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Upholstery Trim: Gimp Braid, Double Welt or Hidem Welt

Some upholstered furniture requires an upholstery trim. This trim covers the visible tacks or staples where the material meets the show wood. If you are reupholstering in a fabric, you could use a gimp braid, a double welt or other decorative trim. But if you are reupholstering in vinyl or leather, you could use double welt or Hidem welt.
scroll gimp trimAt other times maybe you want to use a decorative trim on a project. Whatever your reasons, you have several options, which we are going to go over in this article.

Choosing Your Upholstery Trim

Choosing the trim for your project will depend on several things. Where is it going to be used? Do you need an upholstery trim to finish the area where the fabric and show wood meet? Or is it going to be added to the bottom edge of a chair seat or skirt?

The style of your piece of furniture will influence whether you use gimp or double welt. You may find that the design and fiber content of the material you are working with will be helpful in your decision.

Trimming Upholstery Fabrics

You have several options when it comes to using upholstery trims on fabrics. They are:

doublel weltDouble welt trim which you can make out of the same or contrasting material, using a special welt foot. Some people call it twin piping because it looks like two welts sewn together. You can easily attach it to area to be finished with glue using a hot melt glue gun.

Single welt Some furniture with show wood has crevice to staple into.  After the fabric is stapled in the crevice is then filled with a single welt attached with hot melt glue.  Usually, some of the welt lip is cut off before gluing it in place.  The picture below shows a crevice with single welt trim.

single welt trimGimp trim is a flat woven or braided trim or ribbon about 5/8”. It usually
has a wavy or scrolled pattern. But you are not limited to plain patterns.
There are also geometric and other designs. Some are available with short tassels. The  photo below shows gimp being used to cover the staples and raw edge of the fabric.
gimp trim on a chair

It is widely used as a finishing trim on furniture, especially to cover the raw
edges of fabric plus tacks or staples where the fabric butts against the show wood of a piece of furniture. In this instance, you would either attach it with glue or decorative nails.

Gimp trim is referred to by other descriptive names such braid, gimp braid, French gimp, scroll gimp, etc. It is very decorative. Many times it is used as a decorative trim on pillows, skirts, cushions, valances, cornices.

Woven Decorative Welt can be sewn into the seam since it has a lip. It is
available in different colors. It is very decorative. But it is considered a
specialty trim item.  See sample below.
woven decorative welt

Woven Decorative Braid with Balls or Fringes are sewn into cushions. Or it may be attached to cornices or skirts, for instance, as a special effect, and be attached using glue.  Here is an example of decorative trim which has been added to the bottom edge of a chair for decoration.
Woven Decorative Braid

Trimming Vinyl and Leather

Your choices of ways to trim vinyl or leather are rather limited. They are:

Single or Double Welt are good choices as finishing trim for some of your vinyl or leather reupholstering projects. They are easy to make.

Hidem Welt makes finishing vinyl or leather much easier. It will hide the staples, tacks and raw edges of the vinyl or leather. It has a center pocket to staple it in place (see illustration below).  And it is available in several colors.

We have found many uses for Hidem. One particular use has been on the bottom edge of vinyl kitchen chair backs where we staple the front and back vinyl together. We can trim the excess vinyl off and cover both the raw edges of vinyl and staples with the Hidem. There are many other places we use it in the process of reupholstering.
hidem welt
Flat Vinyl or Leather Trim is sometimes needed to use as a base for decorative nails when you are finishing a leather or vinyl reupholstered item.

At one time we were able to purchase a flat vinyl trim like this. But it doesn’t seem to be available any more. So we just cut a strip of the vinyl, fold it over and place it under the decorative nails as we hammer them in place.

Where Is Upholstery Trim Available

Upholstery trims are available in a variety of places, such as local upholstery shops, local fabric stores and decorator shops. Any of these should have a wide selection of colors and designs of upholstery gimps and other decorative trims.

Hidem welt to use on your vinyl and leather projects may not be as easy to find. Many local upholstery shops should have it. Don’t know if fabric stores would sell it. Most of their customers ask for it because they do not know about it.

Most of these upholstery trimming items will be available online at places like Amazon, eBay, and an upholstery supply business. You may be required to buy a minimum number of yards. But if you only need a small number of yards, an upholstery shop might be good place to shop for what you need.

When purchasing upholstery gimp or decorative trim, it is wise to purchase an adequate amount, and maybe a little extra, for your project. If you have to go back for more , you might not be lucky enough to get it from the same dye lot as your original purchase. Dye lots can occasionally vary a great deal from each other.

Review of Upholstery Trims

We have covered the types of upholstery trims that you might want to use on your reupholstering projects. You now can make an informed choice as to whether you should use gimp braid, double welt, Hidem or other decorative trim as the finishing trim for your reupholstery project.