Threads Logo Threads Logo Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram Favorite Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon
Insider

Sign in or become an insider to access this story

Sign In

How to Make Ribbon Trim

Feb 06, 2012
Article Image
Recently I purchased a stole at a vintage shop. I had to have it, just to get an example of this extraordinary trim, which I then had to figure out how to make. This post presents the results. Don’t miss other Threads techniques like this by purchasing a print subscription which comes with FREE access to our tablet editions.  Here’s a detail, that shows how this sweet little trim can be used to good effect. When explaining this trim, as well as other kinds of ribbon work, I will refer to the unit of measure as “ribbon width”. I learned about this method of measurement from Candice Kling’s excellent book The Artful Ribbon. Using the width of the ribbon as the increment of measure, makes any work easily scalable, either larger or smaller. The trim on the inside of this stole was 3/8″ finished width at its widest point. Since you will lose 25% of the ribbon length when making this trim, make sure to cut your ribbon length 125% of the finished length you need. Mark dots along the ribbon selvages, one ribbon width apart, as shown. Do this along the entire length of the ribbon. Next, make a third…

You must be an insider to access this article.

Start your FREE trial today and get instant access to this article plus access to all Threads Insider content.

Start Your Free Trial

Sign up for the Threads Eletter

Get the latest from Threads delivered straight to your inbox.

×
Discuss

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, patterns and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Subscribe to Threads today

Save up to 37% and get a free gift

Subscribe

Discuss

  1. User avater fair November 15th

    I'm curious as to what the stole looked like, what was the fabric and where was the trim applied.

  2. Ali_J December 12th

    I just had a go at this and realized its basically the same as doing one column of canadian smoking. But all the same its a lovely trim and I alsways enjoy something new.

  3. User avater tasha111 December 6th

    Благодарю за подробный мастер класс!!!Так просто и симпатичною,лент полно..буду думать куда применить такое украшение.

  4. sewingmonk July 5th

  5. sewingmonk July 5th

    This technique created such a pretty trim that I stitched up 6m + 25% (1.5M)= 7.5 meters to trim a contemporary version of a quilted jacket.
    ...have also just completed a sample where the ribbon treatment is tacked into place between strips of mink trim and it looks very 'rich'. I have no idea yet where I will apply it, but I LUV it - thank you Mr. King

  6. dilly_dally April 28th

    I am curious if anyone has ever seen this trim in a painting portrait. I am wondering how far back it goes...I do mostly 16th century stuff....

    It is so pretty!

    Dilly Dally

  7. User avater Cleo_Elaine February 20th

    I hope you know I did not proof read my note. I wanted it to say attach a bead. Cleo

  8. User avater Cleo_Elaine February 20th

    Thanks Kenneth, This ribbon trim is beautiful. Thanks for sharing with your expertise how to make it. I thought I might put a bed in each little pocket as you attach the ribbon. Just a thought. Cleo

  9. Luvtosmock February 18th

    Hello Mr. King.

    I have ordered your book and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

    Thank you so very much for the ribbon trim technique. Really! It's been a huge help to me. I work a lot of three-dimensional ribbon embroidery - lots of flowers. I've been searching for a technique that makes very realistic Foxglove and this is it!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so very happy with how it turned out. Upon completion of my blooming stalks, I pained some "freckles" and voilà - *perfect* Digitalis purpurea!!!

    I am so very grateful to you for sharing this beautiful project - more than you'll ever know.

    Kindest regards and much love, Pam.

  10. User avater KimsIdleHands February 17th

    My biggest wish is that I could apprentice beside him.

  11. lapark February 15th

    how cool! i can see this as an embellishment on so many things...wedding/prom dresses, art quilts, or even edging on a quilt, bags or purses...i am inspired!

  12. User avater KennethDKing February 11th

    In regards to my books, my current book, of which I'm most proud, is called "Cool Couture", and can be got on Amazon.com. (Also know that in the UK, they re-packaged this book under another title, ISBN number, and cover--why, I don't know. Don't be fooled into buying both. Buy Cool Couture.)

    I also did a book called "Designer Bead Embroidery" in 2006 (translated into French in 2007), and lastly, my first book was called "Designer Techniques" (I HATED that title and cover!) in 1996. That one is out of print, and Cool Couture is the book I wanted that one to be.

    Thanks for asking!

  13. Eloralil February 11th

    This is absolutely beautiful. I love everything Kenneth does. I haven't seen any books by him though. Does anyone know of books he's written.

