Welcome, welcome, thank you for joining me.  I promise you will find this the most productive time of your day.  Ribbon embroidery or art allows you to cover a lot of area, with very little effort.  I think of it in the same way I view gardening, I sure like to see all the pretty flowers, but want to have nothing to do with the process.  It is why my garden is made up of perennial, invasive, indigenous plants…If you like the look of embroidery but haven’t the patience or the time, ribbon embroidery is for you.   And, today’s fashion styles lend themselves to this type of work.

I use the satin polyester ribbon which comes in several widths.  Because the ribbon is thicker and not as flexible as silk ribbon, going about achieving a similar look as silk ribbon embroidery may take a few more steps.

Techniques that are different in working with polyester ribbon v. silk.

1.            Tie a knot at the beginning of your project.  (This is necessary because the satin is slippery and will eventually pull itself out of the cloth—especially after several washes.   The negative is that it will add bulk to your embroidered area.) 

2.            To eliminate the need for knotting, I will try to cut my ribbon length roughly the length needed to complete the task.  Yes, it is a little cumbersome working with an extra long ribbon, but using one ribbon length for one color limits your knotting to two knots and the embroidered area can be washed repeatedly without worry about it unraveling.

3.            Because the ribbon is thick, it is a challenge to get through the fabric, and when it does go through, it makes a larger hole than the silk ribbon.  Therefore, where possible, you do need to try and eliminate bulk in other areas, such as using a thin needle and remember to pierce through the ribbon end (a ribbon embroidery technique which I will show you.)

Getting started.

1.            Notice that with this needle, the eye of the needle, although long is as wide as the needle itself.  The same is true with the tapestry needle.

2.            Thread your needle with the ribbon

3              Pierce the needle through the end of the ribbon, after the eye.

4.            Now you are ready to start.

Selecting your fabric.

In selecting your fabric, keep in mind that it should be flexible enough so that when pierced, it will return to its original shape.  Cottons, linens, silks, etc.  Organzas and other polyester sheers do not do well because the hole created is too wide and the fabric begins to tear.  However, creating your embroidery on a cotton and then appliqueing it onto your sheer with a web adhesive, would work fine.

Simple stitches

Today we will make a leaf, rose bud and stem.  And yes, you will do it all in less than five minutes.

I have selected a linen napkin.

Because I want my leaf to be large, I am using ¼” ribbon for the stem, leaf and a few of the buds.  I will use a 1/8” ribbon to make a few more buds.

Making a stem stitch

Bring your needle through the fabric, tie a knot at the end of your ribbon.

Make a stitch, not too long, usually no more than ½”

Now, when you come up to the front of your fabric to make your second stitch, go through the end of the first stitch and make your nest stitch, continuing until your stem is long enough.

Making a Leaf

Make a stitch

Making the bud

This is known as a French knot, simply wrap the ribbon around your needle then, exit the fabric near where you entered, and pull.

Isn’t this easy!!

Next week we will learn a few more stitches, all just as easy as these.

Thank you for joining me, until then, God Bless.

A blast from the past...or? Is it from 2015 fashion runway? 1790 baby's bodice has ribbon embroidery scattered across it (RISD Museum). Everything old is new again.
Tapestry needle
Tapestry needle with 1/4" ribbon
Pierce ribbon end to secure needle
Stem stitch 1
After stitch, second stitch goes through first.
Keep going as long as you would like.
wrap ribbon around the needle
Ribbon bouquet
Welcome, thank you for visiting.  Yes, I promised to get back on track today, but, in looking at the beautiful chiffon embroidered dress that inspired this ramble, I realized I was going to deny myself an opportunity to vent on an area of crafts that is so terribly ignored.  That is…..ribbon art.

