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Rouleau Embellishments

Images clockwise from top right: vintage dress from Dear Golden Vintage, Valentino couture spring 2013.

Self-made cording is a beautiful vintage detail that has stood the test of time. This textural embellishment adds a touch of luxury and sophistication to garments like blouses and dresses.

I am endlessly fascinated by embellishment and details. I never tire of comparing modern garments to their vintage counterparts. The vintage dress pictured above features a rouleau insert that creates a neckline that tiptoes the line between daring and demure. The modern Valentino dress also uses rouleau cording as a neckline detail, but instead of an insert, the trim is hand appliquéd onto a fine mesh yoke.

Corded appliqué and inserts, like on the garments pictured above, involve hand sewing and time, making it hard for manufacturers to create them in factories. Luckily, with a little extra fabric and some hand sewing you can easily elevate your next sewing project—or update a past project—with this vintage-inspired detail.

What is your favorite vintage detail? Share below!

Haley Glenn

Editorial Director

Five years ago, Haley left the apparel industry to join the world of home sewing. She has been empowering women to sew ever since – first through years of in-person teaching at Sew LA, and now through her writing at Colette. Haley writes tutorials and articles on our blog, teaches sewalongs, and writes and edits for our magazine, Seamwork.



May 11, 2017 #

That Valentino collection makes me homesick, in a good way! The cording looks JUST like these wrought iron gates that are everywhere in Puerto Rico: (Not my blog, just a good sampling)

Thanks for the inspiration. :)


May 12, 2017 #

Thank you for sharing! Those wrought iron gates are absolutely stunning.


May 12, 2017 #

Disappointed. The article is way too short and not much meat in it. Where’s the how-to instructions for this?


May 12, 2017 #

Hi Mary, here is a link to one of our past tutorials with instructions on how to create this detail.

SJ Kurtz

May 15, 2017 #

Appreciate the link, but that’s not rouleau either. Perhaps you were thinking of this:

I knew you had one.