  14. User avater imlady February 9th

    I am not surprised that Kenneth King added another simple and elegant tool to our bag of tricks. I am grateful for your itchy brain Kenneth, which MUST learn something new when you see it.

  15. stavolta01 February 9th

    asolutely love the ribbon worl reminds me of pillows mun had when i was very young. Would like to know where to purchase "The Artful Ribbon" book. I am in
    australia. Thanks

  16. User avater Bellbird February 9th

    This is just gorgeous! I am going to get out my box of saved ribbons and have a play. I can see this trim decorating the next clutch or handbag that I make. Thank you so much for your wonderfully clear instructions.

  17. User avater KennethDKing February 8th

    For the question about only using silk ribbon for this trim--no! I use whatever will make up well, so, whether you like natural fibers or man-made, this will make up nicely!

    And, I join my voice in another shout-out about Candice Kling's book "The Artful Ribbon", it is one of those that should be in everyone's library. She is the (for lack of a better word) Elder Stateswoman of this kind of work. She was researching these techniques and reviving them way before most of us knew they existed. That these techniques continue into the future is mainly because of her efforts.

    Word has it from good sources, that she's working on another book. I'll keep you posted as to its progress...

  18. MizWoody February 8th

    Do you have to use silk ribbon for this to work? Thanks.

  19. User avater Yumjo February 8th

    OOPS, Got mixed up about what to do first...post or write! Anyway, this trim is already planned for the next Christening dress, scarf or embellishment I will be doing soon to present to my Fiber Arts Guild next week. Thanks so much for the fun, interesting and pretty trim.

  20. User avater Yumjo February 8th

  21. lifelongsewer February 8th

    For anyone who wants to see more fabulous ribbon-work, as sculpture and as applied to surface, look for Candace Kling, who is a master ribbon-worker and has written at least one book on ribbon-work, which goes back several centuries, especially in historic European costume.

  22. Mexiricansister February 8th

    I sure wish I could "Pin it". Tried and tried, and no luck. Sigh.......

  23. User avater Grandmagwen February 8th

    Thank you so much for this trim. I was just wishing for a creative trim to use on the neck line of a dressy but plain T-shirt. You answered now to attach but how is it laundered?
    I'm sure by hand but does it get out of shape or ever look wrinkleld? I can't wait to start on mine!

  24. User avater Uglybeat February 8th

    ACK! This is fantastic!!! I would love to make a whole dress based upon this idea. I'll need to become independently wealthy and quit my job first, however. Or start now, and wear it when I'm 70.
    Thank you for the fantastic tutorial!

  25. User avater SewVegan February 8th

    I have this trim in a custom-made coat that my mother-in-law had made for her in the 1960s! It borders an inside pocket in the lining, and I've always loved it. Thank you!

  26. CreativeMind February 8th

    Superb..I love it :)

  27. hifromdi February 7th

    I love this technique... haven't tried it, yet, but my head sure is spinning.....

  28. User avater LuvThreadsMagazine February 7th

    Senor King continues to demystify the universe, when he isn't expanding it.

  29. User avater Nannysc February 7th

    I am a huge fan of Kenneth King and loved this before I realized it was his...I should have known. Thank you again for sharing another of your spectacular creations!

  30. Belair108 February 7th

    I LOVE this. I'm don't usually have the patience for elaborate trims, but I am going to make a special trip for ribbon.

  31. User avater nani February 7th

    Every time we get a lesson or article from Kenneth King, I feel so lucky! Kenneth, I love how you share so much of your knowledge by teaching SO many people in the many ways that you do. For being so famous, you are incredibly down to earth and generous. Many thanks!

  32. fergus4 February 7th

    Thanks Kenneth - Another wonderful How-To from you! I love it and will be using it on a number of things for myself and for my DGD.

  33. User avater shocreations February 7th

    Thank you Mr. King. This is neat. I'm anxious to try it out.

  34. User avater KennethDKing February 7th

    Hello!

    I'm glad that you all like this trim! It was lovely on the inside of that stole, and this is a trim that can go many places.

    The question that keeps coming up--how to attach? I just slip-stitch it to the ground, tunneling the thread under the fabric between units and catching the trim at the stitching points.

    And yes, if you use a decorative embroidery thread while working this, the back of the work will also look nice.

    Another variation, is to make two or more lengths of this, and sew them together parallel at the stitching points--it makes a fuller trim, one that, if you use three lengths stitched together, would make a nice finish on an edge of, say a scarf, or, even a quilt.

