I haven’t had the opportunity to sew as much as I would like. Having three little ones, lots of volunteering, andĀ getting back into the workforce makes life a little busy. I hopeĀ this post on sewing with ribbon is first of many in the DIY and/or do it for less category. Although there are plenty of things that are much easier to buy, the uniqueness and the price might make it more appealing to jump on Pinterest! At least for me.

Sewing With Ribbon

Ribbon – it’s not just for trims and accents. Colorful, textured ribbons are as versatile as fabric or embroidery yarn, and because of all their interesting textures and patterns they can add a lot of detailed interest to your projects and designs. Ribbons can be used to create quilting blocks, craft ornate embroidery or add texture and interest to clothing and textiles.

Dimensional Embroidery

Thin silk or satin ribbons are ideal for embroidery. Because of the slight stiffness and texture, the resulting look is three dimensional and lends itself especially well to floral embroidery designs. The ribbon can be twisted to add even more texture and dimension. A larger needle that will accommodate the width of the ribbon and a loosely woven fabric to stitch on will help your embroidery project go smoothly. Be sure to not pull stitches too tightly, as a looser stitch will look more like a natural flower. Adding small beads as accents is a nice touch as well, perhaps as the center of the flower or as small accents on the petals.

SEWING WITH RIBBON (1)Prepare the Fabric

When using ribbons to add accents to quilting blocks, clothing or other textile projects, it is always important to prewash the base fabric to reduce the possibility of shrinkage and puckering. Ribbons are often made of synthetic materials such as polyester and typically will not shrink. However, they can become damaged under the heat of an iron, so if ironing ribbon keep the iron’s setting low, press only on the reverse side and use a pressing cloth if necessary.

Precise Application

A clear quilting ruler can be very helpful to position the ribbons and make sure they are precisely in place. Dressmaker’s chalk or fabric markers are helpful for marking placement locations. Basting glue or fusible web works very well to keep ribbons in place while you stitch them. Be sure that the glue or fusible web you use is appropriate for stitching; some types are designed only for no-sew applications. A temporary sewing glue is often a good choice, as it will adhere the ribbon while you sew and wash away when laundered. Be sure to test any glues or adhesives to make sure they will work well with the ribbon and fabric of your choice.

Sewing Tips

A fine, lightweight sewing machine needle is the best choice for working with ribbon as long as it is also suitable for the fabric to which you are attaching the ribbon. A heavier needle or dull needle could snag the ribbon and make large stitching holes. You can use a standard machine foot and attach the ribbon with a straight stitch, zigzag stitch or use any type of decorative stitch if you wish. Because ribbon can have the tendency to stretch, stitch both sides of the ribbon in the same direction to reduce the possibility of twisting and puckering. Matching thread or contrasting thread are both good options depending on your preferred finished look. You can also sew ribbons by hand, and add beads to your stitches for extra sparkle and interest. Very delicate ribbons should be hand stitched when possible, especially if machine stitching might compete with the design or damage the delicate edges of the ribbon.

Sewing with ribbon is as unlimited as your imagination. With so many wonderful patterns, colors and ideas, you can create many beautiful, memorable projects.


This guest post is courtesy of The Ribbon Retreat, an online store offering arts and crafts material for various projects. Some of these products include jacquard ribbon, grosgrain ribbon, fold over elastic and various tools and supplies needed for crafting.