How to Machine Embroider on Ribbon with Metallic Thread

Embroidering on ribbon presents a few problems: ribbon cannot be securely hooped between the rings of the hoop, accurate design placement is difficult, and the tight weave is not conducive to the additional thread applied by embroidery. With a little know-how, you can easily surmount these problems. Watch this video on how to do it!

These techniques work well for other narrow embroiderable items like dog collars, sashes and headbands.

Embroidering on ribbon presents a few problems: ribbon cannot be securely hooped between the rings of the hoop, accurate design placement is difficult, and the tight weave is not conducive to the additional thread applied by embroidery. With a little know-how, you can easily surmount these problems. Watch this video on how to do it!

These techniques work well for other narrow embroiderable items like dog collars, sashes and headbands.

SUPPLIES:

  • Ribbon
  • Appropriate design
  • Wash-away stabilizer, fiber based (I used Hemingworth Wash-Away)
  • Embroidery thread (I used Softlight Metallic)
  • Double-stick embroidery tape
  • Also used: Echidna Control-A-Twist thread stand
  • Temporary embroidery spray adhesive (I used KK2000)

GET THE DESIGN

The design is available in the shop and is listed at the end of this post.

INSTRUCTIONS

You can watch the video version here: How to Machine Embroider on Ribbon or follow the steps below:

STEP 1:

Ribbon and design selection. Gros grain and satin ribbons are tightly woven, which leaves little space for the extra thread of an embroidery design—and that translates into a prime opportunity for puckering.

To keep puckering to a minimum, select a design that is lighter in stitches. Make sure the design is narrower than the ribbon. If possible, keep the design at least a quarter inch from the edge of the ribbon.

STEP 2:

Stabilizer selection. Many embroiderers would use an adhesive stabilizer.

I prefer avoiding sewing through most adhesive based stabilizers because they can gum up the needle and increase thread breakage. Also, most adhesive stabilizers are tearaway products and would be hard to completely remove.

If the back side of the ribbon will be visible, bits of remaining stabilizer can detract from the appearance. For these reasons, I recommend a water soluble fiber stabilizer. It’s very stable, won’t perforate with needle penetrations like water soluble films, and rinses out quickly with hot water.

Of course, using this stabilizer means that the ribbon must be compatible with water./

STEP 3:

Hoop the stabilizer. Do not hoop the ribbon.

STEP 4:

Baste in the hoop.

If your machine has a baste function, it will straight stitch a bounding box around the design—which will give you a placement guide for the ribbon.

If your machine doesn’t have this feature, you can use software to add a basting stitch.

A third alternative is to use the machine’s trace function. Stop the machine at each corner and mark a dot at the needle position.

When the design has been traced, remove the hoop from the machine and using a ruler, connect the dots to draw the bounding box on the stabilizer.

STEP 5:

Remove the hoop from the machine.

Apply double stick embroidery to the stabilizer, using the basting stitches as a guide. Be sure to keep the tape outside of the sewing field; tape is not thread friendly!

If the design is too close to the edge of the ribbon, the tape may not offer enough security. In that case, lightly mist the back of the ribbon with the TESA, making sure to spray in a protected area away from the machine.

STEP 6:

Smooth the ribbon into place. Embroider the design.

Cut away the excess stabilizer and peal off the tape.

Repeat steps 3 through 6 as necessary for your project.

STEP 7:

Before rinsing out the stabilizer you must make sure the TESA has fully dissipated.

Under normal circumstances, most lightly applied TESAs will dissipate within 48-72 hours but you can speed the process with a hot, dry iron (no steam!). Make sure the ribbon can tolerate the heat.

STEP 8:

Once you know the TESA is gone, rinse the ribbon in water using the recommended temperature.

Most wash-away fiber stabilizers rinse out quickly and easily under hot running water. Allow ribbon to dry and press smooth.

TIPS:

  • Select a woven ribbon that can be washed.
  • Select a design that fits well within the ribbon and is not too dense.

WARNING:

  • Whenever using a water soluble stabilizer make sure the item being embroidered can get wet.
  • Don’t overspray TESAs and be sure to spray in a protected area away from the machine.
  • Don’t let the project get wet until the TESA has completely dissipated.

WHERE TO GET ITEMS

HELPFUL LINKS TO PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND & USE

Since I’m constantly being asked, “what did you use for [fill in the blank],” I’ve begun organizing my favorite products on this Resource page as a convenient place for you to find them.

I’ve also included links to where I get them, many of which are affiliate links. Hey, I can’t stock everything! If I list something I haven’t/don’t use, I’ll let you know that too.

RELATED ARTICLES

close

Subscribe & Get a FREE Design Set!

Don't Miss Out!

New freebies, blogs, videos 
+ Subscriber Specials