Silk Ribbon Embroidery – Part 1 of 2

Silk Ribbon Embroidery – Part 1 of 2

Hello there. In this video I’m going to show
you how to do several silk ribbon embroidery techniques and also a couple thread embroidery
techniques. This video is intended to go along with a tutorial on how to make this really
sweet pillow. So if you’re interested you can find it at Go ahead
and just type ‘Victorian pillow,’ ‘vintage pillow,’ or ‘silk ribbon embroidery’ into
the search and you’ll find all the detailed directions on how to put this pillow together,
but for now I’m just going to show you how to make some of the stitches that are on here.
They’re easier shown in a video than to explain in words. The first thing we’re going to do is make
these ruched flowers out of ribbon and they’re made from 1 1/4″ ribbon. I’ve cut a 24″ length
of ribbon. You can do this technique with any size. That’s what I use to make those
large ribbon flowers out of the ribbon. I’ve gone ahead and seamed my ribbon here, but
before you do that, you want to mark it every two inches along the length. I just used a
white marking pencil and marked it. I’ve got a loop right now so I can make a flower. Every
two inches, then mark the other long side also every two inches, but offset one inch
from your first marks. This way you get a zig zag pattern with all your marks and if
you cut a 24″ length, it actually works out that your final zig and zag work out to right
here at the end. The next thing you need is just a needle and
a length of thread. Make it at least 24″ long. To anchor the thread at the end, start with
a pin and this is a fun trick I like to use. Find your, oh so static-y, find your thread
end and simply wrap a figure 8 around that pin a few times. That will make it stay put
while we stitch and what we’re going to do with this thread, hopefully you’ve got plenty
of contrast here with the white and the red. We’re going to do a zig zag running stitch
from one mark to the next. You can see my marks aren’t real small, they aren’t that
big. They’re maybe 1/4″. Now when you go over the end of the ribbon,
when you come to the edge of the ribbon, go over so this stitch is on top so I’m going
to start my next stitch from underneath. It just helps gather it more fully and you can
see I’m not being real fussy here. You don’t have to gather it all up at once, just keep
going. That’s the nice thing about anchoring your thread there. You still have that end
to pull when you’re done pulling out the pin, but in the meantime you can’t accidentally
pull it out. Okay I’m back. I’m just ready to do the last
line of running stitches, the last zig or zag and one thing to keep in mind is you want
your threads to end up at the same place. So here’s my beginning thread, my pin went
AWOL, but that’s okay. I was just careful not to pull on it. If you do the measurements
right, like I said this is a 24″ ribbon divided by twos. I used two inches as my increments
and it worked out. I’m not sure about the math there, but if it doesn’t work out just
kind of split the difference at the end. Make one a little smaller and one a little bigger
so that your thread ends at the same spot. So you can see I’ve gone all the way around.
It’s fairly loose. It’s not very small running stitches and now here’s the fun part. Hold
on to both of your ends and start pulling. Can you see that? It just pulls up. Isn’t
that cool? I just love it, it’s like magic. We’ll scootch those gathers along. In fact, look
at that. Isn’t that pretty with the scallops. You could actually stop there. You could use
a narrower ribbon, like a satin ribbon and have this lovely little piece if you pull
it tight you get petals like on a flower and if you do it loose you get the alternating
scallops. You could do this with something narrower and make really pretty trim, but
we’re going to gather this up. I’m going to put my finger in the middle and you can see
it’s just two rows of petals. Then we’re actually going to just tie this
off in a knot. It’s not really crucial. I just don’t want it pulling out. That would
be crucial. Alright, I have to set this down. I know you probably can’t see it this far
away. There. Snip off that thread. Of course you’ll be using matching thread. This little
bit showing wouldn’t show and there is your flower. You say how does that make a flower?
Well, you’ve got petals on either side and if you just flatten it out, squish all of
the petals from one side to the middle and you can fiddle with it, and there’s your flower
and what we’re going to do is stitch down the center with knots. So I’m going to show
you that next. Actually the first thing I’m going to show
you, let me set this aside for just a moment, is how to make the best use of your silk ribbon
