Types of RIBBONS (16 beautiful ones)

Learn about the many different kinds of ribbons you can use in sewing crafts and embroidery
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different types of ribbons

Once upon a time, Ribbons were affordable only to the very rich . Thankfully this is not the case now. Cannot imagine my sewing drawer without all those shiny effervescent ribbons

Ribbons bring good fortune. I am not fibbing or finding excuses for my ribbon splurges. See how they are mostly used for celebrating – be it wrapping birthday presents, tying a Christmas ornament, wrapping around a wedding cake, or even surrounding a ceremonial chair or hanging onto gold medals, or used to make ribbon flowers in a congratulatory bouquet. Convinced?.

Our clothes, gifts and home decor all enjoy ribbon embellishments and thus get something of their grace and beauty by association.

Due to their low cost and availability of an excellent variety of colors and designs, ribbons are used all the time for making sashes, bows, garlands, wreaths, chair ties, wrapping presents, doing ribbon embroidery, making fabric trims – so many uses of ribbons in sewing.; they decorate pillows and quilts; they are used a great deal in home decor crafts. They make beautiful ribbon flowers, and they are made into bouquets and used as centerpieces.

The narrow ribbons known as trim ribbons are used in making corsages and boutonnieres. On gift baskets, you see ribbons fill the space with lots of cheer.

As a fashion embellishment, ribbons have been used both by men and women from a long long time ago. Even now, a ribbon bow tie is not amiss in men’s wear. You can make such pretty trims with ribbons.

diy ribbon trims

In ribbon embroidery ribbon replaces embroidery thread to make beautiful floral designs – french knots, leaves, buds and flowers like daisies. Ribbon roses and bows  are used to decorate clothes and accessories like hats and purses; ribbons are also attached to dresses and gowns as trims on their own or manipulated to look more elaborate and beautiful.

Checkout the different (7) ways to make bows with ribbons and the different hairbows you can make

Make a bow with ribbon

Ofcourse without all these I would still buy ribbons for their sheer beauty.

When you go to a shop to buy ribbons it is easy to get utterly confused by the whole array of beautiful ribbons there. For me there is no confusion. For me all the ribbons are basically categorised as wired and nonwired & woven & nonwoven.

Wired ribbons have fine wire attached to the edges .The thin flexible wires are attached to the sides so that when folded they hold their shape. These wires can be removed at will.

Woven and nonwoven ( synthetic) – woven ribbons are those which can be washed just like any fabric & nonwoven ones are craft ribbons which are not suitable to be washed. Wovens have a tied edge where as the synthetic ones have a cut edge.

Then there are the different names given to these ribbon mostly according to their make.

Different types of Ribbons available for sewing

1. Satin ribbons

many kinds of ribbons

These are very soft and pliable  silk, cotton or nylon ribbons with a very shiny surface. Sometimes the shiny surface is only on one side and sometimes on both sides. The one sided satin has a matt side on the back. You will choose the double sided ribbon when you have a project in which both the sides will be visible like a sash.The satin ribbons are readily available in varying widths like all ribbons and  in solid colours or printed. These are inexpensive ribbons and used for all purposes

2. Taffeta ribbons

different types of ribbon

A woven ribbon that is made of lightweight and translucent silk, rayon , or polyester; most of them are wired. Even without wire, they have crispiness which makes them hold their shape somewhat. Silk taffeta ribbons are the most pretty but not easily available. Rayon taffeta ribbons are also very pretty.

3. Picot Edge ribbons

These ribbons have  fine decorative loops called picots on either edge; Usually it is  satin ribbon /grosgrain ribbons with fine loops along the edges. 

4. Grosgrain ribbons

different types of ribbons

These are very sturdy durable and supple ribbons with a matt surface / coarse texture. They have distinctive crosswise ridges on the surface

5. Twill ribbons

different kinds of ribbons

These are cotton/polyester woven ribbons

6. Brocade ribbons

types of ribbon

These are ribbons with designs woven into them. They have a right and wrong side and the intricate designs on the ribbon make it very suitable for elaborate projects especially the home decor. Earlier this ribbon was painstakingly handmade on a loom but nowadays it is made on special machines.

7. Sheer & shimmery ribbons

different types of ribbons for sewing

These are sheer translucent ribbons in Chiffon, Organdy or Organza, which are lightweight and feature an open weave

8. Tulle ribbons

ribbon types

This is a mesh ribbon made of tulle or net

9. Velvet / chenille ribbons

different typesof ribbon for embroidery

These are ribbons with a cut pile on the surface(just like the fabrics – velvet and chenille). Velvet ribbons have a pile throughout and chenille ribbons have pile tufts

10. Silk ribbons

silk ribbon

These are soft and smooth ribbons and the ultimate in beauty. Hand-dyed silk ribbons in variegated and edge dyed looks are splendid. It is mostly used in silk ribbon embroidery

11. Metallic ribbons

ribbon types

These are ribbons made of metallic threads . Some are made entirely of golden threads some are mixed with other fibers

12. Curling craft ribbons/ poly ribbons

types of ribbons

These are very shiny ribbons made of synthetic materials . They are mostly used for gift wrapping

13.  Jute/ burlap ribbons

ribon kinds for sewing

Burlap is a coarse cloth made of  fibers of jute, flax or hemp. The ribbon made with this fabric is used to create a rustic charm.

14. Zari ribbon

This is a ribbon in which zari thread ( metallic thread) is woven in beautiful patterns.  They are available in golden and silver colors

15. Acetate Ribbon

different types of ribbon

This is a somewhat stiff Ribbon with a satin finish. It is woven from acetate thread in a satin weave. It is used in packaging.

16. Petersham ribbon

This is used as a decorative trim as well as facing for waistlines in skirts/dresses. It can look very similar to grosgrain ribbon but this one has a little more give.

What is the difference between silk ribbons ans polyester ribbons?

Difference is mainly in the looks and then in durability. There is an ethreal quality about silk ribbons. But maintaining silk ribbons is a little tedious. It is better to avoid washing silk ribbons as they are not colourfast. The deeper the colour of the ribbon, the more colour bleeding there will be. Silk ribbon colors also fade under strong light. Polyester ribbons are much cheaper. But they also have the cheap look. The small fibers of the polyester ribbon can break loose in the wash and wear and can look bad fast.


Related post : Ribbon flowers diy

how to make flowers with ribbon

Checkout the other Trims You Can Use in Sewing to decorate clothes.

tibbon embroidery flowers
ribbon embroidery

Which tapes to use when sewing – a guide ; Different types of cords.

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Types of RIBBONS (16 beautiful ones)”

  1. I’m looking for a ribbon that has an almost scrollwork look to it like the fancy metal lattice work you would find on a house building. Any idea what that would be called? Thanks!

  2. I’m looking for lightweight trim ribbon with half fold that I can use to top tulle or plastic to hold vegetable holders to eliminate store plastic bags. I need a ribbon like top to put my string through to close the top of the bag to bring home and store fruits n veggies n

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