Fitness of finish is the crowning completion of needlecraft, and often it is in the so-termed "finishings," the dainty conceits of construction, that the whole charm of a beautiful piece of work lies.
Travellers' Joy. A Panel on Satin by Ann Macbeth.
Hems and seams in themselves can produce beautiful results without further addition of ornament. Piping, bindings, and borders of colours differing from the fabric of the work make good decoration in themselves, and ingenious tricks of making latchets, ties, and fastenings often give distinction to work that without it would lack interest. All manner of unexpected material can be used to give a decorative effect; braid, corset cord, carpet binding, even twine, if of suitable colour, may be used to give completeness of finish to our garments and other embroidered possessions. Wool of all thicknesses may be applied, from the thick rug wool to finest mending wools - as fringes - or to give a strong outline where the pattern is of a scale to demand it. Beads also of all sorts may be used to give richness and weight to such materials as are suited for them ; but it is well to remember that, if work is to be washed, beads may be inconveniently in the way of successful laundering; they are, on the whole, most suited to the decoration of velvet or heavy materials which do not require to be cleaned. Beads may be used in fringes, or if they be flat, they may be sewed on to the material. As a general rule, it is best to use those which have rounded surfaces, not cut into facets, as the latter have a less rich effect and are too assertively sparkling. Ties and cords may be completed with rich tassels of silk, wool or leather, or may be enclosed in little embroidered tags (Diag. 232), or finished with beads. Cords may be made of silk, wool, or linen, and drawstrings and ties may be made of single or manifold strands of ribbon, pleated or knotted, in all manner of ways.
Pipings may be set into place by means of dainty French knots, or by a whipping of coloured thread; latchets and button-loops may be made beautiful by being made of cord or thin braid, the ends laid along the material for some distance and then coiled into large spirals.
Buttons may be used in a purely ornamental way, or if they are large may be themselves decorated to fit the style of the article they fasten (Diag. 233).
The cleverest devisers of "fashions" are those ingenious men and women who invent such fitments as these to the garments they design - without using much added trimming. We still admire such things, even as they were admired by those who wrote of the construction of the curtains and hangings of the Tabernacle, of the hems and borders and the bindings of those glorious garments of the high priest; and "wise-hearted' is the word applied to those who made them. Wise-hearted also let us be, and the wisdom may come in the doing of these things, and we may leave behind us a fairer heritage for our daughters, for in the works of our hands they shall know us when we ourselves have gone.