Ribbon art/embroidery is the perfect craft for anyone, like me, who needs immediate gratification in their work.  I use pastels, not oils, for this same reason.  Because the ribbon is so thick, in such a few stitches, you can cover a large area.  Why this craft isn’t discussed more is totally mind boggling.  I have used ribbon art in a variety of craft areas.  
Quilting, for instance, I helped my church develop what I call ministering quilts for people who are sick.  The idea first began when a member of my church was diagnosed with cancer.  The quilts have art work from various members painted on fabric squares, but also, the person’s favorite verses, songs and hymns.  To make the fabric squares with the hymns and verses more interesting, I added ribbon art.  

I have also used it to rehab clothes. I managed to spill Clorox on a pair of linen pants, and ended up with bleached areas.  You guessed it, I used ribbon art to hide the areas.

Anything you can use a piece of fabric for, you can include ribbon art on.  And, in fact, I have seen some enterprising souls make their own fabric out of the ribbon---oh wait!—that was me…(check out my blog on Christmas stockings)

The look can vary with the type and style of ribbon you use.  My experience is that I have been able to make all ribbon that is not too thick, wide, and does not have wire--work.   The real question is the care required for the ribbon.   This is where the functional aspect of the ribbon art comes into play.  
Traditional ribbon art is done with silk ribbon.  It is beautiful…there is no question, because the silk is strong, it can be made very thin and still have a full body.  It is also course and therefore, shapes you form hold together well.  The problem is that it is not cheap and, restricted to garments that will be dry cleaned—Although--having said this….do check a sample to see whether your ribbon is color fast.  Some silks wash beautifully, it just depends on the manufacturer.

Being thrifty, and having a different use for the art, I gravitated to satin polyester, 5 rolls for a $1.00. These do a nice job.  They don’t look the same as the silk, but have a decorative look that is uniquely theirs, and also pleasant.  The satin finish makes the roses or leaves a little slippery, but there are ways to make it work. 

I have been especially committed to the satin ribbon for the quilts, because they are subject to hot water and frequent washes, and need to last…which I am pleased to say, they do.

Next week I will show you a few, very simple, no fail stitches that can help transform your look.  Until then, you might want to pick up, or collect a few things.  
Actually, very few, that is another wonderful thing about ribbon art, all you need to start,is a needle, ribbon and something to sew on. Please note the size of the needle eye to the ribbon.  The ribbon in the example is 1/8”, and you will want to get an eye large enough for the ribbon.  Normally for larger ribbon, about a 1/4”, I will use a tapestry needle.  The advantage to this needle,  is that it has a large eye, but is thin enough to not make too large a hole when going through the fabric.
In looking for your ribbon, make sure to read the back of the spool for care instructions.  The spools of ribbon I got from JoAnn provide these international instructions.  And since knowing what the symbols means are not intuitive, I have provided a translation, from left to right.
Initial water temperature should not exceed 60F, No Bleach, Iron any temperature, steam or dry, Dry clean, any solvent.
I hope you will join me next week ready to give the ribbon art a try.  It is a great tool in your crafting arsenal to have, and a skill very easily mastered.  Until next week, God Bless.
I hope I haven't beaten a dead horse with this...but one of my passions is to take ordinary items and use them outside of the norm. Today, again, we will explore uses of our single crochet chain in designing some wonderful jewelry or accents for shirt, jacket, dress or pants.  In fact, you can enlarge the circle we are about to make, to twice the size, line it, and turn it into a clutch. 

Yes, there may be a number of different ways of achieving the same goal, faster, but the skill level is so minimal, anyone really can do this, and get great results.


To finish our jewelry project, twist the end of your chain into a circle.  Then, with a thread of equal strength to the chain, determine a front and back, and begin binding the coil together.

Continue to do this until you have bound the pendant to the desired size.

Then, add an earring wire to the small circles, and a jump ring to the pendant with leather sting, and voila, a necklace with matching earrings.  You can do the same thing to create a bracelet and ring.  (A jump ring is a metal circle, you can find this and the earring wires and chain or leather cord at your local craft store.  In fact many now have well stocked purse sections where you can find a variety of clasps.)


