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Ribbon Embroidery Patterns & Instructional Media

The World of Ribbon Embroidery Patterns

Ribbon embroidery was invented during the Italian Renaissance and has been in and out of fashion ever since. During the Renaissance, it was associated with luxury and wealth. That changed in the late Victorian age. Thanks to machine production, ribbons became affordable. Needleworkers were delighted with the way simple ribbons could produce textured pictures using ordinary embroidery stitches. In the 1990s, there was a new wave of interest in ribbon embroidery. Look for vintage patterns from that period.

What are some of the important vintage pattern brands?

A treasure trove of ribbon embroidery patterns was published by Leisure Arts and the American School of Needlework, both of which are no longer in business. Bucilla is another important ribbon embroidery pattern name. All three companies published single patterns in leaflet form. At the current time, there don’t seem to be a lot of new single patterns, but a British publisher, Search Press, has some beautiful large pattern books which also include reference material.

What kind of embroidery instruction do you need?

If this is your first experience with a ribbon embroidery pattern, you should start by reviewing techniques, even if you’re already familiar with thread embroidery. The ribbon stitch is unique to ribbon embroidery, and there are some differences in the way you work more familiar stitches. It’s easiest to work with silk ribbons and a natural fiber background, though it’s certainly possible to complete embroidery instructions with synthetics. Of course, you will also need embroidery hoops and a needle with a wide eye. Most pattern books recommend a chenille needle.

What kinds of vintage patterns are there?

Ribbon embroidery is particularly effective for floral designs. Some ribbon embroidery patterns use two techniques—a flat embroidery style like counted cross stitch for most of the picture, with flowers and other greenery embroidered with ribbon. In addition to ribbon embroidery patterns for pictures and samplers, you can find single pattern leaflets with embroidery instructions for:

  • Clothing decoration: Add floral decoration to blouses and jackets made of thin silk. You can even sew ribbon flowers on slippers.
  • Jewelry: There is at least one pattern book that shows how to make pendants with ribbon embroidery patterns.
  • Christmas embroidery: These are patterns for tree ornaments and Christmas stocking trim.
  • Japanese pattern books: Ribbon embroidery has fans in Japan, too. With Japanese patterns you can include Asian flowers in your ribbon embroidery garden.
Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Leisure Arts, the American School of Needlework, Bucilla or Search Press.