Friday, March 05, 2010

FAQ: Silk Ribbon Embroidery

  • What does SRE stand for? ~ Silk Ribbon Embroidery
  • Where can I find SRE patterns? ~ Honey Bee's Silk Ribbon Embroidery Patterns these are my very own creations for you to use. Please give me credit for the pattern and do not sell the pattern or use commercially, Thank You. You can also search online for SRE patterns or use vintage patterns by interpreting the pattern for SRE (example - flower circles could be spiderweb roses, small flowers could be sweetheart roses or knot flowers, leaves could be interpreted in lazy daisy stitch or ribbon stitch instead).
  • Do you need special fabric for Silk Ribbon Embroidery? ~ No you don't need special fabric for silk ribbon embroidery. A good rule of thumb for choosing fabric to work on is any fabric that your needle (usually size 22 chenille for 4mm silk ribbon) can pass through you can use.
  • I'm having trouble pulling my needle through the fabric, what's wrong? ~ Make sure you are using the correct size needle, size 22 chenille for 4mm silk ribbon and larger or smaller if using 7mm or 2mm silk ribbon. ~ If it's just being a little tough try using some little round rubber needle grabbers that you can get in the quilting section. ~ Another thing to check is sometimes when doing a knot you can tighten too much and it makes it hard to pull through, remember to loosely tighten so it's tightened just enough to look right but not too loose that it falls out. ~ One last thing is make sure you are using silk ribbon and not polyester ribbon it makes a huge difference, polyester is too heavy and thick.
  • How do long or short do you leave your beginning and ending tails in the back and how to you secure them? ~ You only need to leave the tails long enough to secure it either with another needle and thread or by piercing it as you work. Here are some links that show those methods: Getting Started in Silk Ribbon Embroidery (Includes How to Iron, Thread Needle, Knot/No Knot) Straight Stitch/Padded Straight Stitch (Includes Piercing the Tail)
  • Do I end off or drag the ribbon to the next working spot? Example - If making leaves on either side of a rose, do you tie off each separately or drag the ribbon across the back? ~ In this case the leaves are probably very close together and you can just drag the ribbon to the next leaf spot. Usually if the length between stitches is above an inch it's better to end it off and start fresh at the next spot and coming back later with another needle and thread to secure the tail. It also depends on the stitch if it's easily snagged as well, if it is then it's better to be safe and take another needle and thread and secure the tail in the back instead of dragging.
  • Where can I find/buy Silk Ribbon? ~ Silk Ribbon can be hard to find you can look for it in any craft store but you may need to visit a specialty needlework store, or buy online. I usually find that the best prices and easiest access is Online. I have a few links to Online Shops that sell silk ribbon Here. Don't compromise and just get polyester ribbon it has a completely different thickness and feel to it. Once you use actual silk ribbon the difference between it and polyester ribbon is like night and day! Do some research and find a sale or good deal for silk ribbon online you'll have a much better time doing SRE if you have the right tools. Brands that I've used and consider good quality are: River Silks, YLI, RibbonSmyth, ThreadArt, Bucilla. (No affiliation, just have used their products for myself and liked them)
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***I'll update the FAQ's as I receive more questions, feel free to ask me and I'll do my best to answer.


Auntie Pam said...

Thanks for these. A friend refered me to your You Tubes which have been extremely helpfull. Main question is how do long or short do you leave your beginning and ending tails in the back and how to you secure them? With DMC floss? If making leaves on either side of a rose, do you tie off your leasves or drsg the ribbon across the back?
Thanks in advance and your work is GORGEOUS. Pray I can do half as well.
Auntie Pam @

Melissa said...

Thanks Auntie Pam, when I have a chance to sit down and write out the answers I'll update the FAQ with your questions!

Joanna said...

Dear Melissa,

Thanks for your generosity in sharing the SRE tutorials, my mum was fascinated when she saw my first spider-web rose!

I have a question though, I can't seem to pull my ribbon through some of my fabric, I think I might've bought polyester ribbons instead of silk ones. How can I tell which is which?

Also, can I use SRE on any type of fabric?


Melissa said...

Hi Joanna,
Make sure you read the labels of the product for sale to see what it is made of. Silk ribbon is hard to find in just any store usually a specialty needleart store has some or online. Once you have silk ribbon you will see the difference between it and polyester is like night and day!
Use any fabric your needle passes though.

Joanna said...

Dear Melissa,

Thanks for the tips. The ribbons I bought did not have labels on, which is why I couldn't tell, but they were pretty cheap and I bought them from a departmental store, so I'm guessing they should be polyester, as I read from the internet that silk ribbons should cost more. Also, they felt a bit hard.
I guess I'll need to visit some specialty needle art store to get some genuine silk ribbons in order to know the difference. Thanks for the help anyway!: )

Melissa said...

LOL Not having a label makes sense as to why you didn't know! LOL Ya it prob isn't if it's hard I think I heard someone say once that if you run the ribbon though your fingers it shouldn't hurt at all if it's silk, I remember trying it too silk feels so soft and liquidy. Silk ribbon is really thin and very soft and flexible.
I updated the FAQ above with a where to find/buy silk ribbon and a link to online sources. The best prices are always online!
Once you get some you will know for sure though why I say it's like night and day! LOL

Melissa said...

P.S. I think you can tell by burning the end if it gets all plasticy-melty you know for sure it's poly and I think silk burns like paper.

Joanna said...

I just found out from the shop that the ribbons are satin ribbons! No wonder I couldn't poke through while trying out the sweetheart rose, and it made a really big hole on the ribbon. Thanks a lot for the links! I'm really desperate to get some real silk ribbons now, or I'll never be able to tell the difference! Lol. Thanks Melissa, for being so incredibly nice!

Melissa said...

LOL Oh you will LOVE them they are soooooooooo nice you'll be in heaven working with them! I like ThreadArt's for the reason that they come on spools so I don't have to iron them and they come in great lengths and at a great price! BUT I also love how Ribbonsmyth has combo packs of ribbon (like 1 green 1 yellow and 3 pinks for example) for like $10.50 and it's coordinated already so you can just start a project using those colors!

Jill K said...

Hi Melissa,

Thank you for mentioning River Silks and linking to our website! I'm so glad you like our ribbon.

Jill Krynicki

Marketing/Web Development
River Silks Ltd

Singgahlah dulu... said...

You've been very generous in sharing your skills and knowledge..:)

Gayle said...

Your web site has been a life saver. I have wanted to learn SRE forever and finally schedule a class at the local community college. The class was cancelled at the last minute and I was crushed. Decided I would teach myself. Started looking on web, ordered supplies and taught myself. Your site has helped so much. Your videos are clear and easy to understand. I just finished an initial pillow creating my own design. Relay for Life asked me to create one to auction for fundraiser. Never would have finished first design without you. Thanks so much!

Gayle M

Melissa said...

Thank you Galye for your sweet words!!! They mean so much to me and I'm thrilled that you were able to learn from my tutorials etc.! I'm glad you didn't give up on learning it's such a beautiful needle art!