Fabrications – Along the straight and narrow path

Ribbon Braid

For this little bit of fiber play, I chose a ribbon and a fabric that were just meant for each other. After stabilizing the fabric, I picked out a fuchsia rayon thread for the needle and a regular sewing thread for the bobbin. Additionally, I changed to an embroidery needle and put an open toe foot on my sewing machine.

To prepare the fabric, I marked diagonal lines 3 inches apart until I had a crosshatch design on the surface. Next, I set my machine on a straight stitch (3 mm) with needle in center position. Also, I turned on the needle down function. I eased the upper tension just a tad. To make things a little easier, I used 2 balls of ribbon yarn so that I didn’t have to cut lengths. I didn’t want to come up short at the end, nor did I want to waste a lot of this ribbon.

Ribbon Tack Down

The process for forming this braided embellishment is slow, but it has a certain rhythm that I enjoy. First, you place two ends of ribbon on top of each other until they form a horizontal line. Take a few tack down stitches to secure the ends. As soon as the needle leaves the ribbon, count 2 stitches and stop. Raise the presser foot and fold the ribbons forward, moving them into a vertical position.

Folding Ribbon Forward

Next, take the right ribbon and cross it to the left while crossing the left ribbon to the right. They should be snug against the needle and forming a horizontal line again. Do not pull the ribbon tightly or you will create too much tension.

Crossing Ribbon

Now lower the presser foot and take 4 stitches; stop. Take the left ribbon and cross it to the right while crossing the right ribbon to the left. Repeat this process until you finish the row. Sew all rows just as you did the first one and you will end up with a beautiful piece of fiber art ready for further embellishment or the perfect fabric for some special project.

Complete Ribbon Work


N. Rene West
Time Treasured


  1. Elaine said,

    February 10, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Wow, thanks for showing us your couching foot! I now rely on your blog more than my Bernina Training CD!

  2. fembellish said,

    February 10, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    I’m so glad I inspired you to take it out of the box. Sometimes feet are hyped but in reality they don’t work very well. This one always works great for me. Have fun!

  3. Ann said,

    February 13, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Your tutorial with the ribbon yarn was fabulous!! I have two balls of that and now I know exactly what to do with it.

  4. fembellish said,

    February 14, 2007 at 7:21 am

    I’m so happy you found the tutorial helpful. And by the way, you can use this technique with a variety of ribbons and yarns. Enjoy experimenting with whatever you have on hand.

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