Braiding / Plaiting / Macramè Manufacture

Macramè, Braiding and Plaiting are all ways of making fabrics without weaving or knitting them. They are made instead by plaiting, knotting and twisting the yarns to form elaborately complex designs that have an open weave effect. In Macramè square knots and hitching are used. These hitches are usually full hitches and double half hitches. These are both very decorative and when used in repetitions and patterns they can make full pieces of fabric.

Macramè was first established by sailors whose knowledge in knots helped them to develop this style. It also helped to pass the time when sailing on long journeys. Macramè was first established in the Western world in the 13thcentury and was extremely popular during the 1970’s. Macramè is available in various colours and can be made using cotton, twine, hemp, leather or yarn.

Braiding is made using fabric cords. This can be done with a minimum of three cords, but sometimes up to 12 can be used, depending on how elaborate the braid needs to be. Braids can be embellished with beads and sequins and were used extensively in the military to dictate rank.

Plaiting is very similar to braiding, generally only 3 cords or pieces of yarn are used to make a plait, but many others can be made with more strands to start with. Again, braiding and plaiting can be made using many different fibres and are available in various colours.

Properties of Braiding / Plaiting / Macramè

  • Open weave
  • Breathable
  • Decorative
  • Can be embellished
  • Available in various colours
  • Geometric patterns
  • Elaborately knotted
  • Frays easily
  • Flexible
  • Versatile

End Uses of Braiding / Plaiting / Macramè

  • Jewellery
  • Shawls
  • Ponchos
  • Trimmings
  • Used by the military to dictate rank
  • Decorations
  • Costumes

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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