How to Make a Lovely Pleated-Ribbon Trim - Threads

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How to Make a Lovely Pleated-Ribbon Trim

When I recently came across this white ribbon trim, I wanted to figure out how they made it. My last post on ribbon trim was so well received, I thought I would share the results with you.

For the unit of measure, I'm using ribbon width. I got this idea from Candice Kling, who has written quite a bit on ribbon techniques--she uses this as her unit of measure, so everything she demonstrates can scale up or down easily.

I will also alternate between a paper model, and ribbon, in this post. I find it's a better way to illustrate how this works.

Marking the ribbon:

I use disappearing chalk on the ribbon, and mark lines perpendicular to the selvedges. These lines alternate--1/3 ribbon width, then 2/3 ribbon width, and so forth.

For example, if you used a 3" wide ribbon, then the 1/3 width would be 1", and the 2/3 width would be 2".

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Comments (32)

WinterSewstice WinterSewstice writes: Wow! This is absolutely gorgeous! I'm glad this wonderful technique is available to me, what an awesome tip. Thank you.
Posted: 1:17 pm on January 5th

sherijo sherijo writes: Yes, Kenneth, please do keep the ribbon embelishments comming. They are a delight and you do a wonderful job explaining them!
Posted: 8:36 pm on April 9th

KennethDKing KennethDKing writes: "not fear the sheer"---that's a good phrase! Sounds like a mantra for sewing....
Posted: 7:52 am on July 5th

nani nani writes: Thank you for another fun thing to try. I just bought some sheer green ribbon to try it out! I picked sheer ribbon because I have been inspired by your sheer jeans to not fear the sheer anymore. Baby steps.
Posted: 3:34 pm on July 2nd

user-1146426 user-1146426 writes: Do try this technique on satin fabric...first make tucks about 2 inches apart going one way (Verticle)...then do the same going the horizontal. Then hand tack folded edges of each square in the center...makes a lovely bow and gives plenty of manipulated fabric to work with...It's also very fast.

Posted: 7:35 pm on June 20th

KennethDKing KennethDKing writes: In regards to attaching the trim, you would indeed sew it at the center of the trim. If you want to tack down the ribbon at the edges you can, but to my eye, tis looks too restricted and tied-down.

In regards to the request for the information on the ribbon trim in the current issue, click the link in the text of this blog to get to it.
Posted: 5:39 am on May 19th

CinderellaLollipop CinderellaLollipop writes: That's a wider trim than the previous one you did. Would you still attach it at the middle where the stitching is? Thank you so much for your wonderful tutorials. Much appreciated!

Posted: 9:46 am on May 18th

CarolJane CarolJane writes: Where is the how-to on the ribbon trim pictured on p 13 of the new Threads magazine?

Posted: 10:53 am on May 17th

KennethDKing KennethDKing writes: Thanks for the kind words!

In answer to how much ribbon this requires, I generally assume a 3:1 ratio. Sadly I didn't keep track of how much the technique ate up, but 3:1 is a good rule of thumb....
Posted: 11:58 am on May 16th

AnnSewItGoes AnnSewItGoes writes: Wow! This will come in very handy for heirloom sewing.
Posted: 9:06 am on May 16th

purpurkatze purpurkatze writes: a very clear tutorial, i think it is very similar to what we call a "froschmaulborte" in germany-as an embellishment on a dirndl.
Thanks for showing.
Posted: 3:27 am on May 16th

RStaff49 RStaff49 writes: Thank you for this wonderful explanation! There are so many ways to use this ribbon technique that it will be hard to choose.
Posted: 2:48 am on May 16th

kiti63 kiti63 writes: So, how much ribbon do you need per finished length, 3 to 1?
Posted: 10:50 pm on May 15th

gemini53 gemini53 writes:

reminds me of canadian smocking
Posted: 10:45 pm on May 15th

Mamato8 Mamato8 writes: Isn't reverse engineering so much fun! That looks like fun! Much simpler than the effect.

Thank you for sharing!
Posted: 10:42 pm on May 15th

moscho moscho writes: Your instructions/illustrations are always so clear. Thanks for a beautiful trim technique.
Posted: 8:11 pm on May 15th

user-1110475 user-1110475 writes: Great embellishment! I can imagine using this trim on a variety of garments. It actually is a lot simpler than I thought when I first looked at the picture, thanks to the clear instructions provided. Thanks Kenneth.
Posted: 6:52 pm on May 15th

Onyx147 Onyx147 writes: Absolutely stunning and seems easy to achieve. Thank you Mr. King,
once again you have shown people how to make something beautiful.
Posted: 4:53 pm on May 15th

Yumjo Yumjo writes: Kenneth,
I've used so many of the trim ideas you've shared with us. This idea will also be used in the near future on a project I've been contemplating. These trim ideas are innovative, creative and beautiful. Thank you so much and I'll be watching for more.
Ymana Johnson
Posted: 4:26 pm on May 15th

Mahogany_Stylist Mahogany_Stylist writes: Excellent! Thank you.

Posted: 4:00 pm on May 15th

SewVegan SewVegan writes: That's beautiful! And the instructions are so clear. Thank you!
Posted: 3:27 pm on May 15th

JENND JENND writes: Thank Kenneth, I will use this ribbon trim technique on a jacket, love this!!!!
Posted: 3:13 pm on May 15th

Lizz13 Lizz13 writes: Awesome! Another great embellishment for a special garment! Thank you for your ribbon trim ideas.
Posted: 2:46 pm on May 15th

mjz mjz writes: Paper plus ribbon makes a superb demonstration. Thank you!
Posted: 2:31 pm on May 15th

TammyFrei TammyFrei writes: Absolutely beautiful! I can't wait to try this. Thank you.
Posted: 2:27 pm on May 15th

LaLaLaurenAL LaLaLaurenAL writes: beautiful! i must make! thank you!

Posted: 2:18 pm on May 15th

nanacosta nanacosta writes: Thank you Mr. King. As usuall, your explanations are just wonderfull!!! You really have a heart of a "grand maestro"
Posted: 9:31 am on May 15th

jansquires jansquires writes: I am loving the series on ribbon trims. The illustrations were awesome!

Thank you for all you share with the sewing world.

Posted: 9:39 pm on May 14th

jansquires jansquires writes: I am loving the series on ribbon trims. The illustrations were awesome!

Thank you for all you share with the sewing world.

Posted: 9:38 pm on May 14th

sewbtfl sewbtfl writes: I'm going to make this beautiful ribbon for a wedding gift pillow. Thank you.
Posted: 3:53 pm on May 14th

SusanJensen SusanJensen writes: Thank you so much Kenneth! This is a beautiful trim.
Posted: 3:50 pm on May 14th

user-1117840 user-1117840 writes: I love this ,thank you so much
Posted: 8:02 am on May 14th

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