when you’re embroidering with it. So once you’ve threaded your ribbon onto your needle
and you want to choose a needle that’s fairly sharp and has a large eye. Oops, don’t fall
out. As you can see, it’s got a pretty large eye and you can trim your ribbon to a point
to make it easier to thread the needle. Now take your end, the short end and poke your
needle right through it about 1/4″ from the end. It seems like a strange thing to do,
huh? Well it gets stranger. Slide that all the way down to the eye and right over the
eye back onto itself. Slide that down. Now hold your long end of your ribbon in one hand
and pull on the needle with the other. Did you see that? That knot is now locked
on that needle and as I mentioned on the blog, the beauty of this is that you use every single
bit of your silk ribbon and you’re not going to fall off the needle. When you’re doing
silk ribbon embroidery, a simple overhand knot is all you need in the end. Nothing fancy. I said I was going to show you how to make
the knots I used on my pillow, but I’m actually going to show you first with some embroidery
floss because it’s easier to see and then I’ll show you also with the ribbon. Now I
like to make what’s called a colonial knot. I like it better than a French knot because
it doesn’t flop over and it’s always perfectly round. So here’s how you do it. You bring
your thread or ribbon up through your fabric and hold onto it with your left hand. I’m
sorry, for you lefties, it would be your right hand, you just have to reverse the directions.
Take your needle, sweep it over the thread, put the tip under the thread so the thread
is going from where you came out of the fabric, it’s going up over the right side of the needle
and then under it off to the left where I’m holding it in my left hand. Next take your
left hand and bring the thread over the needle and under it. This is why I wanted to show
you this with embroidery floss because now you can see we’ve made a figure 8 and that’s
it. It takes a little practice. I practiced it a bit before it felt natural. Now you just
hold this. You see I just kind of pulled that not super tight, but I pulled it so that it
gathered around the needle and then you pull through and there you have a perfectly round,
neat knot that isn’t going to flop over on you. I could never get French knots to behave
for me so I was ecstatic when somebody taught me this and I’ll show you one more time. Hold the thread off to the left with your
left hand, sweep the needle over and the tip under and then bring the thread over and under
and down pretty close to where you came in, pull it snug. Not tight, just there on the
needle and pull it through. Isn’t that great? We’ll be using these at one point in the pillow.
Let me show you how these look with silk ribbon and tell you the difference. It’s harder to
see the figure 8 so I just wanted you to be able to see that, but it’s done the same way.
Hold it off to the left. Sweep under then over, come down right next to it. The important
thing when doing silk ribbon embroidery are to keep your tension nice and light, just
taut. See here’s my pretty little knot. Isn’t that lovely? It’s just clusters of these that
are on the middle of the ruched flowers. Let me show you that again. I’ll show you what you don’t want to do with
silk ribbon embroidery. So here’s the knot again. I’m going to pull that really tight
and then when I go down, oops. Sorry. I go down and that’s not very nice. There’s like
nothing to it. The trick with the silk ribbon and the reason it looks so wonderful and luxurious
is the ribbon. Leaving it nice and loose and light allows it to just have these beautiful
little folds. In fact that one, I just left right there. I could pull it a little more.
It’s getting worse and worse. So you want to keep your knots just light and nice and
actually that really is the secret for any stitch with silk ribbon. I’ll give you a perfect example. This is a
stitch I didn’t use on my pillow. I was going to, but I didn’t. It can’t be simpler, but
it’s so pretty. It’s called a ribbon stitch and you come up and then you come down into
the ribbon atthe length you want your stitch to be. From where you come up where your needle
goes down is how long you want your stitch to be and then you just pull and when you
get to this point, you just kind of get gentle and look. You get that pretty little shape.
You get that puff and this is great for leaves, especially if you have wide ribbon or flower
petals. How simple. Let’s just, see I’m careful when I pull on the next one not to yank on
this because I don’t want to mess that up. Poke it down through. Now look what happens
when I go like that. Well that’s ugly. We don’t want that. We want this so keep your
tension nice and loose and light. Next I will show you another stitch.


