How To Make Ribbon Trim to Match Your Projects

Hairpin Lace Maker

Do you know what this is? To be perfectly honest, I had to go by the craft store where I originally purchased it to find out myself. I often shop with an eye as to how something can be used rather than what the manufacturer intended. In this case, the picture above is of a hairpin lace maker. I’ve never made hairpin lace and I doubt I ever will, but I have found a great use for this simple little tool.

Notice the holes on the red side pieces. The metal tubes can be adjusted, creating several different widths. When I saw this tool hanging next to the crochet hooks, I knew I had found the perfect trim maker!

Here is how I make special ribbon trims to coordinate with my designs. First, I decide how wide I want my ribbon and adjust the metal tubes on the hairpin lace frame. Next, I tape the end of the ribbon to one of the metal tubes near the red tube holder but not so close that it will interfere with the presser foot.

Secured Ribbon

With ribbon end secure, I now wind the ribbon around the tubes, overlapping each ribbon about 1/4″. When I reach the end, I tape the ribbon tail to the red holder.

Wrapped Ribbon

Secured Ribbon End

After checking the ribbon to make sure there are no gaps, I then tape twill tape along the entire length of the wrapped ribbon. Do not cut the twill unless you only need your trim one length of the tubes. Just let it hang over the edge.

Twill Tape

I set my sewing machine on a straight stitch at 2.5 mm and use a bobbin thread that matches my ribbon. With presser foot raised, I carefully position the ribbon so that the twill tape is centered under the needle. With my left hand, I pull gently pull the ribbon towards me (just a little) so that the needle comes down right before the ribbon starts. It’s a good idea to take a few securing stitches.

I then sew all the way to the other end of the ribbon and take a few more securing stitches.

Sew End to End

I now remove the red tube holder from the end where I began and slip the sewn ribbon off of the tubes.

Remove Red Tube Holder

When I come to the end, I replace the red tube holder and start the process all over again, securing the loose ribbon with a small piece of tape. (Do not cut the ribbon from the previous length; just tape it.)

Slide Ribbon Off Tubes

When I have completed wrapping the ribbon, I take the twill tape that is hanging from the previous length and tape it end to end and sew down the middle once again.

Rewind Ribbon

Begin Second Length

I do this over and over again until I have the length that I desire. I then locate all the gaps, fold them right sides together, pin, and sew a seam close to the ribbon. After the gaps are taken care of, I dab a little fabric glue on each seam extension (the little loops I just sewed) to flatten the twill tape.

Sew Gaps

I now have a beautiful piece of ribbon trim that perfectly matches my project design!

Completed Trim


N. Rene West
Time Treasured


  1. samantha said,

    February 21, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    That’s brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

  2. fembellish said,

    February 21, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Your welcome, Samantha. Although commercial trims are abundant, sometimes finding one that matches a particular project proves difficult and time consuming. Making them is rather easy and they always match perfectly!

  3. February 23, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    I’ve been making trims like this for years with an opened metal coat hanger. It’s great for fringe along the edge of a pillow too.

  4. fembellish said,

    February 23, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    Sounds like we think alike, Debra, Sometimes unconventional items work just fine. And you’re right, these trims are beautiful on pillows. Thanks for pointing that out.

  5. Niki said,

    March 13, 2007 at 8:24 am

    I have been trying to do the same thing with a piece of cardboard with a slit cut in the middle. It didn’t work. I’m so excited to try this!! Sounds like just what I’ve been looking for. Thanks for the tip.

  6. Clothmatters said,

    March 4, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Thanks for the ribbon tutorial. It is beautiful!

  7. Sewdelish said,

    March 24, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks. I always wondered what to do with one of those gadgets! I’m am going to have fun now!

  8. ingrid said,

    November 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks, this makes great ribbon trim.
    I used 1/4 inch twill tape but I need some further direction. what is the best way to attach the trim to a pillow ends. I will want to use the trim double or two 15inch lengths together.

  9. Linda hogan said,

    November 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Go to zippers stop for hug snug binding… It is perfect for making loop trims. 200 or so colors and they have a color card you can buy…
    Where can I purchase your trim making gadget…. Thanks so much
    Linda… Find me on Facebook under all strings attached draperies…

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