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All About Ribbon

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With so many different types of ribbon available, It can be difficult to make the right choice for your project. I hope the following discussion will assist you in selecting the most attractive and economical ribbon for your particular needs.

In general there are two overall categories of ribbon to be aware of: wired and non-wired. Wired ribbon has a fine strand of wire in its edges to help the ribbon to keep its shape after arranging. Non-wired ribbon has no wire running through the edges. You can easily remove the wire from wired ribbon by simply puling it out, and if you have a serger, any ribbon can be wired. Check the instructions that came with your serger for how-to specifics.

The ribbons most often used for home decorating and sewing projects are:

  • Jacquard ribbon 
  • Double face satin ribbon 
  • Woven ribbon 
  • Grosgrain ribbon 
  • Silk ribbon 
  • Velvet ribbon

Other types of ribbon include acetates, lightweight organdy sheers, curling craft ribbon, moiré (or watermarked) ribbon, taffetas, ombre, and polypropylene ribbons which can be used outdoors. Acetate, taffeta, and polypropylene ribbon are often used for floral arrangements, gift wrapping, wreaths, and crafts due to low cost and a an excellent variety of colors and designs. Wired ombre ribbon with transitioning colors is especially nice for creating flowers. Directions are available on our project page. Click on "Creating No Sew Flowers From Wired Ribbon".

First, we’ll examine the differences between the main categories of home decorating and sewing ribbon, and then we will look at which ones best fit a particular application.

Jacquard Ribbon

One of the most popular choices for adding a magnificent accent to home decorating projects and apparel is jacquard ribbon. Jacquard ribbon is easily recognizable as the there is a definite right and wrong side. Jacquard ribbon dates back to the early 19th century. The term jacquard refers to a special type of needle loom weaving that allows the creation of intricate designs. Prior to the industrial revolution, this type of weaving was done by hand to create elaborate effects. Today of course jacquard ribbon trim is manufactured by machine. Widths for jacquard ribbon range from 1/4 “ to 2 inches. Jacquard ribbon is often washable and comes in a variety of widths, designs, and colors. It can be used to great effect on outerwear; and a band of contrasting jacquard ribbon trim along the inside edges and bottom of drapes can turn blah into custom design.

Woven Ribbon

Woven ribbon trim is created on a broad loom which allows for ribbons up to 8 inches in width. The edges of woven ribbon are heat sealed unlike the edges of jacquard ribbons which are tied. For most applications, jacquard ribbon and woven ribbon are interchangeable. Grosgrain ribbon is a type of woven ribbon. Grosgrain ribbons have distinctive crosswise ridges which add crispness and definition.

Doubl-Face Satin Ribbon

Double face satin (DFS) ribbon comes in a variety of widths and colors. It is shiny on both sides, hence the term double faced. Single face satin (SFS) ribbon is shiny on only one sire. Blanket binding is a type of single face satin ribbon and can be used as a wide ribbon once the crease is steam ironed out. Both DFS and SFS are soft, pliable, and have a very smooth finish. Make your selection based on whether both sides of the ribbon will be seen. For example, for a sash on a child’s dress, chose DFS since both sides of the ribbon will be visible. If I were adding a band of color to the bottom of a pair of beans, I’d choose SFS or blanket binding depending upon the width needed.

Silk Ribbon

Silk ribbon, of course, is the epitome of elegance and the price per yard usually reflects this fact. Pure silk ribbon shimmers in a way that can’t be duplicated by synthetics. When it absolutely must be luxurious and elegant, choose silk. Most silk ribbon comes wired for ease of arranging. Designs range from snappy plaids to a wide selection of solids in both silk dupioni and shantung silk. Dove Originals Trims does not stock silk ribbon, but we are able to order it. Prices vary according to the ribbon width. Please contact us if you are interested.

Velvet Ribbon

Velvet ribbon has a tight weave and a cut pile surface just like velvet fabric. The wrong side is usually plain. Many velvet ribbons are washable, but use care in pressing to avoid crushing the nap. Press on a thick towel with the right side down. Pressing the pile side of velvet ribbon will usually make the surface of the ribbon unattractively shiny.

I hope this discussion of ribbons will be helpful to you in the future. And feel free to contact us if you ever need additional information on any trim that we sell.


By Florence Dove Google

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