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Selecting Silk Ribbon Size

To do silk ribbon embroidery, you need to choose a silk ribbon size and a needle the ribbon can fit through correctly for easy sewing.

The most commonly used ribbon size is 4mm. YLI silk ribbon is also available in 2mm, 7mm, and 13mm widths.

Choose the right size for the piece you are working on. Wider flat silk ribbon makes bigger flowers, but it requires a larger fabric count due to the larger ribbon size.

Obviously, ribbon embroidery requires a needle with a long eye so there's enough room for the ribbon.

A tapestry needle is ok on large count fabrics, but on most surfaces you should use a chenille needle. They're sharp to pierce through the fabric smoothly. They're also best when using stitches that involve going back and piercing through the ribbon.

Ribbon Needle Size Suggestions

Listed by ribbon size:

  • For 2mm ribbon, use a number 24 chenille needle.
  • For 4mm ribbon, use a number 22 or 24 chenille needle.
  • For 7mm ribbon, use a number 22 chenille needle.
  • For 13mm ribbon, use a number 18 chenille needle.

Do I have to use silk?

Silk is best on heirlooms because it has historically been a sign of wealth and luxury.

Silk comes from the silkworm. It will keep for centuries, if properly cared for, and does well behind glass frames.

On items that will be washed, it's best to pre-wash embroidery ribbon silk by letting it soak in a bowl of water in case the dyes bleed.

You can use organdy or satin ribbon for special effect if they are the correct size.

Do not use grosgrain or wire-edged ribbons because they are too stiff for sewing.

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