Ribbon embroidery can be used for many things, including crazy quilts, framing artwork or embellishing clothing and pillowcases. Silk ribbon embroidery can also incorporate other materials, such as regular embroidery floss, yarn and beads.
Ribbon Embroidery Tips
Wash the ribbon before using it. The packaging will include instructions for washing the ribbon you purchased. Washing the ribbon keeps its dyes from staining the fabric to which the ribbon gets attached.
Because ribbon is thicker than thread or floss, the back of your project can become bulky. Instead of knotting the end of the ribbon, which creates more bulk, thread the needle with the ribbon. Fold a small edge over (at the other end of the ribbon). Pierce the folded piece with the needle, then pull the needle and the ribbon through the folded piece to form the knot.
The easiest way to start for beginners is to purchase a kit. The kit will contain the material, ribbon and needles needed to complete the project. Once you're used to working with ribbons, you can start to incorporate them in other projects.
When you open the kit, read all of the instructions. Prep the materials properly (washing the ribbon and following any other requirements) prior to starting the project.
Before you start on a full project, purchase some sample ribbon so that you can practice making some of the stitches. When you feel comfortable with a stitch, apply it to the project. After you have completed a couple of kit projects, you should be comfortable enough with most of the basic stitches, such as the Lazy Daisy and Ribbon Stitch, to start designing and working your own projects.
Threading a needle for ribbon is a little different than working with floss, since some ribbon can easily tear. To thread ribbon properly, first work it through the eye of the needle. Next, pull enough length through to pierce the center of the ribbon with your needle. Slide this up to the needle's eye, then pull back any extra material.
The Forbidden Stitch is a particularly fine technique found in antique Chinese embroidery. Learn the stories behind its colorful name and how to create it.
Interested in hand embroidery? Learn a bit about this craft and what you'll need to get started.