Friday, 29 May 2015

Easy Ribbon Embroidery for Kids.

A few weeks ago someone asked me about running a workshop about ribbon embroidery for kids.  I'll be honest I hadn't done much in this particular aspect of our craft and was keen to explore it. Ribbon embroidery is a way of adding details such as leaves or flowers to a garment or other sewing project. The flowers can also be mounted onto a safety pin or broach clasp or used on a fascinater.
There were many techniques out there, in fact it seamed as though no two people made flowers from ribbon the same way. Each method had it's pros and cons, some required intricate sewing before hand to place a wire in one side of the ribbon, other methods included making your own ribbon.

Most techniques had the following draw backs.
Expensive materials
Specialist tools
Fiddly advanced sewing techniques
Lots of sharp things for kids to hurt themselves on.

To make this project more child friendly we will be using aida (the fabric with a lose weave used for cross stitch) and wool needles which are rather blunt to make things safer for kids. This method is designed to reduce the equipment and advanced skills that you will need. Once you have your bits you're about 10 minutes away from your first ribbon embroidered flower!

You will need:
Aida (a metre will be enough to make LOADS of flowers, probably hundreds)
Wool Needles
A regular hand sewing needle
A little sewing thread
Satin ribbon (either 10mm or 15mm wide)

Step 1

Draw a circle on your aida. I This one is just under 5cm in diameter and seems to be a good size for a first go. Draw out 5 lined from the centre to the edge of the circle.

Step 2

With the reguler sewing needle and thread going from the underside of the aida to the top make a stitch from the center to the edge of the circle along one of the lines. Repeat for the other four lines. We have used a contrasting thread to help you see what is going on. When you make your flower use a thread that is a close match to your ribbon.

Step 3

Thread the wool needl with a 40cm length of ribbon. Tie a small knot in the end of the ribbon and push the needle from the underside of the aida to the  top at the centre of the circle. This is one step that MIGHT be too tough for little hands and so they may need a little help.

Step 4

Slide the needle UNDER the first thread and then over the next going around the circle going under
and over alternate threads.

Step 5

Keep going around in a spiral, going over and under the threads.

   Step 6
The shape of the flower can be determined by how much tension you put on the ribbon, to help the shape form waggle your finger in the centre of the forming flower now and then. When you get to the edge of the circle you can stop and push the ribbon through to the underside.However  if you keep weaving the thread through the string at this point your flower head becomes denser and more three dimensional.

All that remains is to pop the ribbon to the underside and either tie it off or tack it in place. You can then trim away the excess aida (making sure not to cut the 5 threads) or cut a rough circle around the flower and then fold the aida back and taking it in place. Your flower is then ready to be turned into a broach or added to a sewing project such as a prom or wedding dress.