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Another Way to Make Pleated-Ribbon Trim

This technique relies on a knife pleat, spaced so the leading edges of the finished pleats are one half a ribbon width apart, and the return of the pleat is half the ribbon width.

For this technique, I use “ribbon width” as the unit of measure, which I learned from Candice Kling’s book, The Artful Ribbon (C&T Publishing, 1996). Using the width of the ribbon as the increment of measurement makes this trim easily scalable to any size ribbon.

I am also using paper, as well as the ribbon to demonstrate this technique, as that seems to be a well-received way of demonstrating this kind of thing.

You’ll mark the back of the ribbon to pleat it, as shown in the photo here. I explain how in the next step.

The paper model is marked in red for the leading edges of the pleats, and with blue for the back folds for the returns of the pleats. 

In marking, you can see that the distance between the leading edges is one and one half ribbon widths apart–this accounts for the return of the pleat, which is a half ribbon width apart. This is the distance between the red lines.

There is one ribbon width between the leading edge and the pleat’s return fold to the right, and half a ribbon width between leading edge and the back folds on the left. This produces the blue lines.

To begin this trim, pleat the length of ribbon you wish to use. You will need double the length of the ribbon, to ensure you have enough finished trim to use.

Here is the paper model. When the ribbon is pleated, the leading edges become one half ribbon width apart.

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  1. User avater
    WillaMcNeill | | #1

    Simply beautiful.

  2. User avater
    LuvThreadsMagazine | | #2

    Senor King!

    You continue to astound and amaze your public, with thread, forethought, and your unerring eye for style.

    Can't wait to see what you do next.

  3. Countess11 | | #3

    I learned this technique in a workshop given by Candace Kling about 15 years ago -- I highly recommend you take a class from her if ever possible, her book is good but her in person teaching techniques are superb. You will be glad you took any class she teaches.

  4. trinitynavar | | #4

    That's awesome!

  5. Stephanie2X | | #5

    What can you use this trim on?

  6. user-1085566 | | #6

    Very nice and clear directions too. My question is: How would you apply this trim to a garment? Where is the recommended placement?

    Thanks, Nita

  7. User avater
    kennethdking | | #7

    To Countess: I second your shout-out about Candice Kling! She is the person who singlehandedly revived these kinds of techniques, and rarely gets full credit for doing so. And she's an exceptional teacher. If anyone reading has a chance to take a class with her, excellent time well-spent!

    And, as to where to apply this trim: The photo send by the reader who asked me the how to make it showed the trim decorating the edge of an oversized peter pan collar. Trimming edges, both straight and curved, is what I'd suggest. Using it in a large scale works very well for home furnishings. Hatbands for trimming hats, at the waist on a christening gown--the uses are almost endless. Evening or day clothes. You name it!

  8. arjee63 | | #8

    Done with a sheer ribbon, this would be pretty as an embellishment along style lines such as a princess seam, or as an insertion down the length of a dressy sleeve.

  9. joans43 | | #9

    Kenneth darling!! I love it! I did it for a plain black,[Liz C.] opera,floor-length gown,which needed "new life ". placed it round under the bust, used black velvet1,1/2 in.
    ribbon.Thank-you for the "rescue "!Love!

  10. User avater
    Djonee | | #10

    love it !!!! Maybe add some beading/ crystals sparing of course, to the trim ...

  11. nani | | #11

    Thank you for making your lessons available to all of us, not just those who pay for the Insider membership(I am already a magazine subscriber, but cannot afford both).

    I get inspired every time I read your articles, books and lessons, it's just wonderful to have you as a resource that keeps me excited about sewing!

  12. User avater
    kennethdking | | #12

    Thanks for the kind words, Nani!

  13. JeanneDes | | #13

    So logical, clear and effective. Thank You!

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