Soutache

Bracelet Louise brodée avec des perles et de la tresse soutache

Soutache: what is it? Soutache is a versatile and elegant decorative element that can be used in many craft and sewing projects. Made from twisted threads or cords, soutache can be sewn, glued or threaded to add a touch of sophistication to creations.

Whether used to embellish clothing, accessories, jewellery or even interior design objects, soutache offers a wide range of creative possibilities.

In this article, you are invited to discover the history of this much-loved braid, from its use to adorn the most luxurious garments to its use in modern jewellery.

What is soutache?

Soutache is a narrow, flat, braided and textured decorative braid – a type of braid – used for trimming and embellishing draperies and clothing [1].

Traditionally, soutache was used in trimmings to add decoration to textiles. In clothing, soutache is used to conceal seams or add embroidered decorations.

Embroidery with soutache is a form of decorative stitching that technically falls into the category of applied decoration, particularly as a form of passementerie, rather than embroidery [2].

Composition of soutache

Soutache is created by weaving a decorative thread around and between two parallel strings and completely covering the cores; this produces a piece of trim with a braided or herringbone pattern [1], [4].

Soutache is often made from different materials: viscose, cotton, wool, silk or polyester, but also with metal threads. It wasn’t until the 20th century that soutache began to be made from rayon and other synthetic fibres.

This material is easy to find in haberdashers.

Tresse soutache composé de deux âmes et du fil décoratif

The soutache in history

The soutache originated in France in the 15th century and was mainly used to adorn the dresses and cloaks of the nobility and clergy [3].

But the use of soutache was not exclusive to the world of clothing: it was also used to decorate furniture such as lampshades, cushions, armchairs, etc.

In the 17th century, it joined other embellishments such as ribbon and lace, which were key elements of upper-class fashion in France and elsewhere.

Soutache braids began to be used on uniforms in France under Napoleon in the early 19th century. They were also used on Ottoman military and bureaucratic clothing during the 19th century, and this use spread to other countries under Ottoman rule in the Levant and North Africa [1].

Adding the soutache to the decoration of any military uniform was important to show rank, either through the width or the colour of the braid.

With the industrial revolution and the increased availability of less expensive garments and decorative trimmings, soutache began to be used on ready-to-wear garments, bringing it within reach of a wider audience.

The soutache became a permanent fixture with the more elaborate Victorian garments.

Nowadays, the soutache can also be found in the traditional clothing of bullfighters, known as “trajes de luces“.

Soutache is not just used in clothing; it is also used in bookbinding: it is applied to the top and bottom of the spine of a book to reinforce the spine and provide a barrier to prevent dust from entering the binding.

Reliure livre avec la soutache

Soutache jewellery: a modern touch

Since the 1990s, the soutache technique has been enjoying a revival with textile jewellery and accessories and Bead Embroidery [5], particularly in Eastern Europe, Israel and Italy.

Whereas in the clothing industry, soutache was sewn flat, in the field of soutache jewellery and accessories, soutache is sewn upright, by adding several strands one against the other.

Jewellery often includes stones, crystals and pearls for an even more spectacular effect.

This material has a significant advantage: jewellery made from soutache is incredibly light, because of the raw material.

Delta V Créations' soutache jewellery and accessories

The discovery of the soutache technique in 2014 marked the starting point of my creations. These years of experience have only increased my passion for this ancient technique, which gives life to exclusive pieces that stand out from classic jewellery with their unrivalled lightness and vintage allure.

Each piece is designed and crafted by hand, with an emphasis on lightness, elegance and delicacy, so that each creation becomes a work of art.

Among my creations, you’ll find exclusive pieces with a clear objective: to make you stand out from the crowd for your good taste and originality.

I also offer a made-to-measure personalisation and creation service for your accessories, so you can adapt the jewellery you like to the colours that make you even more beautiful and unique.

It’s different from what you’ve seen before, because wearing one of my creations guarantees compliments and an addictive “wow effect“.

The addition of elements from art embroidery means that my creations become a fusion of embroidery and haute couture in miniature.

Discover soutache accessories in the boutique

Discover Delta V Créations' soutache jewellery and accessories.

Exclusive creations that tell a story: your story.

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