Braids: Four Strand Flat Braid


Braiding, or plaiting, is a technique that weaves strands of yarn together to add strength,  width and decoration for straps, belts, and ties. Among the oldest fiber manipulation techniques, braids quickly became ornamental, for example: military epaulets. Many regions and countries have unique braiding techniques and their braids are often incorporated into their national costumes. The chapter in Creating Couture Embellishments focuses on the technique sometimes called “plaiting”, as opposed to loop, card or lucet braiding, Japanese Kumihimo or Peruvian woven braids, or any of the many other braiding techniques.

Choosing materials:  Braids can be made out of rat-tail, yarn, shoe laces, store bought cording, leather, cloth, custom made cording, yarns pulled from the fabric or any other fiber that suits your garment. Here all the rat tail cords are referred to as strands. There are numerous design variations within each braid pattern depending on the number of strands, colors and layout order you choose. This 4 strand flat braid technique is shown in a narrow palette in to better demonstrate small changes in the technique. A wider color palette will add many more variations to your braids. Adding a strand in a different texture or even material will also add interest to your braids

The four strand flat has a diagonal bar in the center of each set of steps that makes a bold pattern.

Step 1- four different colored strands flat braid spread out

Step 1

Secure the four strands, here in four different colors.


step 2 left most strand over 1 strand then under 1

Step 2

LO1, U1 = Left most strand over 1, under 1.


step 3 right most strand under 1

Step 3

RU1 = Right most strand under 1.


Step 4- Repeat Steps 2-3 until the braid is complete

Step 4

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the braid is complete.


Completed four strand flat braid in four different colored strands

Completed four-strand flat braid.


Alternative method

Four strand braid variation, with two only colors of strands

Four strand braid variation, with two only colors of strands

Use two colors in a four strand flat braid to produce a barber pole patterned braid.

If you use two colors and alternate them the braid will be striped in a Barber’s Pole pattern.