A most important and distinctive note in dress is the fringe trimming which appears on both indoor and outdoor dress, on modes for old and young alike, and on simple morning gowns with equal distinction as on the most elaborate full dress evening toilettes.

A silver fringe may be greatly improved by knots of bebe ribbon tied at intervals

A silver fringe may be greatly improved by knots of bebe ribbon tied at intervals

The fringe mode appears and disappears with intermittent regularity. The primitive man or woman, who knotted up some ragged ends in the garment of skins which had frayed with wear, was unconsciously taking the first step towards decoration of dress, and the primitive brain which registered a pleased emotion at the result, experienced the first wave of interest in the beautification of dress. When once this first step was taken, we may be sure ragged fringe was always knotted, and possibly more rags were made than were actually necessary, in order to excuse a row of ornamental knots.

This is probably the history of the early steps of dress trimming in a nutshell - a humble renovation made decorative; decoration added for no useful purpose, but merely as an item of beauty.

Fringe is still made by knotting frayed threads, and there is no better way of ornamenting the long stole ends of lawn, linen, or silk than by ornamental knotting. It can be carried out with good effect in two or three rows, the threads being counted so as to maintain an even balance. Thus, twenty hanging threads may be knotted within a quarter of an inch of the lower edge. This is continued to the end of the material. In the second row ten threads must be taken from one knot, ten from the next, and the knot made a quarter of an inch below. A kind of netted pattern is made which can be increased indefinitely.

A plain bead fringe with strands of silk which exactly match the gown on which it is to be worn gives a good result

A plain bead fringe with strands of silk which exactly match the gown on which it is to be worn gives a good result

In making this type of fringe the threads must be of the round and substantial type. It is useless to attempt to knot the frayed-out threads of a poor material. Any alliance of silk and cotton will give a poor result, since adulteration of any kind will spoil the effect.

If the threads to be fringed seem too meagre, it is a good plan to put in others. This must be done carefully, but if evenly added the effect is good. The stole ends of a pale green linen dress looked well with knotted fringe ends. The panel was embroidered in coarse white flourishing thread, and two threads of this had been added on each side of the eighteen linen strands, being sewn into the material, and then knotted up with the green. The effect was very pleasing, as the fringe exactly matched the embroidery.

A Perfect Match

This perfect matching is the despair of the economical dresser, for it is impossible to use up what we have in our stores, or to obtain cheaply what is in the shops if we are continually seeking after special shades and harmonies. Any practical woman will tell how she has to resort always to the most exclusive and expensive shops if she has difficult shades to match, and this is especially the case with fringes.

As fashion permits different colours to be worn in contrast or used as important colour notes in embroideries, it is nearly always possible to give individuality to an inexpensive fringe by means of a dainty addition.

The bead fringe of neutral colour can be made to match any dress as exactly as if it had been made on purpose for it by this simple method. Buy a length of white or silver fringe and then tie little knots of bebe ribbon of the colour desired at regular intervals on each strand. A dance dress for a young girl was thus treated and the result was excellent. The dress was of white chiffon over white satin, embroidered with a wreath of ribbon roses.

Silver fringe was sewn on to the edge of the tunic and tiny knots of rose-coloured bebe ribbon were placed at regular intervals on the fringe. The effect of the glittering rose-tinted silver, was extremely pretty. The bead ribbon garnished fringe was also used on the bodice, where a posy of rosebuds made a girlish finish.

Another way of redeeming a cheap or commonplace fringe is to add a large bead of some special colour to the end of each strand. This addition serves a double purpose, it not only gives a distinctive note of colour which matches the dress, but it also serves to weight the ends of the fringe, so that the material so trimmed is held in place, and the fringe, being so held, lasts much longer.

A successful afternoon gown was of grey ninon de soie, with handsome embroideries in green and gold upon the bodice, composing the elbow-length sleeves. The grey fringe edging the jupe had green jade-coloured beads sewn to the edge of each cord.

