I'm so happy to share the first half of a brand new two-part tutorial with you all today! I know it has been ages since I have pulled together a tutorial. This one has been kicking around in my head for awhile and I finally decided to give it a go.
This one was so much fun in fact, that I had to make the call to split it into two parts. As I was working on it because I just had too many ideas to share in one gigantic rambling post.
So, here is part one. In this tutorial I have some fun ideas and inspiration for incorporating ribbon into your hand embroidery projects. This process is often referred to as 'ribbon couching'. If you have ever laid thread, yarn, floss or ribbon over your foundation fabric and have stitched over it to keep it in place then you have couched!
I have to confess a selfish motivation here as well. Here goes: I LOVE ribbon! I can't help browsing through it at the fabric store or online but sadly, I don't often have much use for it. This project gives me reason to play with all the fun textures, colors and patterns that ribbon has to offer and I could not be happier to do it.
So, let's get started. First raid your ribbon stash and choose some ribbons you would like to use. I wanted to try a wide variety so I picked a sheer navy blue, some gorgeous green velvet and two kinds of grosgrain. The royal blue grosgrain already had stitches along the side so I thought it would be fun to use that as a starting place.
I decided to embroider these in two phases. I started basic with stitches that can be used as-is with no other embellishment needed. Then I stepped it up a notch - added even more embroidery - and dressed them up even more. Either way is fine - it just depends on what look you are going for and how much time you want to invest of course. Also, I just stitched up a few inches of each example so you have to use your imagination a bit to envision these as a part of a larger project.
For starters here I used a closed feather stitch on the sheer and a herringbone stitch on the other. Using the width of the ribbon as a guide makes these stitches a breeze. I love the clean and modern geometric look of these, don't you?
The second, jazzier version incorporates some blanket stitching along the edges of the sheer ribbon and some tiny clusters of detached chain stitches on the velvet ribbon with some French knots thrown in for good measure.
With my grosgrains I kept it pretty simple and just added some single stitches along the edges on the blue and added a double cross stitch to the ivory. I actually tried that one in a royal blue floss and wasn't crazy about it. I tried again with a monochrome look and fell in love after the first stitch.
One more thing about using grosgrain ribbon - because it has a ribbed texture it is easy to space stitches evenly - just use the ribs as a guide!
I didn't have to add much more to these to give them a real feminine flair. Just some fly stitches along the edges seemed to be enough I thought. The delicate sweetness here is irresistible. (and so easy!)
You can see the potential fun here, right? I knew you could. We're talkin' trimming up aprons, tea towels, totebags, placemats and pillows. Just adding an accent like this to a piece of embroidered wall art you are stitching can add a pop of color and unexpected detail. Experiment with your favorite colors, ribbons and embroidery stitches and see what exciting combinations you can create!
If you are not familiar with the stitches mentioned here check out these links:
Closed Feather Stitch
Cross stitch - double
Part Two is here - click to check it out