Rick-rack (also spelled “ric rac”), I believe, is one of those embellishments that can add a textural accent to many garments. It can look charming and vintage, or (in some people’s mind) add a distinctly “homemade” aura to a garment. But no matter what your opinion on the humble zig-zag trim, it can’t be denied that it can add a pop of color or help define a shaped seam.
This beautifully colorful vintage dress is one of the more restrained uses of rick-rack I’ve come across, and yet the color scheme (orange dots and pink rick-rack) make the look quite exuberant. This sort of light trimming and bright fabric is perfect for more simple patterns like the Peony.
I adore this version of the Licorice dress (from the Colette Sewing Handbook) by Rochelle. The bright red rick-rack is perfect with the subtle stripe, and really sets off the contrast and neckline and sleeve cuffs. Notice how she further tied in the trim color by using buttons as accents at the neckline—clever!
This would be quite an undertaking for any seasmstress—and require a lot of trim! But it’s a very textural use of rick-rack, and since the tone matches that of the dress material, it looks almost like it is part of the fabric. Again, this sort of all-over treatment is best for more simple silhouettes, especially those lacking complicated seaming as the rick-rack has to be applied as the sections are completed for that seamless look.