    Enjoy, folks!

  35. User avater Djonee February 7th

    oops i mean MR.King sorry typing without proof reading

  36. User avater Djonee February 7th

    Thank My King for this beautiful looking trim I going try this trim and expand on this by incorporating some bling to it...

  37. User avater at_clearing February 7th

    Thanks ever so much for your generosity in sharing so much . . . and your brilliance in capably deciphering and presenting the "how to"s of so many things. Awesome!
    In love light and healing~)

  38. FionaWest February 7th

    I love it! Thank you so much, I can't wait to try this.

  39. User avater kaydeej February 7th

    I am making my first crazy quilt and this will make a stunning addition, it's so great looking and looks fairly easy. The directions are great and good pictures. I love Threads.

  40. User avater marijim February 7th

    Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to seeing all of the projects via newsletter and my subscription to Threads magazine. I have been a subscriber since the first issue.

  41. LoraZ February 7th

    This is awesome. I am making doll dresses for my Granddaughters American Girl Doll and I can't wait to make this with a tiny ribbon to put on an old fashion dress. Oh the possibilities!!
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  42. User avater Moonbeams February 7th

    With a little work, it almost looks good even on the reverse. I'm going to try this. It is nice to be able to make something that looks so ocmplicated!

  43. Shadegardener February 7th

    Can't wait to try this. The instructions are very clear.

  44. Hartline February 7th

    Hi, My question is: how do you attach this ribbon trim. I am thinking of using wedding ribbon as a trim to a baby blanket.

  45. User avater FelicityH February 7th

    This one has inspired so many people. I can't wait to try it on one of the Project 1912 projects.

  46. pchbch February 7th

    Kenneth: I always loved the look of the trim. Thanks so much for the directions to make it. Best Regards Dianne Beach

  47. User avater arjee63 February 7th

    This reminds me of ruching; I have a pillow that was my grandmother's, and though it was an allover ruching, the technique is very similar.

    What a wonderful idea! Thanks so much for this article. I can see many applications for it.

    By the way, the "wrong" side has lovely folds as well. If a decorative thread were used, that side would also make for an interesting trim option.

  48. User avater kurlykue February 7th

    This was such a great embellishment. Thank you for sharing.

  49. mariastephens00 February 7th

    wow this makes me think of the beautiful night gowns and robes my grandmother used to wear. They looked sort of like a négligé soft and billowy but not see through and the gowns were beautiful. In fact she would wear a lace "mañanita" or morning jacket for modesty sake when the Dr would come to see her either in the hospital or at home when such was the norm. mañanitas are waist length, the one i liked the most was dusty rose and pale gray lace over the top that draped very soft.
    This article has brought back a flood of such pleasant memories.

  50. copywriterMT February 7th

    I wonder how the trim is attached to the garment? Hand-tacked along the underneath where the joining/forming stitches are located? One more pic would complete the instructions for me! Thanks, all, I appreciate the comments so much. Lantern and Shadows, YOU are the math wizard as you seem to inherently understand how to calculate markup.

  51. nobodysgrandma February 7th

    This appears to be counterchange smocking done only on the vertical. Don't worry about the math. You will probably just keep smocking until you have the length needed.

  52. cynsew February 7th

    I absolutely love this ribbon embellishment. Kenneth King you are my favorite designer and you have been ever since I saw you many many years ago on a Sandra Betzina sewing show. I also would like to thank you for sharing all of the fabulous information that you find and your many tips and techniques.

    Unfortunately, some of us live where this kind of valuable information is not available and again I can't thank you enough for what I have learned from you!!!! Cindy

  53. agatha44 February 7th

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful embellishment. This would be beautiful to enhance sleeves and neckline on a simple dress.

  54. User avater lvnvmarth February 7th

    Thank you so much!!! I am avid embellisher. I have always dreamed of figuring out this type of trim. You have made my dream come true. Thank you, thank you so much!

  55. Mexiricansister February 7th

    Lantern and Shadows, thanks for the math as that is NOT my forte.

    Barbara from Germany thank you for the wonderful lesson and links.

    I can't wait to do this trim. I think I will do a baptismal baby bib first with it. Short and sweet project.

    For some reason (and several tries) this is not pinning to my pinterest board :-(

  56. kendell1964 February 7th

    Thank you for sharing this project. It looks awesome and I trust I will find time to try it. Kindest regards

  57. Carly_Sue February 7th

    This trim is just exquisite. I love you, Threads, for all of the wonderful information you provide on the net. It is great that you have the top notch designers like Kenneth King, on this site. I appreciate it so very much. The perfect directions make it so easy to follow and get beautiful results. Keep up the good work.