  • EmbroideredFlower

    April 23, 2012

    Thank you so much! I need to make a magnolia and I think this looks like a perfect way to do it!!!

  • lazer58

    June 12, 2012

    Thank you, thank you, I can not begin to tell you how you demystified this beautiful needle art.
    I just see so many applications for this work.

  • jrbp7

    June 23, 2012

    Beautiful! Really lovely and well explained! Thank you so much! =D

  • Keepsake Crafts by Sandy Huntress

    June 23, 2012

    Hi there,

    Make sure you are using a needle with a sharp point, not a tapestry needle with a blunt tip. If you do that, you should be able to make these kinds of stitches on any medium weight woven fabric.

  • Keepsake Crafts by Sandy Huntress

    June 23, 2012

    Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for stopping by!

  • Keepsake Crafts by Sandy Huntress

    June 23, 2012

    I'm so happy to have been of help. 🙂

  • Keepsake Crafts by Sandy Huntress

    June 23, 2012

    Ooooo, those would make nice magnolias. I'd love to see what you do with it.

  • yumi yuno

    September 1, 2012

    thank you so much…. T.T *tears flowing….
    i've been wanting to learn ribbon embroidery since i was a kid, and now i can… thanks to your detailed explanation… have a good day.. 😀

  • Keepsake Crafts by Sandy Huntress

    September 1, 2012

    I'm SO glad you found it useful! Happy sewing and creating. 🙂

  • pooja rani

    June 1, 2013

    Thank you so much!

  • Keepsake Crafts by Sandy Huntress

    June 1, 2013

    You are welcome! Now, go make something beautiful. 🙂

  • Susan Yammouni

    November 8, 2013

    That was great. Thank you

  • Gursahib Sohi

    December 4, 2013

    your work is so good

  • sajad abdolahi

    June 25, 2014


  • twinkletoes173

    November 18, 2014

    This is very helpful when you don't have anyone to teach you, Thank you! 

  • Wendy who loves crafts

    January 20, 2015

    Hello Sandy and All… I am trying to let all of us embroiderers know that I discovered a company in England that sells … 182  .. different colours of silk button hole twist!  AND  we do not have to pay overseas mailing.. because Bernstein and Banley's have a New York representative!  Mr. Paul Camhi will take our orders, and the company absorbs the overseas fees since they  send a shipment to Mr. Camhi's Office about every two weeks.  I ordered just three spools (Light Jade [for my stems and vines],  Turkish Red and oriental Poppy.. [I want to try to embroider the shape of a heart as the foundation figure). The price of each 10 meter spool is  2L.10 ( $ 3.18 today).   Mr. Camhi will mail it to us by regular post office or UPS if we prefer.  Then that mailing fee is the one he adds to our bill.  I paid by credit card .  It will be charged when my thread is sent. Here is the website for the company…
    and Mr. Camhi's e-mail is    : Paul Camhi [email protected]>
    I could not wait to share !

  • Ohm Surpsug Art

    February 6, 2015

    thank 4 up i like

  • sheik azhar

    February 16, 2015


  • Rochel Gonsalves

    June 28, 2015

    Tnk u sandy for the beautiful explanation I wanted to learn this embroidery however did not how to…. u have explained it very well… will surely try it out this week… tnk u once again for the gr8 video.

  • Mon3im 2014

    August 15, 2015

    merciiii 1ooooo fois et bon courage.

  • Edna De Assis

    May 5, 2016

    Hello Sandy, have loved to know your work is beautiful.

  • Lucy Mello

    October 6, 2018

    Ai meu Deus bem que no BRASIL devia ter ESSE lindo trabalho 👌👌👏🍀💛🍀💛🍀


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