skirt. I used separate 1/4” ribbon color to create the fringe.

Steve Quate

Hope it’s alright to post this but I’m a paying member of pow wows.com and haven’t. Even able to find a way to post a new topic. Even a paying member for over 8 months and emailed Paul 3 times thinking I’m wasting my hard earned money all for a few decals.
I bought a nice HD sewing machine, watched hundreds of u tube videos said to myself looks easy enough, BS after 14 yards of material, just worn out from cutting out designs one after another from screwing them up trying to sew them together. Never touched a sewing machine in my life. I have everything head bonded on my apron(breechcloth). I have spent 5 hours just trying to locate someone e to sew my design down so it won’t fray. If anyone e out there sews good and does it part time or full time I am I. Great need to hv my apron sewn down with ribbon. I have money to pay you.pmease let me know I need this done very badly, I need help bad text best way to contact me 817368oneonefourtwo, my thanks Steven

Lois Davis

I have seen shawl fringe that is different colors like it’s been tie dyed or the color goes from dark at the top and ends up really light at the bottom, does anyone know how this is done? I want to make my own because the prices they sell them for are really high.

Lorene Betone

Great idea, cutting and sewing it by hand takes time. Thank God for some smart people, again thank you.


love it. great idea!

cj flores

awesome idea ,thank you a’ho a’ho !!


I am trying to get my fringe the right length. Soaring Eagles directions say 28 inches then looped will hang 14. Crazy Cow sell pre cut but it is only 18″. My Hoopa sister says it should be 32″ before the loop help someone please. I need to get to cutting. a’ho Misty

Pamela Bennett

You are the one to decide how long you want your friends……nobody else!

veronica pauo

thanks! I am going to use this tip


This worked great for me. Even when I was so tired I still was able to get it right. That is a plus in my book!

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