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


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