Another mode of making an ordinary fringe into one of exclusive beauty is by knotting half a dozen strands of coloured silk or wool, exactly matching the dress, at regular intervals its entire length. This is an easy and quick method of attaining a good result, but great care must be exercised in keeping the strands of equal length. To ensure so doing, find a small book of just the right size, then wind three, four, 01 five strands of the silk round it. Thread a piece of the same silk under the strands at the edge, where the leaves of the book leave a space. Tie firmly, cut the silk at the opposite edge near the back binding of the book, and slip off the thread. Tie again, half an inch below the top, and this quickly made little tassel is ready to sew on to the fringe.

A hand made wool fringe should accompany the wool embroidery on a dress

A hand-made wool fringe should accompany the wool embroidery on a dress

The Fringe

If a long length of fringe is required, it is best to make all the tassels first, so that they are ready to hand when it is desired to stitch them on.

For the fashionable wool-embroidered dress nothing is more suitable than a handmade wool fringe. The illustration shows one which can be simply made with green and red. The crochet top is quite easy to make, and the little tassels, which have uneven ends, are made by twisting the wool round the finger four times, and then tying up and slipping off.

A blue serge day dress had such a fringe made in navy blue and red tassels; the same red was used for an Egyptian type of border on the neck and sleeves.

This fringe is very useful also for many kinds of wool fancy work edging, or in white cotton for bordering crochet designs.

Russian Braid

Our last example of home-made fringe shows Russian braid, knotted, to form a handsome buckle. The effect is excellent, and the cheapness of Russian braid makes the idea an eminently practical one. If a more elaborate pattern were required, it would be easy to use more strands of braid, and, separating them, as described in the frayed linen fringe, knot them again half an inch below, and below that again.

A fringe of this kind would be suitable at the edge of a muff and stole, where long and expensive silk fringe is so much worn. Russian weave of braid in silk is quite cheap and its thickness is most effective.

A really handsome buckle can be made of Russian braid with a knotted fringe, or this idea could be used for the ends of a stole

A really handsome buckle can be made of Russian braid with a knotted fringe, or this idea could be used for the ends of a stole

Of one thing we may be certain, fringes have come to stay, and our ingenuity will be taxed to obtain a handsome fringed effect without ruinous expend i t ure. The quest, however, is a very pleasing one, for nothing is more agreeable than the sweeping and sinuous motion of a pliant fringe. There is a pleasant sensation and semi-revelation in the coloured fringe whose strands separate and show a coloured satin or brocade beneath. When fashion demands Orientalism in dress fringe is always in request. The fringed Eastern scarf, the fringed shawl, these have the right feeling in artistic dress, and the fringe as a note of distinction in dress is very valuable.

A Distinctive Note

The woman who contemplates renovation will do well to get fringe to give a modern touch to her gown. The addition of this handsome ornament imparts an entirely fresh aspect to a blouse, skirt, or theatre coat which is to be renovated and brought up to date. Some fresh-coloured hand embroidery, with fringe bringing in the same distinctive colouring, will be the safest line for the renovator to follow.

The Home Worker

Those girls who wish to add a little to their allowances may find an opportunity for doing so among their friends if they are devotees of Madame la Mode. They, if possessed of leisure and skill, combined with the inventive faculty, can prove friends in need to many faced with the task of bringing garments up to date by "contriving." The charge for good fringe is often considerable, and, even then, to secure the right thing as regards colour, depth, and material, means a weary and often disappointing pilgrimage from one part of town to another.

Here it is that the willing home worker scores, if, indeed, she is willing and ingenious. By her aid, time and money alike are saved, and a more successful result achieved at an infinitely smaller expenditure of nerves and temper.

She may thus, if she so desires, make for herself quite a modest local reputation, and one that will not stop precisely at the limits of her own circle. Success will encourage to further efforts in directions hitherto undreamt of, but which offer a wide scope for the competent worker.