Soutache (/sˈtæʃ/, soo-TASH), also known as Russia braid,[1] is a narrow flat decorative braid, a type of galloon, used in the trimming of drapery or clothing. Soutache is created by weaving a decorative thread around and between two parallel cords and completely covering the cores; this produces a piece of trim with a braided or herringbone pattern.[2] Often woven of metallic bullion thread, silk, or a blend of silk and wool,[3] soutache began to be made of rayon and other synthetic fibers in the 20th century.

Soutache is used in passementerie to add decorations to textiles.[4] In clothing soutache is used to conceal seams or add embroidered decorations.

Tracing braid is narrow soutache trim used for decorating uniforms.[5] In military uniforms, edgings or loops of soutache in different widths and colors are used to indicate rank, particularly in hats.[6][7] In athletic uniforms, a contrasting soutache is sometimes used to trim the placket and outline numbers or players' names.[8]

The term is also used in bookbinding, where a narrow soutache is applied at the top and bottom of a book back to reinforce the spine and provide a barrier to keep dust out of the binding.

Soutache is incorporated into standalone accessories like jewelry, typically with beads.[2]



  1. Baker 1908, p. 209.
  2. Sweet-McNamara, Amee (2013). Soutache & Bead Embroidery. Kalmbach Books. p. 6. ISBN 0871167506.
  3. Baker 1908, p. 239.
  4. Bednar, Nancy; Pugh-Gannon, Joann (2001). "Passementerie". Encyclopedia of Sewing Machine Techniques. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. pp. 172–175. ISBN 0806963654.
  5. Baker 1908, p. 298.
  6. Baker 1908, pp. 112–113.
  7. "Fashions in Braids". Textile America's Weekly Bulletin of Wool, Woolens, Dress Goods and Cloakings. Vol. 1 no. 20. 28 August 1897. p. 47. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  8. SD Hat Guy (1 May 2018). "Fort Wayne TinCaps Debut New Unis". Gaslamp Ball. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved 8 February 2019.


  • Baker, William Henry (1908). A Dictionary of Men's Wear. Cleveland: Press of the Britton Printing Co.

Continue reading

  • Pegler, Martin M. (1983). The Dictionary of Interior Design. New York: Fairchild Publications. ISBN 0870054473.
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