Ribbon Embroidery Library

Always Remember

  • Try to use 100% silk ribbon. Synthetic fibers tend to fray easier.

  • For successful ribbon embroidery, use short length of ribbon, about 12" (30cm) long, and keep the stitches loose.

  • Use your free thumb or a toothpick to keep the ribbon flat at all times. This is necessary for most stitches.

  • Use a frame or hoop to keep your fabric taut during stitching.


For Ribbon Embroidery three different kinds of needles are used.

Chenille needle
Chenille needle is a sharp needle with a large eye, which allows the ribbon to pass through easily. Size of the Chenille needle is shown by a number, the larger the number, the smaller the needle. Size 18 Chenille needle is used for 4mm to 7mm wide ribbons. Size 20 can be used for 2mm ribbon.

Embroidery/Crewel needle
Embroidery needle is a fine sharp needle used for decorating ribbon designs with floss. The needle size depends on the thread size and the number of strands used.

Tapestry needle
A Tapestry needle has a large eye with a blunt tip. It is used with evenweave fabrics. This type of needle helps to prevent piercing the thread of the background fabric.


To start, make a needle eye lock.
  • Needle Eye lock
    • Thread the ribbon through the eye of needle.
    • Pierce one end of ribbon about " (6mm) from end with point of needle.
    • Pull the other end of the ribbon and lock it into the eye of needle.
Then instead of tying a knot at the end, use the soft knot.
  • Soft knot
    • Catch the other end of ribbon.
    • Fold the ribbon about " (6mm) from the end.
    • Pierce both folds with tip of the needle to form a knot.

Basic Stitches

  • Straight stitch
    • Come up at A.
    • Go down at B.
      Make sure the ribbon is flat.
      Do not pull ribbon too tight.

  • Stem stitch
    Work this stitch from left to right.
    • Come up at A.
    • Go down at B.
    • Come up at C (the midpoint between A and B).

  • Back stitch
    Work this stitch from right to left.
    • Come up at A.
    • Go down at B (on the right side of A).
    • Come up at C (to the left of A).
      Try to keep the stitches even.

  • Buttonhole stitch
    Work this stitch from left to right.
    • Come up at A.
    • Go down at B.
    • Come up at C.
    • Bring the needle over the ribbon, pull the ribbon until the "reverse L" shape is formed.

  • Satin stitch
    Satin stitch is made of a series of straight stitches worked close together to create a shape.
    • Come up at A.
    • Go down at B.
    • Come up at C, very close to A.


  • French knot
    • Come up at A.
    • Wrap the ribbon or thread two or three times around the needle.
    • While holding the ribbon tight, go down at B (very close to A).
      Hold the knot in place until the needle is completely through the fabric.

  • Montano knot
    Similar to French knot except that you do not hold the ribbon tight and you can have as much as six wraps.
  • Pistil stitch
    • Come up at A. Allow a short length of ribbon or thread.
    • Wrap thread around needle twice.
    • Go down at B further away from A to form a French knot.
      Hold the knot in place until the needle goes through the fabric completely.


  • Japanese ribbon stitch
    • Come up at A.
    • Lay the ribbon flat on the fabric.
    • Pierce the center of ribbon at B and gently pull the needle through fabric. The ribbon edges will curl at the tip.
    Remember the success with this stitch lies on not pulling the ribbon too tight.
  • Leaf ribbon stitch
    The size of these leaves depends on the width of the ribbon.
    • Cut a 1" (4cm) length of the ribbon.
    • Fold the ribbon as shown.
    • Baste along the wide edge.
    • Pull the thread to gather.
    • Make a knot on the thread and leave a tail for tacking.
    • Tack the leaf before stitching the flower.

Lazy Daisies

  • Basic Lazy Daisy
    • Come up at A and form a loop. Keep the ribbon flat.
    • Go down at B (very close to A).
    • Come up at C and bring the needle tip over the ribbon.
    • Go down at D to make an anchor stitch.
    • Come up at E (between A and B).
  • Lazy Daisy with bullion tip
    • Come up at A.
    • Go down at B (very close to A).
    • Now come up at C, and bring the tip of needle over the ribbon.
    • Twist the ribbon around needle twice.
    • Holding the twists down on fabric, go down at D anchoring the stitch to the fabric.
  • Decorative Lazy Daisy
    • Make a Lazy Daisy stitch.
    • With another color ribbon, come up at A again.
    • Go down at C,
      keeping the ribbon flat creating a small Straight stitch.


  • Free-form Flower
    This is an easy stitch. Just a ruffled length of ribbon makes the flower.
    • Cut a 3" (8cm) length of ribbon.
    • Fold both ends and baste along the long edge.
    • Gather tightly and knot the thread ends.
    • Whipstitch the folded ribbon ends together.
    • Secure to fabric by seed beads or French knots.
  • Spider-web Rose
    • Using a pencil, draw a circle with evenly spaced lines drawn form the center.
    • Stitch over these lines with a piece of embroidery floss to create spokes. Make sure these spokes are taut.
    • With ribbon, come up close to the center of the spokes.
    • Weave the ribbon over and under the spokes until all of them are covered.
    This is the only stitch that is better to let the ribbon twist a bit. It creates a more natural look.
  • Concertina Rose
    • Thread an embroidery needle with a thread that matches the color of the ribbon.
    • Make a knot at the end.
    • Using at least a 7 mm ribbon, fold the ribbon in half as shown.
    • Fold the ribbon ends on the right angle one after the other, until the whole piece is used.
    • Hold the two ends in one hand.
    • Pull one end, (doesn't matter which one) until the rose is formed.
    • With the threaded needle go through all folds from top to bottom several times, making sure to catch all of them.
    • Knot the thread at the bottom.
    • Use the ends of the ribbon for securing the rose to fabric.
    • To finish the rose make a French knot in the center.
  • Rosette Bud
    • Come up at A.
    • Keep the ribbon flat and go down at B.
    • Come up at C.
    • Go down at D to create a padded look.
    • Angle the second straight stitch to right and cover the base of the first one.
    • Angle the third stitch to the left covering the base of second.
    You can use another color ribbon for second and third stitch.
  • Loop Flower
    • Make a small circle.
    • Draw five equally spaced spokes on the circle as a guide.
    • Come up at the center of the circle.
    • Go down at B (close to A) on one of the spokes.
    • Using another needle or toothpick adjust the loop and keep the ribbon flat. Keep the toothpick in place until you complete the next loop.
    • After finishing the petals anchor them to the fabric with French knots and pistil stitch.

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