Silk Ribbon Embroidery Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Silk ribbon, hand dyed lace, decorative threads, woven trims

    What is Silk Ribbon Embroidery?
    A decorative needleart embellishment for use on all kinds of fabrics, clothing, berets, pins, hat bands, gloves, pictures, quilts, wallhangings, pillows - the list is endless.

    Why should I learn Silk Ribbon Embroidery?
    It is a simple and very forgiving needlework style, but produces great results. It requires minimum supplies, can be taken anywhere and is adaptable to a wide variety of projects. No experience is needed to start and is a great skill for children. The project completion rate is also very high.

    What supplies do I need to start?
    A 2" to 7" plastic spring hoop, tapestry or chenille needles, embroidery scissors, marking tools (water soluble and disappearing pens, white pencil for dark fabrics), pincushion, cotton floss or silk thread, needle grabbers (to pull needle through), 100% silk ribbon in a variety of widths, fabric project, books or patterns, and beads, buttons and laces for embellishing.

    How much does it cost?
    2mm and 4mm ribbon is about 35 cents and up per yard. 7mm ribbon is 80 cents and up. Some pre-packaged ribbon is available, or it must be cut from spools.

    How many colors needed to start?
    Three yards each of six to eight colors. 4mm is the most common size. Since green is a very useful color in this kind of needlework, have several shades available.

    What needles should be used?
    Most people use tapestry (blunt end for weaving stitches) or chenille (sharp for getting through denser fabrics).

    What fabric can be used?
    Any fabric will work, as long as you can get a needle through it. If the fabric is dense, an awl can be used to make a starter hole. Size 13 chenille needles can also be used.

    Can I use knit fabrics?
    Knits are very stretchy, but can be used. It can be stablized by using fusible or sew-in interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric.

    Can I use a synthetic ribbon instead of 100% silk ribbon?
    100% silk ribbon is easier to use (it cooperates with you!) than synthetics, but we use rayon ribbon and other synthetics which add variety in texture and appearance to embroidered designs.

    How do I launder a finished project?
    Gently hand wash finished projects in cold water with a mild soap. Hang or dry flat. To iron, put a terry cloth towel on your ironing board. Turn project face down and iron around the flowers. If you have to iron the embroidered area, don't press too hard. If the flowers were flattened, lighty mist with water, and they'll regain shape as they dry naturally.

    What do I do when my project begins to look "drab"?
    Spritz it with a water using a spray bottle. The silk will perk up and have a nice sheen.

    What needles would I use for beading with silk ribbon embroidery?
    For beads with a very small hole, a size 12 applique or long beading needle works great. Seed beads are a beautiful addition to silk ribbon embroidery projects.

    Where can I learn how to do Silk Ribbon Embroidery?
    Many books and videos are available (see following question). Classes are also a wonderful way to learn. If you're online, check out our Ribbon Embroidery Classes.

    What are some books on silk ribbon embroidery?

    What are some DVD's on Silk Ribbon Embroidery?

    What are some good books on Machine Silk Ribbon Embroidery?

    • Silk Ribbons by Machine, by Jeannie Sexton
    • Ribbon Embroidery, by Marie Duncan and Betty Farrell

    How do I contribute to this FAQ?
    This FAQ is put together by Piecemakers Country Store. If you have any questions or would like to contribute, please contact us at:

      Piecemakers Country Store
      1720 Adams Avenue
      Costa Mesa, California 92626 USA
      phone: (714) 641-3112
      fax: (714) 641-2883
      home page:


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