I recently got a few new readers (yay!), including one of my friend’s mum! She made a special request for ribbon embroidery tutorials- so here I am- uber happy to oblige! Unfortunately I’m a bit squeezed for time, so I only managed to do spider web roses and having left my camera at home, I had to use my phone. So apologies for the blurry photos.

Ribbon embroidery is incredibly simple to do and super fast to work up. It’s one of my favourite types of embroidery (out of the two types I know how to do. Chuckle.) The problem with ribbon embroidery is that it can come out really frumpy and old-fashioned (do a quick google search and you’ll see what I mean!). [No offence to whoever did them, they are lovely…but just not my style…]

It’s such a beautiful type of embroidery, it just needs to be given a new lease of life. So my tips for non-frumpy ribbon embroidery?

  1. Keep it simple. Less is more.  Don’t crowd it up!
  2. Use bright/rich colours. Stay away from sickly colours.
  3. Use a choice few colours. Again, less is more.

So on to the tutorial:

Spider web roses:

The simplest and easiest ones to do!


  • Ribbon! For these roses you can use slightly wider ribbon, but I’m using 6mm. Technically you should use silk ribbon, but it’s a tad on the pricey side, so I say any good quality ribbon will do! (To be honest, I’m not sure if there’s a rule about the type of ribbon: is that blasphemous for hardcore ribbon embroiderers?)
  • Normal cotton thread (in a colour matching your ribbon)
  • Normal sewing needle
  • Chenille needle (these are best for ribbon embroidery, but like I’ve said before- if you can’t get hold of something: improvise rather than let that hold you back! I used to use tapestry needles until I found chenille needles to buy online. The only problem with tapestry needles is that the head of the needle is quite wide and you end up fighting trying to get the needle through the cloth! So chenille if you can. Improvise if you can’t/expect some sore fingers!)
  • Cloth & embroidery hoop
  • Coins to draw around

The how:

  1. Decide how big you want your rose to be and draw around something similar in size. I use coins. Personally I think 1 penny sized roses come out the best with 6mm ribbon- but experiment! Here I’ve used a 1p, 2p and a pound coin to give you an idea of the different sizes.

    From top to bottom: £1, 2p and 1p
  2. Using a needle and thread, come out in the centre of your circle and make a 5 spoked star shape. 
  3. Thread your chenille needle with ribbon. Then take your needle through the ribbon (if it has a ‘wrong’ side, go through the ‘wrong’ side), about 1cm away from the end.
  4. Bring your ribbon up through the centre of your star.
  5. Now take the ribbon and weave it through the spokes. So over one spoke, under the next, over, under, over, under etc… And that’s basically it. 

Well I told you it was simple, didn’t I!

When weaving the ribbon, let the ribbon do it’s thing- twist and turn- giving it a more natural look. And when you’ve reached the size you want/covered the edge of your circle, just thread back through your cloth and tie off.

I’m not gonna lie, I did take photos to show you how to do simple leaves but they turned out so awfully blurry that I’d be embarrassed to publish them! So you’ll have to wait til next time.

Here are all three roses so you can compare the sizes:

So let’s get going and hopefully together we can fill google images with some gorgeous yet fashionable ribbon embroidery. (Perhaps we should wear ribbons to represent our cause! Ha!)

A dress I made for my cousin absolutely yonks ago.


little pomegranate

6 replies on “The little spider web

  1. Hey girl, just a comment for your pics. Did you know you can hold your phone like a camera and use the volume button on the side of it to snap the pic. Not the little camera button on the screen. Trying to push the screen button is what makes your hand move. Hope this works for you. Linda

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