  58. User avater JeanSp February 7th

    Assuming that you do lose 25% of the ribbon's length, you would need to add 33% to the desired width. Chances are that's not a problem, because I expect Mr. King has done it this way with his measurements and it worked out fine.

  59. nanacosta February 7th

    Lovely little detail Mr. King!!! thank you so much!! I could not wait and made it in a 2/8 of and inche ribbon and came out beautifully!!! Thank you, thank you again!!!

  60. User avater babsi1111 February 7th

    Hi Kenneth,
    thanks for always posting such interesting tips.
    I wanted to share with you all, that this type of trim is a traditional embellishment of Bavarian and Austrian dirndl tops and jackets. It is mostly sewn around the neckline and we call it "Herzruesche" which means as much as "heart trim".
    There are more trims similar to this one used in dirndls, e.g. "Froschgoscherln" which means "little frog mouths" and many others. Often there are several rows of different trims combined around the neckline to yield the impression of one broad trim.

    You can see some examples here (click on the images to enlarge them)
    http://www.lungauervolkskultur.com/de/miedergewand-tracht-lungauer-volkskultur.html

    and here:
    http://shop.sportalm.at/productimage/1704x2386/P9008128285928_4.jpg

    It's very interesting to see our traditional embellishments being used in couture.

    Greetings from Germany
    Barbara

  61. emwill February 7th

    Simply beautiful, beautifully simple! I'm envisioning this trim adorning a satin, vintage-styled evening bag ... can't wait to try it. Thank you for sharing and for your very clear instructions!

  62. User avater KathfromOz February 7th

    Thank you for your effort, expertise, and generosity that has led to your professional posting of this trim. I value it all.
    I'd like to see it trimming a christening set. Perhaps wider ribbon on the edge of the bonnet and narrower on the dress but would need to give it more thought.
    Flower girl dresses too would be given an extra special touch with this trim, including their head bands.
    Christmas wreaths and tree decorations would benefit too, using appropriate colours. Can't you see it edging a star etc in the chosen colour scheme, silver on blue, cream on gold, red on green and so forth.
    Thanks too, for the inspiration this post has given rise too.

  63. User avater maddie964 February 6th

    or onto the hem of a skirt!

    Sincerely Always,
    Maddie
    www.madalynne.com

  64. User avater maddie964 February 6th

    This is awesome! Absolutely charming! It would look great top applied onto the side seams of a pair of tailored pants!

  65. User avater Sewista February 6th

    I am so impressed with our math wizard here. I don't even understand what they are saying, just sounds good so I'll believe it, LOL!

    I can't wait to try this lovely trim. Just put it on my pinboard. Thanks again for your expertise, Mssr. King.

  66. User avater patsijean February 6th

    I am not sure how I will use this trim technique right now, but I will used it. The ribbon is just too cool.

  67. User avater abcameo February 6th

    Thank you so much for posting the step-by-step process with detailed photos. I have a ribbon trim book with this design included, and this particular pattern was one I wanted to try. They call it "Shell Smocking." The instructions are written but the only stitch diagram shown is confusing to me. I've tried to figure it out on a few different occasions but never succeeded and remember feeling completely frustrated.

    Your detailed diagrams make this design process crystal clear. So very much appreciated.

  68. User avater Mahogany_Stylist February 6th

    Wow! Thanks for posting this. It's a great way to embellish a garment.

  69. LanternandShadows February 6th

    I love all the work you do Kenneth and I can't wait to try this. Sorry to be a math nerd here but I do have a question. If your work shrinks 25% wouldn't you need to cut your starting ribbon 133% of finished length. For instance, if you desire a 12" finished trim my calculation suggest that you would need to cut the ribbon 16" long. Once sewn up the 16" (12 times 133%) ribbon loses 25% and shrinks to 12" while a 15" ribbon (12 times 125%) would come up short at 11.25" Keep up the great posts.

Log in or become a member to post a comment.

More From Threads

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All

Highlights

  • Sign up for the Threads Eletter

    Get the latest from Threads delivered straight to your inbox.

  • SewStylish

    SewStylish

    Take a look inside the pages of SewStylish Spring 2017.

  • CraftStylish

    CraftStylish

    Expert craft tutorials, news, and tips for sewing, knitting, crochet, quilting, paper crafts, embroidery, jewelry making, and more!