Way back when, ribbons were not affordable to the masses. They were the embellishments of kings and queens, or at least those with a bit of money. Fortunately, this is not the case these days. Most people in the Western world have access to ribbons and many households have a drawer full of them.
Ribbons are generally used for adornments in celebrations such as wrapping presents, in Christmas ornaments, surrounding wedding cakes or even in ceremonies where medals are issued. Throughout our homes, ribbons also feature on clothing and decor. You can make bows, sashes, wreath, garlands, do embroidery with them, use them in sewing and put them in hair. They are on quilts and pillows and people can use them in ribbon art and craft. They give a sign of luxury to all that they touch due to their history of being for the wealthiest of people.
In terms of ribbon art and craft, you can use ribbons in bouquets and as centerpieces themselves too. Smaller, narrower ribbons are often called trim ribbons and feature in boutonnieres and corsages. In embroidery, crafters use ribbon instead of thread and make lovely designs such as flowers, leaves, and French knots.
There are so many types of ribbons and they have a low-cost today too. There are so many colors and types and sizes. From grey ribbon to navy and white ribbon, narrow ribbon, large ribbon and wedding ribbon.
It is easy for people to feel confused over ribbon types when in a ribbon store. To keep it simple, it is easier to classify ribbons in four ways: non-wired and wired, woven and non-woven. As you would expect, wired ribbons contain fine wire at the edges. This wire at the sides means they can hold shape when folded. You can usually remove the wires too if you so desire.
As for woven and non-woven or synthetic ribbons, woven ribbon simply means ribbons that are just like regular fabrics which you can wash if you wish. Non-woven ribbons are usually used in ribbon art and craft which you cannot wash. These have a cut edge rather than a tied edge. Those are the standard groupings of ribbon that makes it easier to discern between but there are also many different ribbon names and types too.
Ribbon Types for Sewing
Firstly, let’s look at the satin ribbons. Satin ribbons are made from soft nylon, cotton or silk and have a surface that is shiny, often on both sides but sometimes just on one. Double-side satin ribbon is preferable when your project doesn’t have a reverse side or when you are making bows where both sides of the ribbon are in view. Satin ribbons come in hundreds of colors and are pretty inexpensive. Many people use grey ribbon as a very on-trend ribbon to use for home decor.
Taffeta ribbons consist of woven ribbon from translucent polyester, silk or rayon with the majority falling into the wired ribbon category. They have a crispiness that means they hold shapes a little. Taffeta ribbons often come as a large ribbon to decorate venues for celebrations and many people think of them as a wedding ribbon for this reason.
Ribbons with a picot edge have little decorative loops along the edges. Little girls’ dresses and hair often feature this type of ribbon. Normally picot edge ribbons are satin.
A sturdy ribbon type, grosgrain ribbons are supple yet durable and have a coarse texture with recognizable ridges across the surface.
Made from polyester or cotton, twill ribbons fall into the woven ribbon category.
A firm favorite for any ribbon art and craft or in detailed sewing, brocade ribbons have a design woven within. There is a definite top and reverse side with the intricate design making it rather elaborate. This type of ribbon used to be made by hand on a loom but, today, there are specialized machines that make it for us!
Shimmery and Sheer Ribbons
These are translucent ribbons which are usually organza or chiffon. They are lightweight with open weaves.
Tulle ribbons are usually mesh ribbons and feature as a wedding ribbon often.
Chenille or Velvet Ribbons
Chenille and velvet ribbons have a surface of the cut pile just like fabrics of their type. Chenille has more like little tufts of pile whereas velvet ribbon has an even pile throughout.
The ultimate luxury in a ribbon is smooth and soft silk. Some silk ribbons are hand-dyed and can be variegated in color or dyed at the edges, giving them an unusual yet luxurious look. They often feature in embroidery and other ribbon art and craft activities.
Metallic threads feature heavily in these ribbons and Christmas is awash with this kind of ribbon. Some are made completely from the metallic threads whereas other types have a mixture of fibers in the ribbon, including metallic threads.
Curling ribbon makes any gift have that luxurious feel. It is so easy to use and cheap too! A simple pair of scissors makes this ribbon curl up.
Burlap or Jute Ribbons
Cloth fibers makeup burlap ribbons, usually in a natural cotton color and feel. A resurgence of this type is apparent at the moment, giving gifts and home decor that rustic feel and shabby chic charm.
A stiff ribbon, acetate has a satin finish and a weave. This type of ribbon appears with flower bouquets or in packaging.
Ribbons everywhere! Any kind you can imagine! Grey ribbon, navy and white ribbon, red, gold, burlap… the possibilities are endless. Use a wedding ribbon, a large ribbon or use it in ribbon art and craft activities. Whatever you use ribbon for, you will soon become addicted to the lengths and build up quite a fascination and a collection. It’s true that the humble ribbon has long-since developed from something for the wealthy to be something for everyone.