Silk Ribbon Embroidery
Taught by Nora Creeach

Hints and Tips

Front of a scissors Fob
Scissors Fob

Below you will find a number of helpful tips. I recommend that you keep a stitch notebook. In your notebook you can keep your copy of this class, a written record of each new stitch you learn as well as pieces of fabric with your practice stitches.

It is a good idea to make these practice stitches with different widths of ribbon and different fibers so you can see the similarities and the differences. This will allow you to look back at your sample stitches when designing a new project to see how those stitches will fit into your design before you add them.

This is also a beneficial technique when trying new threads and fibers. In your notebook you can also keep short snips of colors with their color number or name and where it was purchased, this is especially helpful with the hand dyed fibers. You can add the needle you used and any other pertinent information. This becomes a permanent record that you will refer back to many times.

The pieces of fabric should be overcast or hemmed and reinforced with a strip of iron-on interfacing on the front and back at the location of the rings. Then use an awl to punch through the fabric so it can be added to your notebook.

Wash and iron your ribbons before using them.

Keep a curling iron or small lamp with a clean bulb close to remove the wrinkles from your ribbon as you stitch. A Clover Iron is a handy addition to your tool chest.

Save all your bits and pieces of ribbon as you stitch. They can be used in other projects so even the smallest pieces can be used. Keep a small box or jar handy to collect these bits of ribbon. One such project is a Topiary

When you have trouble pulling the ribbon through the fabric change your needle to a larger size. You might also use an awl to make a larger hole for the needle.

Try twisting the needle in your fingers when it is stuck. Use a balloon as a needle grabber to pull the needle through the fabric.

To tame rayon or metallic thread it is best to go slow. After wrapping let the thread and needle rest a minute before you proceed. You might also try dampening or steaming the fibers.

Adding beads so they lie flat on their side. Take two single Straight Stitches through the bead or pearl forming a Cross Stitch. The second method, use a double strand of thread. Take one stitch through the bead, bring the thread back to the top. Do not go through the bead but split the thread so that one thread lies on each side of the bead and take the thread down through the fabric just beyond the bead.

To maintain the twist. The best way to remember whether to go clockwise (left to right) or counterclockwise (right to left) is to watch your thread as you are wrapping. If it is separating and going flat wrap the other way. When wrapping correctly the twist of the fiber will be maintained and even sometimes tightened slightly. This is what you want. This is another reason for allowing it to rest a moment to see if the twist is maintained.

Back of the scissors fob
Back of Scissors Fob signed and dated.

Sign and date your work.

When the back of your embroidery is exposed you can use a piece of iron-on interfacing approximately one inch larger than the embroidery. Place it over the back and iron only around the edge so you do not crush your embroidery.

When you see pictures of Silk Ribbon Embroidery by other stitchers print out these examples and use them to help learn the flow of the stitching within the design. This doesn't mean you should copy what they have done but use it to add to your knowledge.

In floral designs an uneven number of flowers is usually used. This tends to balance out placement within the design. Some designs radiate from a central point, others tend to flow up and out or down and out in arches. It can be beneficial to save pictures of floral designs that appeal to you and also save pictures from flower and garden catalogs. These will help you in your design work and let you see how the individual flower grows naturally.

You should test your ribbons and fibers for color fastness if you are stitching on something that will be washed or could possibly become wet. A quick test: wet the fiber to be tested and rub gently on a piece of white fabric, if color is shown on the white test fabric it is best not to use that fiber on a project that will need washing.

Use a piece of printed floral fabric to practice the different knot stitches by stitching over the printed flowers on the fabric.

You can stitch your design on a piece of tulle or crinolin, trim it fairly close to the design and appliqué the stitched piece onto a piece of clothing. This will allow you to remove the Silk Ribbon Embroidery on a piece that may have to be washed often.

Use a covered button to make pins, button covers and earrings. Draw a circle the size recommended by the kit you purchase. Do your Silk Ribbon Embroidery in the center keeping away from the edges. Cut out on the circle and follow the instructions on the kit. If you will be adding jewelry findings remove the metal loop from the back before you assemble the button and then glue the finding in place.

When using an embroidery hoop on velvet or other pile material wrap the inner ring of your embroidery hoop with white yarn. You want a smooth side by side wrap all the way around the hoop. This will help alleviate markings in the pile. You can then steam the hoop mark from the back to further raise the pile.

Silk Ribbon Embroidery

Nora Creeach
Bluebonnet Village Craft Network

Virtual LearningCrafty College

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