As I was flipping through a Neiman Marcus Catalog, (delivered to the wrong address…as if…) I came across these shirts.  These concept can be easily repeated with the single chain stitch.

Simply make your chain, you can add a small bead for interest.  Remember, however, you will want to wash this, so you want to use a bead that is not so large it will wear out and break the thread.  

The simple leaf shape is very easy to create, don’t worry about it being perfect…after all, leaves aren’t perfect. 

To make this look, first, you will need upholstery nylon thread.  I used a 5mm crochet hook.  If you are not a wing it kind of person, make a pattern leaf to follow, and place your chains around the pattern.  Once all the pieces are assembled, pin everything into place, and then, with a very hot steam iron, press the applique.  You will find the nylon holds together well enough to gently place onto wonder under to iron it once more onto the adhesive.  

Make sure all the loops are glued down by the adhesive, and easy peezy, you have a wonderful light look that can be ironed onto any shirt, dress, or jacket.  

My hope today is to show how so many of our crafting tools and techniques, with just light changes, can translate into wonderfully different and diverse application.

Thank you for joining me, have a great week, and God Bless. 
Thank’s for joining me today.  I’m still wandering down one of my rabbit trails, but I promise to get back on point…if I can remember what it is, soon.  I guess because of the popularity of Downton Abbey, the fashion world is doing a wonderful job in bringing back fashion techniques and looks that have fallen by the wayside.  The good news is that although the show Downton Abbey only portrays svelte, statuesque women, most, during the time, were full figured.   The styles, fabrics, embroidery…all were opulent, robust and detailed, because the women could wear them, and not get swallowed up in the fashion. For this reason alone, it’s fun to see all this come back.  And, one of those techniques is the single chain crochet stitch.  Embroidery has this stitch also, but the stitch lies flat on the dress.  There are numerous situations where you will want to create a fuller bodied look to your fabric, and appliques are perfect for this.

Once you have created your simple single crochet chain, the sky’s the limit to what you can make.  Both crocheting and knitting allow you to create with a number of materials.  In fact, anything you can reduce to a linear strand and is flexible enough to go through a loop, can be knitted or crocheted.  The look of the chain can be varied by the type and thickness of the fiber used, and the size of the crochet hook

In today’s example I turned the stitch into jewelry just to give you an idea of the flexible use of the chain you create.  The design for the necklace is actually semi sort of copied from one I saw on a shear organza curtain home décor fabric.  The circles are sewn onto the fabric.  Of course, you do not have to make circles.  The chain can be turned into squares, or continuous loops around the dress.  This was especially popular two years ago when everything seemed to have the loops, but it is still popular and another way to contour your look.   For instance, imagine this outfit with a large half circle.  You may not be able to find fabric like this, but you can create the look on any fabric, in fact any purchased skirt and shirt. The wonder under applique web adhesive can be used on a variety of fabrics. 

That one loop can take you many places.  The necklace has an added twist, a bead, which you can also use with yarn or other materials to create additional depth, especially around the neck.

Steps in crocheting the necklace.

1)  Create the chain

The steps involved in crocheting the necklace are similar to that in crocheting the yarn chain.  I have used beading wire and there is very little difference in the techniques except that the wire is not as resilient and you will not want to make too many errors.  In fact, it’s not easy to rip out and reuse, although I certainly have done it.

2)  Adding the bead

Before crocheting you will want to add as many beads as you require on the thread.  I always put just a little more than anticipated to allow for creative license.  Select an interval you wish to follow i.e. every two stitches, every eight and space your beads accordingly.  When you are ready to add a bead, slip one bead up to the hook.  Pull the thread just above the bead through the loop with the hook and move onto the next.  I always consistently pull the hook over the bead so that the thread appears over the bead.  But there is no right or wrong way, just be consistent.

Continue on until you have the length you want.  

Next week I will show you how to sew the chain together.  Until then, thank you again for joining me and have a Blessed week.

Copyright 2014-2015 by Anne A. Sears