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.)
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.
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.
Now that you have all these petals, how do you put them on? There are several options.
Why do we have pattern?
Believe it or not, there is something of a history behind pattern. I discussed the reasons for it in home décor, but there are also reasons in fashion fabrics too. There is, of course, the tribal reason, to help distinguish friend or foe. It was also used to distinguish rank within a community. More importantly, it was developed to help women stand out, without really standing out. Ah….we are a complicated bunch. In any community, there is always an underlying competition among women, trying to attract the perfect man or keep him. But, within that community of women, an unwritten rule not to make the others look too bad, or you too different. We are to be “distinctively conformed.”
So, how do you do this when your community has all the same tools for making clothes, limited dyes and fabrics from which to make them? In other words, if a tunic is a tunic is a tunic how then do you make yourself “distinctively conformed.” Yes…you guessed it…through pattern.
Fashion designers have taken these traditional patterns, and played with them past their traditional looks. However, I would point out that for all the change, the use of pattern hasn’t changed that much. The goal is still, “distinctive conformity.”
As blogs allow flits down various rabbit holes, I thought while we are still discussing “building your look” to review what to do if you can’t find a pattern that works. How then do you “build” your own style?
The solution requires a little work, but perhaps not as much as you might anticipate. Taking our jacket pattern as an example, since we will be discussing animal prints, what if we wanted the back to have a diagonal zebra print at the bottom of the jacket back a leopard skin pattern at the top with a black and white vertical strip in the front?
Easy peezy…but I have three cautions.
First, you don’t have to use the same type of fabric for each piece in the jacket but pre-wash all the pieces for shrinkage. Also, lighter fabrics through wear will tear when sewn to heavier fabrics, so you will need to strengthen the seams to strengthen your lighter fabric.
Second, seams add bulk to your fabric, so the more you have the stiffer certain areas will be.
Third, if you are alternating pieces against the grain, you will have some fabrics with too much stretch and some with none. Depending on the style, a little stretch around the hips might be a good thing, around the back…not so much, because you will end up with puckering.
What you will need:
810 Tru grid.
This graph paper is sold by the yard and because of the grids, allows you to make alternations with a little more accuracy.
1. Copy all your pattern pieces onto the grid paper and cut them out.
2. With the pattern copied onto the grid paper, cut out the pieces for the style you want. This is more like a jig saw puzzle now, so have at it.
3. As you cut your pieces, some will have seam allowance others will not. Mark those sides that have the seam allowance.
4. Number your pieces so you have an idea where each is to fit, i.e. back bottom 1, etc.
5. Once done, put your pieces back onto the grid paper and recut, this time allowing for a seam allowance for those sides that don’t have one.
6. Sew the pattern up with muslin, and with a marker, mark the direction of your fabric patterns to see if your proportions are correct, seams are appropriate, and the design looks right.
7. If yes, then sew up your jacket. If no, since you have preserved your original pattern, you can always start over. One note, don’t be afraid of playing with the seam allowance. By lengthening one piece, with a ¼” seam allowance, and shorting another with an 1”, it might be all you need to make the look work.
Well…that was fun…now back to topic.
the wonderful world of stripes
Photos of the sewn clothing are on my Pinterest site. Please click the above link and it will take you there.
I should note, the photos are of clothing that have been worn and washed. I once found myself unemployed and a $64.00 dry cleaning bill that had to some how be paid before I could get my suits out for an interview. I swore then that if the item could not survive the wash, gentle cycle or normal, I was not going to buy it or make it.
Plus, we surround our skin with enough chemicals, we don't need to voluntarily add more.
I have many interests, but have to admit sewing is not one of them. I sew only because I like to wear clothes that fit. Thus, my goal when I approach any sewing project is to get it done well enough that it is wearable.
Most of the time I reach that goal. I hope this blog will help open up new fashion vistas for you to explore.