A Beginners’ Guide to Silk Ribbon Embroidery
There are many different embroidery stitches, but I’ve found that just five basic stitches, used alone or in various combinations, can create a large array of floral motifs and stitch patterns. The ribbon stitch is for ribbon only, but the lazy daisy, straight stitch, stem stitch, and French knots can be made with ribbon or thread. Try them, and you’ll see that the ribbon produces a different effect with each stitch. I’ve included some silk ribbon embroidery tips to help with locking and ending off stitches as well as ways to keep the ribbon flat while stitching. You’ll also want to remember not to pull your stitches too tightly, or your fabric will pucker and the ribbon will twist and end up looking like embroidery floss.
Five basic stitches
With just a handful of stitches, you can be on your way to beautiful silk ribbon embroidery. The illustrations show the stitches formed with ribbon, but many of them can also be worked with perle cotton and embroidery floss for various textured effects. See also Basics of Silk Ribbon Embroidery.
The most basic of stitches can be used for numerous effects, some of which are shown below.
1. Bring up the needle and pull the ribbon through.
2. Insert down in a different location, pull through. This creates a line.
This stitch makes great leaves or petals, and works only with silk ribbon.
1. Bring up ribbon through fabric, pull through.
2. Lay ribbon flat on fabric and insert needle back through and piercing ribbon and pull through slowly. Ribbon will curl into itself, so don’t pull tightly, or effect will be lost. To vary curl, pierce B to right or left of center of ribbon width, see below.
Tip: If ribbon appears straight and narrow, make another stitch on top of first one.
Use for petals or leaves with ribbon, floss, or perle cotton.
1. Bring up the ribbon and pull through.
2. Make loop in direction of other end of stitch and insert, a thread or two to side of initial stitch. Pull out needle again, in opposite direction from the needle points until loose loop is formed, then stitch back down on the other side of the loop, so as to secure the loop in place. Note: To prevent ribbon from twisting when it’s drawn through fabric after pulling out the third stitch, arrange it around needle so it’s flat. Gently hold in place with thumb while sliding needle and ribbon through.
1. Bring up needle, pull through. Holding ribbon or thread, lay needle on top.
2. Wrap ribbon or thread around needle two to three times. Insert needle at back into fabric, a thread or two from initial point. Gently slide wrapped ribbon/thread down needle to rest against fabric, and pull through.
Use this stitch for flower stems and outlining.
1. Bring up thread, pull through.
2. Insert needle again on stem line. Holding thread below line, pull out again directly in line with last stitch (not above or below) and 1⁄8 in. from where inserted, pull through. Continue to end of line, making sure thread is always held below line of stitching.
For more valuable information, visit:
- Basics of Silk Ribbon Embroidery
- Five Exciting Books About Embroidery
- Learn to Make Ribbon Flowers
- Learn to Make Ribbon Trim
Karen Kieppe embroiders in East Lansing, Mich., where she owns the Granny May Company.
The basic straight stitch can be used for numerous effects.
Ribbon stitch makes great leaves or petals.
Vests come to life with asymmetrical floral designs embroidered with silk ribbon.
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